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Lions Roar : September 2007
SHAMBHALA SUN SEPTEMBER 2007 109 By bringing relaxed attention to your ex- perience, you facilitate this process of purifi- cation and release. Like the exercise in which you rested your right forearm in your left hand without pushing or hovering, you can bring relaxed attention to the storehouse of the past as it unfolds in the present. Coming into the Present through the Body You can learn to utilize mindfulness of the body as a way of training yourself to stay present in this very moment. It’s quite a feat to stay mindfully present in your body despite the pressures and re- sponsibilities in your life, not to mention all your anxieties and uncertainties. Most people are mindful of their own embod- ied presence for only brief moments, usu- ally around specific functions; more often than not, they are lost in the past or the future or in escaping altogether through disassociation or distraction. But if you are not mindfully present, you are missing the unfolding of your precious human life and you are forsaking any chance to con- sciously participate in how it unfolds. Developing and maintaining a con- stant awareness of the body is by far the most effective way to learn to stay present in the moment. Try coming into the pres- ent through the body the next time you are sitting in a meeting at work, feeling restless or anxious. First, drop your atten- tion to your pelvis resting in the chair and feel whatever sensations arise. Then, no- tice one specific sensation in your hands and feel the movement of a single breath. Finally, observe what happens to your mind. When you focus your attention on specific body sensations, it frees you from the story in your mind that’s causing you to be reactive, and it allows the possibility of softening into the moment just as it is. You may have to do mindfulness exercises like this a few times, but the feeling of em- bodied presence will arise, and eventually you will discover a sense of well-being. One caution: it takes time to develop Awakening in the Body continued from page 49 AN APPEAL FOR THE PRECIOUS SEEDS OF TIBET Tibetan children, nuns and monks continue to escape persecution by making a perilous journey across the Himalayas to seek freedom in Nepal and India. Many arrive traumatized and destitute. With a sponsorship of $3.50 to $33 a month, you can help save a life and preserve a culture. To learn more please call or visit our website. www.Tibet Aid.org 877-Tibet-Aid The Village Zendo Find the Stillness Within. Practice in the heart of the city. Roshi Enkyo O'Hara Beginning Instruction, classes, daily meditation, silent retreats, dharma talks 588 Broadway, suite 910 NY, NY 10012 www.villagezendo.org SEPT 100-120.indd 109 SEPT 100-120.indd 109 6/25/07 5:08:43 PM 6/25/07 5:08:43 PM