This is a guided meditation that combines breath following with some awareness of bodily sensations. (It’s not a full body scan [I’ll record one of those at some point this summer]; I focus on just a handful of spots in the body, mostly in the head region.) This meditation is a follow up to last night’s Intro to Zen class on practicing with bodily sensations. We ended the class with a 30-minute guided meditation that is pretty much like this one (I just decided to re-record it this morning to improve the audio quality a bit). So I’m posting this for folks who were there last night, who’d like to try that breath and body-sensation meditation again, and for those who couldn’t make it, who’d like a taste of what they missed.
In the second half of the meditation, I ask you to bring your awareness to some key spots in the body, places where we often (usually unknowingly) hold tension, like the jaw muscles, the lips, and the tongue. As I suggested to the class last night (and as I suggest near the very end of this recorded meditation), consider pausing once in a while throughout the day to do just a few minutes (or even just a few breaths) of awareness practice focused on spots like these… when you’re responding to email, for instance, why not take a break between writing two messages, to bring your awareness to your lips, or your tongue, or your buttocks, even for just a few breaths (or take a real pause and hang out with those sensations for a full minute or two!). It could be revelatory, what you discover about your mind/body: both about how your mind/body actually feels during the day, and also about how just a few minutes (or even moments) of simple awareness can transform those sensations. Incorporating mindful “pauses” like this throughout the day — pausing what you’re doing to bring your awareness to the breath, the sensations in the body, the sounds in the environment, or the feel of your feet touching the earth — can be as important to one’s overall practice as one’s daily sittings.