A body scan meditation can be deeply relaxing, but relaxation is not the goal of mindfulness. Instead, mindfulness expands our capacity to be present with what is, whether or not what we experience is wanted.
When our mindfulness is imbued with a tender, caring, heartfulness, we’re capable of presence with that which may be uncomfortable or challenging. Paradoxically, lovingly accepting all that we experience often results in greater relaxation.
In this guided meditation, Sean Fargo, the founder of Mindfulness Exercises, guides us through a mindful body scan. The practice emphasizes allowing for whatever we observe, as we apply a gentle heartfulness to our experience.
Please listen in a safe, quiet place where you can be relatively free from distraction. Practice with eyes opened or closed, in a posture that balances comfort with alertness. May this meditation be of benefit to you in your mindfulness journey.
Mindfulness does not simply describe the act of paying attention. It’s the quality and characteristic of how we pay attention that separates mindfulness from basic observation. Genuine mindfulness includes loving-kindness and compassion.
Mindfulness is commonly described as ‘non-judgmental awareness.’ But the directive to notice things ‘non-judgmentally’ can set us up for failure and frustration. It’s simply human nature to assign a like or dislike to nearly everything that calls our attention.
Trying to avoid dislikes can make our meditation feel like a battlefield, imbuing our practice with the energy of pushing away what we don’t want while grasping at some ideal. This is the energy of discontentment, and it’s the opposite of what we hope to cultivate in meditation.
When mindfulness teachers use the word non-judgmental, what they’re often trying to describe is the energy of allowing. To accept this moment as it is does not mean that we have to like it. We benefit, however, when we recognize the truth.
How then, can we hold space in our body scan meditation for the unpleasant, uncomfortable or outright painful sensations we notice? By qualifying our attention with heartfulness. When discomfort arises in the body, or even if we feel nothing at all, we can turn toward this with a gentle, tender and caring awareness.
By embodying heartfulness, we soften our ideas of right or wrong, good or bad, better or worse. When we work toward accepting the truth of each moment with the heart qualities of care and compassion we cultivate peace, ease and resilience.
Learn more about body scan meditation and heartful awareness, including how to practice and teach it, with these additional free mindfulness resources:
About Sean Fargo:
Sean Fargo is a former Buddhist monk and the founder of Mindfulness Exercises. The online platform, which has shared free and premium mindfulness resources with over 3 million people worldwide, has now certified over 500 Mindfulness Teachers.
Sean is the lead instructor for the teacher training program, a unique self-paced approach which invites world-renowned mindfulness teachers to share their insights and experiences. Sean has taught mindfulness and meditation for corporations including Facebook, Google and Tesla and for health and government organizations, prisons and hospitals around the world.