Meditating with the Body

One of the somatic meditations I recently introduced into my practice makes me weep uncontrollably, and because of this I don’t often attempt it, even though it’s so cathartic and leaves me feeling weightless and liberated. It also exhausts me, and that’s something to consider when going into a session, since afterward there is still the day to be lived. Chores to do, and obligations to attend to, a body to be moved through space, energy required for all of this.

Sometimes I have to choose a path less fraught.

The other day I spoke with my facilitator and described how frantic I sometimes feel, how hard it is to not know what it is I’m moving through, moving toward, moving from, how panicked I sometimes get in the midst of all this not-knowing.

I am not a person prone to panic. And yet.

“Let’s just sit for thirty minutes,” he said. “How does that sound?”

It sounded hard, and I wanted to say so, but I didn’t want to be disagreeable, especially after he’d been kind enough to listen to me rant, so I arranged myself on my cushion, and we sat. Five minutes. Ten minutes.

The point beneath my left shoulder blade began to ache.

The body remembers everything.

The body is the subconscious. This is what I’m learning.

It’s painful to come back into the body, to awaken sleeping limbs gone numb with disuse, painful to stand, painful to walk. But what is the alternative? To remain asleep. Quiescent. Unfeeling. Unmoving. Unmoved.

I don’t want to be any of those things.

Fifteen minutes. Twenty.

To come back into the body, to listen to the body, is a radical act. The body as clear-cut, the body as strip mine. The body as resource, utility. The body as rock and dirt and sand and soil and veins of copper and veins of gold.

The body as womb, the body as nutrient, the body as home.

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