Inner  Frontier
Cultivating Spiritual Presence

 

Inner Work


For the week of May 20, 2019

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Walking In Our Body

(Spiritual Walking: 1)

Often when we walk, we are more in our thoughts than in our body. At other times in walking, we may be lost in conversation or sights or sounds. While there is no harm in any of that, if our perceptions stay within narrow, fragmented domains, we lack a wider awareness of ourselves and the world around us, as well as a deeper awareness of the sacred in us and around us. The foundation for wider and deeper perceptions lies in being in our body. And walking offers an excellent opportunity to train ourselves for that.

We begin with the practice of being in contact with our body as we walk. Be detailed. Be aware of the sensations in your feet, in your legs, in your arms, in your torso, and in your head. Be aware of the sensations of your entire body as you walk. Whenever you notice that you have lost contact with your body, perhaps by being enticed yet again onto a thought-train, gently bring your attention back into your body. Of course, you also stay aware of your surroundings, so that you can walk without mishap.

Step after step, walk after walk, come back to being in contact with your body. With experience, the next stage of this practice opens and you find yourself being in your body. Rather than being somewhere, perhaps in your mind, observing your body, you yourself come into and stay in your body. No longer are you just in your mind in contact with your foot, which is way down there attached to your leg. Now your practice is to be in your body. This supersedes the practice of being in contact with your body and puts you in a more natural situation.

With further experience, a further stage of this practice opens, and you find yourself walking as your body. There is no separation between you and your body. No longer is it you and your body, or you in your body. Now it is just you, which includes your body. This transforms you and your body into one individual, living being. The umbrella of your being now encompasses your body. Keeping to this practice, we grow accustomed to being ourselves, including being our body. Whenever we notice we have fallen out of that state, we can reenter it if we so choose.

Some of us, at a certain stage of our development, adopt an adversarial relationship with our body, feeling that our body's needs and desires somehow hinder our spiritual inner work. Practices such as this one, of being in contact with, being in, and being one with our body, reveal the crucial value of our body for our spiritual inner work, not as a target for a misguided and wasteful war with desires and habits, but as our home base for our spiritual inner life.

Of course, we do not wantonly indulge our physical desires; rather we seek healthy moderation and peace. This practice of living in our body transforms our body and transforms us. Ultimately, we seek the enduring stability of being one with our body on an ongoing, long-lasting, timeless basis, not only when we are walking, but throughout our day.

For this week, please practice being in contact with, being in, and being one with your body, as you walk.


        

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