Week 2 of the 8-week mindfulness programme I am following from Mindfulness: A Practical Guide to Finding Peace in a Frantic World brings the focus of awareness to the body. The guided meditation is a 15-minute body scan that is recommended at least twice a day for six out of the seven days. (Track #3)
I found the body scan practice to be deeply relaxing and soothing. It was like giving myself a full-body mental massage two times per day. There's something about tuning in to the different parts of the body with the mind that reminds the organism of its existence as an integrated whole. That was a whopper of a sentence. What I mean is, it makes you feel (made me feel) more connected to my body, and less like a walking brain.
There is also a Habit releaser in Week 2 that I appreciated deeply, and that is to take a 15-minute (or longer) walk at least once. I ended up going on a walk almost everyday in nearby Holland Park. The walk isn't meant to be brisk or treated as exercise. It is yet another awareness practice, wherein you are meant to tune into the sensations in your body, sounds and sights you see, and thoughts you think. I had some of the most calming thoughts on my walk, such as:
Butterflies are like flying flowers
I would stop to lean on trees and touch the plants that had interesting shaped leaves. I probably looked from the outside like a tripped out hippie, but I relished every second. And I guess that is the whole point.
The third part of the prescription for Week 2 is to choose a different habitual activity than Week 1 to perform with mindful awareness. I chose to try cutting an onion with my left hand. It was very challenging and required some pretty hard core mindfulness.
Week 2 was illuminating.