Friday, October 31, 2008

Meditation on the Skeleton

In meditation we often do a body scan, bringing awareness of sensation and opening to the possibility of relaxing and letting go of tension.
This meditation has the same thing, but the attention goes to the bones.
Starting with the skull, just being aware of the smooth surface, appreciating the protective nature of the skull as it encases the brains.
Then the jawbone or mandible, moving it around, letting it relax and loosen.
Then the top vertebrae, that point where the neck supports the head – so crucial in meditation to keep the head upright.
Then the clavicle extending out to the shoulder joints. The shoulder blades or scapula, making subtle movements around to loosen and free any tension held there.
Then bring awareness to the bones in the arms, the humerus, the ulna, sensing how relaxed they are hanging from the shoulder joints. Then bring awareness to all the bones in the hands, the carpals, and down into the phalanges of the fingers –the network of bones that make it possible for us to do the most intricate task.
The ribs, protective, supportive, flexible. And in the back following the vertebrae down, making subtle movements to remind ourselves of the amazing complexity and flexibility of the spine. Coming low down to the sacrum and that last vestige of tailbone the coccyx, a little reminder of our deep connection to the rest of our mammal family.
Then bring awareness to the pelvis, the hipbone. The pubic bone. Checking to see that the whole area is relaxed and balanced.
Then bringing awareness to the leg bones: the femur in the thigh, the patella that protects the joint, the tibia in the front of the calf and the fibula behind, working in concert to support us. On down to the ankle, the metatarsal, and on to all the tiny bones in our feet that enable us to walk and run and balance.
Then expanding our awareness to take in the whole skeleton, imagining it solid, strong but spacious and open.
How rich an experience to spend some time getting to know our own bones, the longest lasting part of our very temporal physical being.
What feelings arise out of this close attention? Do you feel gratitude for these bones that support you? Concern for their well being if they are no longer as solid as they once were? Stay with whatever arises. Send metta/loving kindness to your skeleton.
In the rest of the meditation, keep bringing awareness back to the breath, of course, but the breath as it rises from the pelvis up through the rib cage, following the course of the spine, up into the skull and out the nasal cavity and back again.
Let each inhale be as precious and awe inspiring as if it were your very first. And each exhale savored as if it were your very last.
Happy Halloween!

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