I have noticed in several of my meditations that I stop feeling my body. It’s as if it goes to sleep but my mind is still alert. When the meditation is over, there is a tingling feeling in my limbs as if they are coming back to life. Reflecting on these sensations makes me think about how often we take for granted the subtle functioning and interactions of our physical and mental capacities.
I suspect this numbing of the limbs is to be expected since anytime I have ever participated in a group meditation, the person leading the meditation will instruct the group to wiggle their fingers and toes and come back to their bodies at the end of the session. Thus, it appears there is something to this phenomenon that when we get still we move to someplace in our body that tunes out physical sensations.
This morning I decided to keep track of when and how it happened. As I sat in my bed propped up against the pillows, I noticed that I felt the sheets beneath my arms and legs. I felt my hair tickling my face. I noticed that my nose felt dry when I breathed in and out. But I didn’t notice exactly when all those feelings stopped. I just realized at some point that I felt as if I was suspended without any physical feeling. The only thing present was the sensation of breathing, the distracting thoughts that flittered in and a conscious awareness that I could not feel my body.
I have also noticed during many of my meditation sessions over the years (this morning included) that, at some point in the meditation session, if I feel a resistance if I attempt to open my eye in the middle of a session. Physically, it feels as if they have been sealed. It’s not as if I can’t open my eyes; I just notice resistance. I wonder if this is also a part of the process where we move from our physical bodies into a connection with the inner self, to that place where we can hear our inner voice in the void.
I’m leaning toward an awareness of absolute relaxation of the body when we meditate. We sit in silence and just breathe. Our body responds by relaxing as if it knows we have shifted into the inner sanctity of ourselves. This is a place we cannot go when we are awake, alert and conscious of what’s happening around us. It can only be revealed when we consciously choose to be present in our bodies and disconnect from the outside pressures of our daily existence.
Whatever the cause, it feels good and I am learning to accept it as a rhythmic functionality of our human existence.
Note: After many failed attempts at meditation, I decided to take the advice of music mogul, Russell Simmons, who wrote Success Through Stillness. He suggests setting a timer for twenty minutes and sitting still regardless of distracting thoughts. I wrote after each session to create this thirty-day blog series.