Our mind has an innate tendency to wander off, incessantly into thinking. At any one moment as if on impulse, we might find ourselves either thinking about worrying or mulling over the past or trying to anticipate the future or just daydreaming in the present. Such a state of mind detracts us from our present experience.
On the contrary, our body and senses are always here in the present. So, during our meditation practice and daily life, our body is an excellent anchor if not our greatest ally in grounding our minds and ourselves in our present experience.
This grounding of the mind within the body is essential because we need both the mind and the body to live fully. Therefore, as we learn in the practice of meditation, the vehicle of the out-breath can be one of the perfect mediums we can use to help us drop the mind into the body.
We can do this by gently focusing a little bit more on the out-breath as we breath out. And we might notice that as we do this its as if our centre of gravity drops. I like to call it, “it’s as if you sinking into the body”. Also as we drop our focus more intently on our out-breath, we might notice how on the out-breath as the body releases the breath, there might be a tendency for the body to relax as it releases the breath.
So this can be an excellent exercise in grounding the mind. How can the mind learn from the body from the releasing quality of the out-breath in the body?
So as we breathe out and our centre of gravity drops into the body. So also the mind drops into the body. And as the body releases the breath and relaxes. So the mind further drops and settles grounded within the body.
This brings the mind more fully into the body. And in turn, the body further brings us more fully into the present. So that the mind is resting within the body, the mind becomes one with the body and the body one with the mind, which is what is meant by embodied presence. And it is through this embodied presence that we can thoroughly truly investigate the living present.
Because indeed, when we are embodied. Through this embodied presence, through the unity of mind and body in the present is what leads us to live fully in the present. So it is through this embodied presence that we can fully engage in investigating the living present.
As the author and religious scholar, Anne C. Klein pointed out, “to investigate our embodied experience is to investigate the living present.”
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