To raise one’s life force and thereby better all areas of one’s life; to connect to and benefit from life’s wisdom; to follow life and thereby help bring paradise to earth.
Set aside an hour or so in a place away from distractions. Get comfortable and place your attention on your most predominant physical sensation. Continue attending as long as it is most predominant. At some point there will be a shift, and some other sensation will become predominant. Attend to this sensation as long as it is predominant. And so on. Be aware of what you may feel, see, and hear. Their content is not as important as is the fact that you are being present and attending.
- Predominant physical sensations may range from easily discernible sensations such as pain, to more ambient sensations such as itching in one’s nose. In the latter case, rather than scratch the itch, one is asked to attend to the itching as long as it is predominant. Feelings may also be predominant; for example, sadness, anger, or joy. Often such feelings are associated with thoughts. If so, one needs to maintain attention on the feeling, and not get drawn into the thoughts.
- Body meditation is usually done singly, but there are benefits to doing it in dyads (pairs). Meditators may be physically present with one another, or communicating via phone. In dyads, one person vocalizes what his/her predominant physical sensations are, where they are, what they are feeling, seeing and hearing, and how they are shifting. The other simply attends, and may contribute comments as they come to him/her; for example, is there anything you are feeling/hearing/seeing?
- As body meditation progresses, one builds life force and is more robust in living one’s life. One is increasingly connected to life and capable of receiving guidance that is beneficial not only to oneself, but to all of life. One is contributing to human evolution and helping bring heaven to earth.
Body meditation was developed by Dan Emmons and is described in his 2004 book, Life Force. Dan’s work has drawn a number of followers, who practice with him and with one another. Dan currently (2011) lives in Tampa, Florida.
Body meditation brings to awareness one’s weakest link, the next area to attend to when building one’s life force. While such sensations may be pleasant or neutral, they may also be unpleasant or painful. Body meditation will lead to a shift, but the amount of time involved may be brief or extended (see Emmons’ description of the effect of body meditation on his chronic pain).
As a distinct practice, body meditation has only relatively recently been articulated. Dan Emmons’ book (1998) is presently the best description. However, the conceptualization of this practice is still in progress as Dan works with meditators in the U.S. and around the globe.
Emmons, Dan and Michelle, Sabathne. 1998. Life Force: Experience Paradise in Your Lifetime. Murray, Utah: Just Be Publishing. E-book version is under development.
Emotional Awareness Meditation (from the Vipassana practice in Buddhism). This is similar to body meditation in that it encourages sustained attention to emotions and to not get caught up in associated thoughts. The intent is to process the emotions more quickly and so allow them to pass. Body meditation differs in that it encourages awareness of any predominant physical sensation, not just feelings. Moreover the intent is not simply to get through the sensation, but to honor it as a vehicle in the service of following life. Also, while Buddhist practitioners seek enlightenment and an end to reincarnation, body meditators seek to follow life.
Gestalt Psychology. People’s perceptions involve seeing both broad situations (field) and focusing on some aspect of it (ground). It sometimes happens that people develop unresolved issues, with the effect that what should be field becomes “stuck” in ground. When encountering persistent negative emotions such as guilt or fear, Gestalt psychologists may recommend that rather than pushing it away, one holds the emotion as intensively as possible in one’s awareness. If done, this will result in a long lasting dissipation of the emotion, resulting in greater perceptual clarity and availability of previously bound-up energy. Body meditation advocates a similar dynamic with a similar result, but allows a greater range of perceptions to be attended to. Moreover, while Gestalt psychology regards the results mainly as improved mental health, body meditation regards these sensations as a vehicle for connecting to and following life.
Pain Bodies. In his book, The Power of Now, Eckhart Tolle describes “pain bodies” as patterns of thoughts sustained in the mind as a kind of parasite, feeding recurrently on feelings that it helps generate. For example, a person may repeatedly recall an instance of humiliation, and inwardly tell a story about how it was undeserved and how wrong the other person was and what one should have done. The person repeatedly revisits this pattern of thoughts, indwelling in it, as if it were reality. Tolle cautions against trying to fight such thoughts, since this in itself binds up more emotional energy in the process. Rather, he suggests simply being aware of when it happens, in effect moving from indwelling to a higher order of awareness of the dynamic. Tolle provides useful insight into how thoughts can create “stuck” patterns and why it is important not to be drawn into thoughts associated with feelings. Tolle’s work is close to Eastern traditions, and holds a similar vision, of liberation from ego, leading to enlightenment. However, with Emmons, he places this process in an evolutionary context.
Mantra Meditation. A popular form of meditation involves fixing one’s thoughts on something simple, such as counting breaths or on a Sanscrit character. This is done to bring one’s thoughts under control, to still one’s thoughts and allow consciousness to transcend thinking. Body meditation differs from mantra meditation in that it begins with one’s innate ability to identify some area to attend to. In meditation, one is continually monitoring one’s consciousness and attempting to hold it on some fixed thought. In body meditation, one is continually asking what sensation is coming to the forefront. Both meditations lead to transcending thought and progression to something greater. Mantra meditation, based on escaping the world of illusion, seems to create a divide between egoic consciousness and transcendent consciousness: one escapes earth and goes to heaven. Body meditation, on the other hand, seeks to bridge the two, to bring heaven to earth.