Have you ever had an out of body experience? The out of body experience I am speaking of refers to being so consumed by external distractions that you are unaware of what’s happening within your body. Sometimes we get so preoccupied by all the things running through our minds that we become oblivious to the present. Maybe you have found yourself in your driveway and suddenly realize that you drove home from work on complete autopilot. Have you ever found yourself spacing out in a conversation because your mind was focused on something else? Consider how much time you spend checked out of the present and unaware of what’s occurring in and around you.
We rarely pay any attention to what our body is feeling or doing until it screams out in pain, illness, or disease. Yet when we do tune into it, our body has the capacity to provide us with information, inspiration, and intuition. Our body is continually sending us signals to interpret this information, but when we are focused externally, those signals go unnoticed. If we pay attention and trust in its intuition, our body will let us know “the vibe” of a person or situation before our brain can even rationalize an interpretation. When you are conscious of what is happening to your body you get great insight into yourself. Notice what happens to you, and within you, in response to a particular situation or circumstance. Focusing on what is happening in and around you allows you to more fully participate in, and experience, your life.
If you want to get a deeper understanding of yourself, become aware of what you sense physically and emotionally in your body. Without judgement, observe what happens within your body while you are in a particular situation. Notice the level of tension in your muscles and the type of posture you display. You are less likely to have a positive experience if a situation is triggering a guarded posture and increased muscular tension. Could your physical reaction be telling you something about yourself? Notice what is happening to your thoughts in a given circumstance. Often, when we are uncomfortable with a situation we find it very difficult to keep our focus. Our mind tends to wander to anything that takes us away from that uneasy feeling. If you notice your mind drifting away from the situation at hand, ask yourself “What about this situation is causing me to feel vulnerable or uncomfortable?”
When you choose to stay present in any situation, to observe yourself and become aware of what is happening to your body in any given moment, you can develop a better understanding of yourself. By recognizing the parts of you that are both comfortable and uncomfortable with certain feelings, you reconnect to your life.
For all of us, life, at times, can get complicated and overwhelming. That’s when it’s so easy to get caught up in thinking about what should have happened, what might happen, or what’s going to happen, that we neglect what is actually happening. When we’re living in the past, or worrying about the future, we’re literally missing out on living our life. When we tune into our body, we tune into the present experience. The only time that counts is now.
“The secret of health for both mind and body is not to mourn for the past, worry about the future, or anticipate troubles, but to live in the present moment wisely and earnestly.” – Buddha