I was riding one of those advanced elliptical running machines at the gym yesterday when it dawned on me. As I strove find perfect balance within the complicated motions of the exercise, at one point I found the right rhythm and released into it and suddenly it became effortless. All parts of my body were working as a whole. My body felt like a gyroscope, one of those toys I loved as a child because it appeared to magically defy gravity. I was spinning in space, completely present physically. My mind was present and free within my body. Both body and mind were thinking, “Wow, this feels cool!”.
Our bodies are more naturally in the present than our minds by a long shot. All the sense organs are part of the body. We see more than we can register, but we hardly ever see without filtering and judging. The same goes with hearing. As we all know, smell is one of the most powerful senses, connecting directly with the deepest part of the brain. Our sense of touch is available from every inch of skin encasing us. Yet we register only the information from these senses when it suits us, serves us, or annoys us.
There is another sense, which Alexander called “kinesthetic” sense. It’s the feeling the body has of itself in space, especially as it moves. As mental animals, we are barely aware of ourselves kinesthetically. As you read this, notice your body. Feel your body in the chair. Feel the room with your body. (not your mind) There’s a lot of information there, but we don’t notice it most of the time, since we are thinking about what we’re doing, thinking about what we’re going to do, what we did yesterday, why we’re not happy, what would make us happier, and on and on. Rarely are we ever really present, in our bodies.
We are barely aware of the depth of sensing our bodies are capable of. We have tuned out for so long we have lost the synapses, the sensitivity to our physical presence. Meditation is a practice which allows us to begin to be present. But we can also learn to be aware all the time. I like to take walks as a meditation. I enjoy and notice the flow of my body as I walk. I notice my breathing and allow it to deepen. I allow my head to float up and forward, releasing and almost lifting my body up a bit, making movement freer. I notice the smells, sounds, sights and touches of the scenery as I pass within it. Yes, we are within our surroundings, part of it. It’s different than just noticing with the mind. It allows the body to sense its own weight and thickness within gravity, air, sounds, sights, smells.
The body is the gyroscope of the spirit. It is the instrument which senses and measures the universe. When balanced, it notices subtle changes in surrounding energy which the mind often fails to register. When poised and relaxed, the body can feel the great, deep humming of the divine, the infinite. As it becomes more tuned to the divine, the body hums sympathetically with the universal spirit, living lightly and effortlessly.