As a writer about the spiritual journey of self-discovery, I love to explore the question, “Why Practice Inner Body Awareness.” I think this practice is foundational to the spiritual journey. The modern mystic Eckhart Tolle writes in The Power of NOW—A Guide to Enlightenment.

Enlightenment is not away from the body but through the body—Eckhart Tolle.

Let’s explore this quest to know why one should practice inner body awareness.

Practice Inner Body Awareness Menu

Why Practice Inner Body Awareness

why practice inner body awareness

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There are many reasons you might practice inner body awareness, but the primary reason is to invite you to experience wholeness.

By the word “wholeness” I mean the union of the personal self with the Essential or True Self. Inner body awareness is how you begin that journey of communion that then moves into union.

This unification of the personal with that which is beyond the personal is the experience of wholeness. Eckhart Tolle might say it in this way, “Wholeness is the union of the manifest with the unmanifest.”

The word health derives from the word ‘whole’ as does the word ‘holy.’ Do not confuse the word ‘holy’ with religious ritual. It is the inner experience of unity. It is from this experience that you find authentic happiness and genuine prosperity.

You have to grow from the inside out. None can teach you, none can make you spiritual. There is no other teacher but your own soul.
–Swami Vivekananda

The Challenge of Inner Body Awareness

the challenge of inner body awakening

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While there are real benefits for the modern Westerner, this practice of inner body awareness is a real challenge. The primary challenge is to stay with the experience of “nothing happening.”

This is how it first appears to anyone starting out into what I will refer to as “The desert of unknowing.”

The personal mind, the voice in your head, will distract you and it will assure you that you are wasting valuable time. You could be ‘doing’ something useful rather than doing “nothing.”

Few of us have lost our minds, but most of us have long ago lost our bodies—Ken Wilber

Mystics who are the KNOWERS of the inner world will tell you that what you are attempting to connect with is something your personal mind cuts you off from. The personal everyday logic-chopping mind finds no value in the practice of inner body awareness. There is nothing to entertain it. There is nothing to grab hold off. There is nothing to measure results by.

This wanting to be entertained, to get hold of something tangible, to achieve results is what I refer to as Level 1 self-discovery. The deeper experience of inner body awareness takes you into self-discovery Level II (communion) and deeper still into Level III (unity).

Level I self-discovery is where we all start and where most of us will give up.

This is not completely the fault of the individual. We are individually and collectively addicted to doing and achieving. We are addicted to the overthinking personal mind which is ever on and while on means we cannot hear and FEEL the guidance from Universal Intelligence.

This FEELING experience comes through the body and not through the logic-chopping personal mind.

You are not educated to feel familiar with the paradoxical power of non-doing and the paradox of emptiness. This invitation to non-doing and emptiness is not at all attractive to the personal sense of self. Yet it allows you to come into balance and alignment with other ways of relating to the world.

These are more fulfilling ways and involve less doing and stress. They are ways of learning to flow and be in harmony with the way Creation expresses through you.

PRESENTS By Norman MacCaig

I give you an emptiness,
I give you a plenitude,
Unwrap them carefully.
–One’s as fragile as the other—
And when you thank me
I’ll pretend not to notice the doubt in your voice
When you say they’re just what you wanted.

Put them on a table by your bed.
When you wake in the morning
They’ll have gone through
The door of sleep into your head.
Wherever you go, they’ll go with you and
Wherever you are you’ll wonder,
Smiling about the fullness you can’t add to
And the emptiness that you can fill.

John O’Donohue, J.  (1997). Anam cara: A book of Celtic wisdom.  New York, NY: Harper/Collins.

Practice Inner Body Awareness

Level II Self Discovery

levels of inner awareness

Be as a word that aches for a page on a theme that is timeless—Be—Jonathan Livingston Seagull

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If you stay with the practice of inner body awareness you move into Level II self-discovery. This is where you have the courage to enter the paradoxical dimension of NO-THING. Do not confuse NO-THING with “nothing.”

NO-THING is the dimension out of which everything is made manifest. This is the emptiness that you can fill and are fulfilled from. This is the paradoxical emptiness that is forever full.

When nothing works try doing nothing – How Letting Go will Get You to Where You Want to Go – Dr. Frank J. Kinslow

It is the Infinite Field of potential within you. It is the potential seeded within you that it creates you to express within this world of form would that you be willing to allow it.

This is the immeasurable that you cannot measure. It is the unknown which is not unknowable. It is just not knowable through the intellect. It is KNOWABLE through the inner awareness of the body.

This is the invitation from the mystic poet Rumi when he invites;-

Give up logic for bewilderment—Rumi – The Alchemist of Love

Embracing Spiritual Embodiment

embracing inner body awareness

Heaven lies about us in our infancy! –  Intimations of Immortality -William Wordsworth

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Inner body awareness is, for this writer, the development of embodied spirituality. This is what you are here to do and be.

Far too often spiritual teachings point toward transcendence via the mind. This is the New Age idea of ascension. If you explore social media groups on platforms such as Facebook there are hundreds of thousands of people subscribed to groups promoting third eye awakening and ascension.

You will find very few groups on the invitation to spiritual embodiment.

The danger of being focused on spiritual ascension is the central point of the Greek mythological story of Icarus who fell to earth. We have so many New Age individuals attempting to fly to the higher dimensions without having their feet on the ground (embodied spirituality)

The legend of Icarus is a legend of Initiation. Icarus has attempted to reach the Sun-sphere prematurely, without adequate preparation, and is cast down. ~Rudolf Steiner

This is a kind of spiritual escapism or spiritual bypass.

I have seen far too many dis-embodied spiritual seekers who live some distance from their body (James Joyce—The Dubliners). I have witnessed this sense of disembodiment celebrated in different spiritual groups. My first meditation teacher was such a dis-embodied individual.

It has always struck me that a key invitation from the central Christian prayer invites

Thy will be done on Earth as it is in Heaven – Matthew 6:10

This prayer requests that we embody higher-level consciousness within the form of the body.

This is different from the idea that there this thing called Judgement Day whereby the chosen few ascend to somewhere beyond the material plane while the rest of us go to hell in a hand basket.

As anyone who is a mystic KNOWS this idea of Judgement Day is a projection of those who have made God in their own image but have never had a direct encounter with that dynamic to which the word ‘God’ points.

Leaving the Matrix

how to practice inner body awareness

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Inner body awareness is the equivalent of unplugging from the Matrix. This is unplugging from the collective human dynamic whose mantra is, “I am separate.”

Leaving the Matrix, which is the collective belief in personal separation, means you enter the unknown. This requires that you trust the energy of NO-THING. You trust that which is beyond the voice in your head. This is so much greater than the personal sense of self.

One of the reasons that we try so hard to hold ourselves up and in is because we don’t feel held by something greater. This brings us to the issue of trusting life, no matter what. Some call this trust faith, but faith usually means believing in something. Trust is not based on a belief. Rather it is a felt sense of being held by a benevolent presence or field that is greater than little me. Trust allows us to let go. This is not a trust that things will go as we want. Rather, it is that trust that life will unfold as it needs – In Touch – How to Tune In to the Inner Guidance of Your Body and Trust Yourself – John J. Prendergast, PhD – Sounds True.

You trust the KNOWING of NO-THING that created you to express through you.

This is the real journey of faith. It is the invitation to a dimension beyond belief. This Infinite NO-THING KNOWS better than you know how to live your life, but we do not train you in trusting this Essential Self.

This is the meaning of the strange Biblical invitation that says

Unless you are willing to lose your life for my sake you cannot enter the Kingdom. – Matthew 16:25

The Kingdom is Level III self-discovery. It is not a place you earn the right to enter. It is a state of consciousness that you allow to express through you and as you. The portal to this state is through inner body awareness.

  • Level I – Personal.
  • Level II – Transitional.
  • Level III – Transpersonal.

Most of us have personal self-esteem issues. We derive our sense of self from a personal self-image. This is who we think we are. The personality is who most everyone thinks they are.

However, this personality, mask, persona is the total of ideas, concepts, and beliefs that you have brought together and which you present to the world. This is a necessary 1st Stage of Life process. It is part of being human on this planet within the limitation of time and space.

For most people it is the equivalent of covering a Golden Buddha in mud (beautiful story) and then forgetting that underneath the mud there ever was a Golden Buddha. The chipping away of the mud to reveal the Golden Buddha is the practice of inner body awareness.

To use a Christian metaphor, this is where the Christ Mind gets covered over by the personal mind.

The result is that you live in the basement of a Palace spending your life making the basement as comfortable as possible.

Why you practice inner body awareness is because it will allow you to discover that there is a door leading out of the basement into the higher levels of self-awareness. The problem is that you are discouraged from ever knowing there is such a door. This is an inner doorway to higher revelation.

The Practice of Inner Body Awareness

practicing inner body awareness

So here you have a short invitation to the why and the challenges of inner body awareness and awakening. Where do you go from here?

I recommend that to start with you listen to this video by the modern mystic Eckhart Tolle writer of The Power of NOW—A Guide to Enlightenment.

I love listening to this wonderful invitation. One of the key aspects of this recording is that Eckhart Tolle shares how your mind will tell you that this practice is a waste of time. This is the major challenge of continuing with the practice.

Listen and enjoy the following.

  • Enjoy a short practice of inner body awareness.
  • Learn How the personal mind will draw you away from the practice.
  • The opening question you need to ask to begin to learn the practice.
  • Moving from the head to inclusive bodily presence.

If you haven’t practiced inner body awareness before then listen to this practice as often as required.

How I practice inner body awareness is through the practice of Yoga Nidra.

This is an enjoyable place to start if you have not already established a practice. Here are some links to related pages that may be of interest.

I hope that you have found this article of encouragement. I have explored inner body awareness for about a year now.  I find it one of the most beneficial practices that I have discovered. The paradox is that the less I do, the more fulfillment pours through me.

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Writer - Storyteller - Musician at Yoga Journey for Life
Writer of Awakening the Heart - 21 Ways for Following Love's Message. Also author of Being Beautiful - Learning to Treasure the REAL YOU. Workshop Leader in Learning to Companion YOUR Greatness.
Tony Cuckson
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