Do you want to incorporate meditation into your daily routine? Are you having trouble concentrating? I recently wrote an article called How to Meditate: It’s Easy that focused on using your breath for meditation. You simply sit and breathe, if only for 10 seconds. If this isn’t working for you, try observing your body’s sensations as a meditation technique.
Meditate with Your Body’s Sensations
Simply observe each sensation as it comes to mind. Do this with thought or by writing each sensation down as it occurs in real time.
I personally enjoy writing it out, pen-and-paper style. When I lived in France, I used to sit on the steps of the Opéra de Lille and write out my observations for literally hours and hours at a time. I unintentionally put myself into a very high, blissful trance-like state. (True introvert over here.)
Meditation is not hard, yet many people find it so difficult to do.
Let’s break down the steps.
1. Stop what you are doing.
Give yourself permission to take a mental and physical break from all activities. This is the perfect exercise to squeeze in while waiting in line or for the bus to come pick you up.
2. Sit down.
Find a seat. It doesn’t matter if you sit on the floor, couch or hardest chair in the world. Maybe you want to lie down outside in the grass.
3. Take a deep breath and set your intention.
Breathe in at least one long, slow inhalation and exhalation. If you feel like taking another deep breath, do so. Take ten deep breaths. It doesn’t matter. Tell yourself that this is your moment for relaxation.
4. Observe your body’s sensations.
Vipassana meditation focuses a lot on observing sensations. Observe, let go, and move on to the next sensation. This will allow your mind to focus on a specific meditative task rather than your never-ending to do list. Ultimately, you will train your mind to let go of all sensations, including stress and anger, and your body will be able to relax.
It is important not to place judgement on your sensations (or penmanship and grammar if you’re writing). If you happen to place an emotion with a sensation, just let it go and move on to the next one.
Do this exercise until you have exhausted all possible sensations and you feel more relaxed. Acknowledging repetitive sensations is fine. I personally find that it takes a good half hour to an hour to truly put yourself in a deep meditation with this method.
Here is my example on how to record your sensations. Don’t worry about organizing them into categories. Think or write as you experience them in the present time.
What do you see?
I see a yellow candle flame flickering. I see a black table. I see a multi-colored coffee cup. I see crystals. I see a piece of citrine, orange aventurine, unakite, amazonite, purple amethyst, black tourmaline, herkimer diamond, dark blue and gray labradorite… I see my computer in front of me. I see a clock. I see a keyboard. I see my front door. I see wooden floors. I see my wedding ring. I see a thermostat. I see a blanket, jacket, sweaters, coat rack, door knob, wall, chair, glass bowl, cord, lamp, window, TV, cabinet, pictures.. I see shadows. I see sunlight. I see artificial light. I see heat rising from the candle.
What do you hear?
I hear the clock ticking. I hear the birds chirping outside. I hear the keyboard as I type this article. I hear a car driving by. I hear the floor creaking. I hear the wind. I hear car breaks. I hear the ice move in the freezer. I hear my breath. I hear more creaks. More typing on the keyboard. The clock is still ticking. I hear the sound of pure silence. Another car drove by. Its engine just roared. Birds are whistling. I hear the dog lick his lips. I hear a truck. I hear the pompous grass rustling in the wind. I hear a really loud creak. I hear a cat jump off the dryer. I hear a cat licking water. I hear a motorcycle. The cat just whined.
What do you feel?
My fingers are really cold. My toes are cold. My face is warm. I am hungry. My facial muscles just relaxed as I took a breath. I feel the computer beneath my hands. I feel my fingers against each other. My stomach feels empty and hungry. My nose is cold. I feel pressure on one foot as it rests on the bar stool. I feel my stomach gurgle. I feel jittery from my morning coffee. I feel that I have to use the bathroom. I feel pressure under my butt as I sit on this stool. I feel my tongue lick my lips. My lips are moistened. I feel cold air flow up inside my nostrils.
What do you smell?
I smell coffee. I smell the dog. I smell vanilla from the candle. It’s a strong scent. I smell the candle. I smell the smokiness from the candle flame. I smell the cold, brisk air in my home. I smell that the dog was outside recently. I smell coffee breath. I smell the fresh laundry scent of my shirt. I smell the candle. I smell the candle flame soot in the air. I smell vanilla cupcakes. I keep smelling a candle burning.
What do you taste?
I taste coffee. I taste saliva that’s been sitting in my mouth as I write this. It tastes stale. I taste bad breath. I taste coffee.
Why Are We Doing This?
A consistent meditation practice will help us slow down in life and focus on the present moment. This is important for listening and better understanding people around us. It helps to relieve anxiety by not allowing our thoughts to race ahead of the current moment. This technique especially helps us to recognize the first signs of negative emotions and stress, allowing us to respond to our environment with more appropriate and controlled reactions. It also helps us to listen closely to our own intuition, or gut feeling.
If you are into the whole spiritual side of meditation, it helps to increase your faith in something greater after dying. You will question more life coincidences and wonder why you are getting more visions and premonitions through dreams or random thought. Are we all connected through one collective consciousness as Jung suggested?
Meditation helps us discover answers to world curiosities unexplainable through science.