Sound of bell (x 1) (Position) Lying down on a mat or a blanket, allowing the eyes to close (Pause). Coming to rest in a comfortable position (pause). To stay awake during this practice you may open the eyes from time to time (pause). Bringing the attention from the outside to the inside. Chest open. To open the chest it helps if we roll the shoulders and then bring the shoulder blades together and turn the arms out from the root of the arm. Letting the hands rest alongside the body with palms up (pause). Shoulders relaxed and away from the ears. Feet uncrossed and falling away from each other (pause). Noticing the contact between the body and the surface on which you are lying down (pause). Trusting the earth to hold the full weight of the body — letting go of all that you can let go of (pause). Taking a few full deep breaths — inhaling slowly, fully, and deeply, and — exhaling slowly and completely (pause). Now let your breath be natural and effortless … easy (pause). Body Scan is an opportunity to step out of the clock time and doing mode. Rather, it is an invitation to be with and by yourself and shift into being mode, staying present to your experiences moment by moment with an open heart and mind — we also step out of wanting things to be different than they are — we accept things exactly as they are. Following the instructions the best you can. What is important is to maintain your awareness on what you are experiencing even when unpleasant thoughts, sensations or emotions arise. During these times it is especially important to remain open hearted and rest in a non-reactive, welcoming state. Allowing this to be a time of nourishment by resting in a well-deserved period of stillness and focused attention. Letting go of judgmental and self-critical thoughts and remembering there is no right or wrong way to feel, experience, or be in this moment. As we go along, give yourself the permission to feel what you are already feeling, rest in your experience whatever it is and as it unfolds moment by moment. As you are lying down here, bring to mind what could be an intention for this practice. Your intention could be to stay focused as become aware of the various sensations in the body (pause). Or perhaps it could be to engage the beginner’s mind and approach the body scan with curiosity and interest (pause). Or, it could be to observe and witness whatever arises without entanglement or judgment (pause). Remember…you are not trying to achieve any particular state or get to somewhere special (pause) — no need to change what you are experiencing (pause). Simply following along and allowing things to be just as they are (pause). Sensing what is here. Allowing yourself to be just as you are (pause). Nowhere to go … nothing to do … just be (pause). Exploration:
In a few moments we will take a tour of the body and will take turns to bring the attention to different regions of the body. Opening to the sensations you will experience with a soft, accepting, and interested attitude and a gentle curiosity (pause). There is no right or wrong way to do this…and the possibilities are unlimited. You may notice sensations of pain, pressure, lightness, heaviness, pulsations, vibrations, warmth, cold, itch, or other sensations (pause). Any sensation could be strong, subtle or even imperceptible. You may notice the sensation of air on the bare parts of the skin (pause), the contact between the surface of the skin and the fabric of your clothing (pause), or the contact between the body and the surface beneath you (pause). Imagine yourself as the observer — a witness — standing with and side by side the sensations you will find, standing with and side by side with your experience. There may be a habitual reactivity to change an experience (pause). Like scratching an itch or shift or felling impatient . See if you can observe without reactivity. Sometimes you will find that the experience shifts and changes by itself (pause). An itch, a sensation of pain, or a discomfort can shift and change under the gaze of your attention (pause). You can respond anytime if you choose (pause). And you also become aware that you need not to respond only out of habit and reactivity (pause). From time to time, you may notice that the mind drifts away to other things (pause). When the mind begins to wander or is carried away by a stream of thought noticing what is on the mind and gently bringing the attention back to the breath or to the region of the body where we were focusing on as the body scan unfolds (pause). Remember, it is in the nature of the mind to think and to wander and it is bound to happen a lot (pause). The mind drifts to distractions… to sounds, to feelings, to thoughts, to the past or the future, to images, memories, judgments, or stories. All the same — take notice of this, gently let go, coming back to THIS moment as many times as your mind wanders away (pause). The moment of recognition and awareness that the mind has wandered away is a mindful moment (pause). Now we begin our exploration of the body. Feeling your body as a whole from head to toe and with each breath letting the body sink deeper in to the surface you are lying on. Letting go of the muscles as much as you can (pause). Now with the next breath shift the focus of attention from the whole of the body and gently bring the attention to the toes of the left foot (pause). Take a moment to tune in (pause). Sensing the big toe, the little toe and perhaps the three other toes in between them one by one (pause). Bringing a gentle, interested, and kind attention to the sensations you find in the toes (pause). Perhaps a tingling, a coolness, a warmth, a numbness or no sensations at all (pause). Becoming aware of whether you are experiencing this as pleasant, unpleased, or neutral (pause). Aware of any emotional reactions like aversion, boredom, impatience, sadness, restlessness (pause). Allowing all of this to be held in awareness moment by moment as you lie here without having to do anything at all (pause). Just being present to what is unfolding all the while maintaining the continuity of awareness (pause). Continually coming back to the toes themselves (pause). Now, gently expanding the attention to include the bottom of the left foot, the heel of the left foot and the sensations of the heel’s contact with the surface on which it rests (pause). Now gently including the top of the left foot, and the left ankle right through the joint and the bones (pause). Feeling strong sensations, subtle sensations, or even no sensations at all (pause). Witnessing, observing, and noticing what is here right now in this moment (pause). There is no right or wrong way to experience this moment. Allowing the attention to remain focused on this part of the body and opening to any sensations that are here or that may arise (pause). With your next exhalation, letting go of the left foot, letting it gently move to the background of your awareness and as you inhale bring the attention and awareness to the lower left leg, and tune in to the shin in the front and calf in the back (pause). Welcoming any and all sensations (pause). As you exhale, letting go of the lower left leg, moving the attention to the left knee, the knee cap, back of the knee, and sides of the knee (pause). Inviting the awareness to this region of the body — opening to any and all sensations that are here (pause). With the next exhalation letting go of the left knee and as you inhale bring the attention to the region of the upper left leg all the way up to the groin in the inside and all the way up to the hip on the outside (pause). Becoming aware of whatever sensations that are here to be felt. Breathing with this region of the body as it is (pause). Now we shift the attention to the toes of the right foot. Noticing how readily the attention can move and flow to the other leg (pause). Opening to the sensations in the right foot (pause). Tuning into the right toes (pause) and now gently expanding the attention to include the bottom of the right foot, top of the right foot, and the ankle (pause). Sustaining our attention the best we can (pause). With the next exhalation letting go of the right foot bringing the attention to the lower right leg including the right knee. Opening to the sensations from the shin, calf, knee cap, back of the knee and sides of the knee (pause). Sensing whatever is present in this region of the body (pause). Noticing any sensations on the surface of the skin or the sensations that may come from deeper inside, from muscles or bones (pause). Body Scan is an opportunity to have a direct experience of the sensations in the body. Breathing with the body as it is (pause) in this moment (pause). Now, we shift the attention to the upper part of the right leg. From the knee all the way up to the right groin and hip. Be as precise as discerning as you can be (pause). Allowing and sensing what is here (pause). Now, gently letting go of the whole of the right leg in the exhalation and with the next inhalation we move the awareness to the region of the pelvis and become aware of the sensations in the hips, buttocks, and genitals (pause). Exhaling and when ready letting go of the pelvic region (pause) as we breathe in deeper into stillness … deeper awareness. Present, interested and curious (pause). Content to just be (pause). Be here as you are…exactly as you are right now. Softening and releasing deeper (pause). As you attend to different sensations, you may also notice that they may shift and change (pause). Now let’s bring the attention to the lower back and the lumbar spine. This region is especially prone to tension, fatigue, and strain (pause). Becoming aware of the sensations in this region as you tune in (pause). Letting the breath deep into this whole region … breathing with the sensations that are here … allowing any tension and tightness to be included with the in breath and flow out with the out breath (pause). With your next exhalation letting go of this region and as you inhale bring the attention to the belly and the sides of the torso up to the bottom of the rib cage all around (pause). Becoming aware of the sensations that are here (pause). Noticing the shifts that happen with each in breath and with each out breath (pause). Discerning, recognizing, aware (pause). Noticing sensations of expansion in the in breath and deflation in the out breath (pause). When ready, we now move the attention to the upper region of the torso … to the ribcage, the chest, chest wall, the breasts, upper back, the shoulder blades, collar bones, the shoulders, this whole region housing the lungs and the heart … breathing and allowing any and all sensations in this region of the body reaching conscious awareness (pause). You may notice the heart’s palpitations and vibrations (pause). Noticing the heart’s beating in the chest and any expansion, contraction or vibrations in the body in response (pause). Noticing the passage of thoughts and emotions as we linger here without engagement or entanglement (pause). When ready, take another intentional breath sensing the ribcage expand in the front, sides, and the back in the inhalation and then release in the exhalation … as the breath lets go the mind lets go … (pause). Now, we shift the attention to our hands which we will do both at the same time. Feeling the sensations in the fingers, in the thumbs, in the palms, and back of the hands. Exploring the sensation in each finger perhaps. Sensing the hands from the inside out (pause). Now, expanding the attention to include the wrists and forearms, the elbows, the upper arms, and the armpits (pause). Feeling the entirety of our hands and the arms from the tip of the fingers up to the shoulders. Breathing with this region of the body (pause). Now once you are ready, on an out breath, letting go of the hands and arms and shoulders as the breath let’s go and as we drop deeper and deeper into awareness itself (pause). Being present to this moment the best you can (pause). Letting go of whatever thoughts that may come up or a desire to shift or move … simply experiencing yourself lying here resting in awareness as we move to the region of the neck, throat, and larynx (pause). Felling the front of the neck, back of the neck and sides of the neck. Sensations on the surface of the skin or deeper inside (pause). Opening to all these sensations and remembering this region too along with lower back and shoulders is sensitive to stress and tension (pause). Breathing in along with whatever sensations you are experiencing here and softening and releasing with each out breath (pause). Now let this region gently dissolve in the mind’s eye and with the next inhalation we move to the region of the head and the face (pause). As you tune in you may notice that this region too is prone to holding and storing tension (pause). Experience it as it is right now perhaps becoming aware of the back of the head where it comes in touch with the surface you are lying on
(pause). Gently expanding the attention to include top of the head noticing the sensations on the scalp, sides of the head including the ears, behind the ears, outside the ears, inside the ears (pause). Perhaps you become aware of the stream of sounds that are flowing in (pause) the sound of these words and the silence between them. When ready, gently shift the attention to the facial area (pause). Noticing the sensation in the forehead, the temples (pause). The eyebrows and the space between the eyebrows, the eyes, the eye lids, the outside corner of the eyes and the inside corner of the eyes (pause). The nose, the nostrils, muscles around the nose, the cheeks, the jaws, the mouth, the lips, muscles around the lips, inside of the mouth, teeth and the tongue (pause). Allowing the awareness to hold and embrace the whole of the head and the face as they are in this moment (pause). Now, when ready, letting go of this region too — allowing it to dissolve in the mind as the breath lets go perhaps sensing the stillness, a natural
peacefulness (pause). We come to rest in the awareness itself — an awareness that we can now invite to hold the whole body from the bottom of the feet up through the legs and torso, through the hands and arms and shoulders, up through the neck and face, and up to the top of the head. The awareness that is holding and embracing the body as it is right now from the surface of the skin to the deepest muscles and bones. As we lie down here in deep inner silence and stillness perhaps we may also come in touch with our essential completeness (pause). Allowing the whole of the body to be just as it is (pause). As we conclude this practice and open to our surroundings in a minute or so, you may want to take a moment and silently congratulating yourself to have made the time to nurture yourself in this way and perhaps also forming the intention to continue practicing over the days and weeks and months to come. To befriend yourself allowing your deep inner resources to nourish your life … balancing the doing and the being. Also remembering that this amazing ability to heal and nurture yourself is with you at all times — the healing capacity of resting in the stillness of awareness — resting with the inflow and outflow of the breath. Sound of bell (x 1)
End Now … gently move your toes and fingers. No rush … when you are ready … bring your awareness back to your surroundings and come to a sitting position. Gently moving to your next activity or practice.