Practice Instructions: “Staying in” the Body
When we ground and become relaxed, awareness usually will find a place in our body to rest.
This is unique to each individual, but there are some common places: the insides of your hands, your breath, or your whole body all at once are some common ones. Although you can direct your mind to these places, if you allow enough time of grounding, settling, relaxing, awareness will show you where it naturally rests. This is a place of refuge and regeneration. When the mind rests there, let it. Encourage it. Give yourself to it.
From grounding and this specific place of refuge, you have a place to stay. And from inside the body, you can feel the movement of mind (emotions, reactions, judgments, thoughts) more obviously.
When you bring practice into your waking hours, you can practice “staying in”. Stay in your body. Stay in your refuge. Stay at your sense doors. Don’t go out. Don’t lean out. Let sights come to you. Let sounds come to you. See with your whole body. Hear with your whole body. Know with your whole body.
Let your body be the medium that translates your mental world. Feel what thoughts do to your body. Feel where emotions manifest. Notice what your heart or gut does in response to external input or stimulus. Stay in.
The mind wants to talk about inputs, argue, analyze, fix. But, Stay In. Feel what that thinking/analysis does in your body instead of running Out with it. We want to leave our body because it can be verrrrry uncomfortable in there. Even unbearable. The cognitive mind reallllly thinks it can do a better job at resolving things than just being. So its habit to take us out of our body is very strong. But, Stay In.
Every once in a while, make a commitment to not abandon yourself. Meaning, stay in. Even if (or especially if) thoughts are demanding or if an emotion is strong, maintain contact with somewhere in your body – your feet, contact with your seat, breath, inside your hands. Notice the physical sensations of thoughts or emotions, but don’t follow their story. Sink back in.
When interacting with others, stay in. Don’t lean out to talk too quickly. Notice how someone else’s presence effects your body. If you feel triggered, wait, stay in.
Ask yourself to recognize all the places in your day when you leave your self. When you leave your body. And then allow that recognition to slowly shift the balance toward staying in.