As we arrive this morning to sit, invite yourself to settle into this body. Having a posture that is stable and dignified. Perhaps, wondering what it would feel like to sit like a mountain. Well rooted, tall, well grounded, stable.
Taking a few deep breathes as we start to sit just to settle more into this body. Allowing these few breathes to long. Perhaps, from the belly to help stabilize the body even more. Settling, softening, and relaxing more with every out breath.
As you continue to breathe, feeling the breath with the frame of the body, know that you’re sitting or standing, whatever your posture might be. This knowing does not require a lot of effort. Simply a sense of receptivity of the posture of the body.
For the rest of the guided meditation this morning, I will guide us to exploring, feeling the four elements as experienced through our senses within this body. This is an invitation. If any of it does not work for you, feel welcome to stay with the breath, the sensations of the breath within this body.
We’ll start with the earth element that is simplest to detect. There are six aspects to the earth element. We’ll start with hardness. The easiest way to feel that is to bite your teeth together and feel the hardness. And you can let go. And if you need to conjure up this feeling of hardness again, just get a felt sense of hardness as it is felt to your first personal experience in this body. You can bite your teeth again.
What does hardness feel like from the inside? Allow your mind to let go of the concept of teeth and just feel hardness. You can feel hardness elsewhere in the body when you’re sitting, you can feel the contact point between your back and button and the cushion. That boundary. Feeling the hardness, the felt sense of hardness. You can also feel hardness elsewhere in the body anywhere there is a contact point.
You can even perhaps feel it throughout the body. The sensation of hardness.
Similarly, we can explore heaviness by putting one hand on top of the other on your lap and the hand on that’s on the bottom on your lap can feel the heaviness on the hand that’s on top. The experience of heaviness. The experience of heaviness in your limbs, in your whole body. In your head, in your shoulders, in your trunk, in your legs—just heaviness.
You can also feel the opposite of heaviness—lightness. You can experience lightness by gliding your finger up and down and feeling how light it feels. Lightness.
And similarly feeling the sense of lightness, buoyancy throughout this body.
The opposite of hardness is softness. That too is an experience that defines our world, our experience of the world. The easy way to start exploring that is to run your tongue on the inside of your lip on the side and feeling the softness of the soft tissue within. Softness. Softness. It’s like this.
Exploring the touch points where you hide, felt hardness before. Revisit them before. Revisit them again. And see if you can feel softness in those areas co-existing with hardness. With the hands touching your lap, there is some softness. The cushion, your back, your sit bones, there are softness.
See if you can feel the sense of softness throughout this body.
Feel free to explore the co-existence of hardness and softness throughout the body as well as heaviness and lightness. Whatever reveals itself to you most easily. Just draw sensations.
Moving on to the fire element, which is felt very differently, qualitatively into our body as heat and coolness. See where you may feel heat in your body the easiest. The sense of warmth. Let yourself be surprised. Now, look for warmth elsewhere in the body. Maybe the armpits, inside the mouth, the touch points.
Similarly now, allow yourself to feel coldness or coolness on your skin. Perhaps on your face, or as you breath as the air rushes in under the nostrils. And then, allow coolness elsewhere in your body to reveal itself to you. Maybe in your hands, your feet, or nose. The sensation of coldness. What does it feel like in this body?
To feel coldness. Have a sense of curiosity and awe as if you’re feeling coldness for the first time.
Now, allow yourself to feel coldness co-existent with heat in the body. Let yourself be surprised as what you may find. No head, no tongue, no legs—just the heat map.
The wind element. Easiest to experience that as pushing wherever there is movement. Feeling the breath in your belly or in your chest pushing. What does it feel like to experience pushing or pressure in this body? After you get a sense of pushing in your belly or chest, see if you can feel the sense of pushing throughout the body as an extension of your breath.
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Sean Fargo is the Founder of Mindfulness Exercises, a former Buddhist monk of 2 years, a trainer for the mindfulness program born at Google, an Integral Coach from New Ventures West, and an international mindfulness teacher trainer. He can be reached at [email protected]
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