Mindfulness is the degree to which your body and mind are aligned, a phenomenon that happens when your awareness resides inside your body, where it belongs.
Conveniently, mindfulness (mind-body unity) is dictated by one thing: your ability to relax. A tense body blocks out the mind’s ability to rest its awareness in the body. There is “less internal space” for the mind to rest in.
A busy mind and a tense body are two symptoms of the same underlying phenomenon: not being present.
A clear mind and a relaxed body are two symptoms of the same underlying phenomenon: being present.
Tension “squeezes” your awareness out of your body up into your head, creating sub-optimal fixation and association with mental thoughts.
One of the most direct ways to “strengthen your relaxation muscle” (and therefore ability to be present) is via body scan meditation: track #4 at www.johnhankey.com/the-science-of-flow.
The audio track has my voice inviting your body to relax part-by-part. When you listen to the 6-minute track a second time, you will notice:
Your muscles are more relaxed
Your mind is quieter & more clear
Your breathing naturally & effortlessly deeper
Your body is both more at rest & more energized
You have become more present!
The degree to which you are mindful is completely evident in your body.
A masseuse or bodyworker can examine your body and tell you where you are “not fully present” because you are tense and tight.
Teaching these areas to relax takes time, yet is extremely beneficial.
If you think of tension as dirt, mindfulness practices are a form of self-purification, internal cleaning, or energetic hygiene.
Mindfulness techniques are like brushing your teeth and flossing. You cleanse yourself, go out, live your life for 12-24 hours, collect dirt (tension), then do the practices again to maintain and gradually improve cleanliness.
Truly mindful living is a way of life. When you prioritize your body’s “cleanliness” (or ability to relax & therefore heal) your self-awareness grows. You feel the (drastic) difference in your mind-body ‘s state between Saturday afternoons and Monday mornings, before and after meals etc.
An internal motivation to improve to new depths of relaxation grows in you, as you feel the strong connection between internal relaxation and higher levels of performance and enjoyment of your life’s responsibilities and experiences.
Many factors, habits and practices outside of meditation are also helpful and beneficial (read: crucial) for creating a relaxed, healthy body and a mindful life: pure nutrition, work-life balance, plenty of sleep, a strong community of family and friends to provide support.
Keep reading to see how you can improve your lifestyle’s ability to reinforce your growing ability to be powerful force.