For years, you didn’t know what body consciousness was, did you?
Not exactly, I knew what it was but I was not able to live it, and it was not like it is now.
And what’s different now?
I think now I’m more into welcoming. For me, the main obstacle was self-pity.
What made you switch to the welcoming?
I realized that I was avoiding the necessary suffering through self-pity. Sometimes it was very subtle. I recognize more and more very subtle ways of indulging in self-pity. But as it became very obvious, I could make the decision to stop it. Once I stopped it, I could accept and live self-remembering, body consciousness and “I am”. So really, the main obstacle was self-pity.
What is body consciousness? At first, you were very far from being in body consciousness, and now you’re in it almost all the time.
At first I had a lot of ideas and representations on how I should feel it. But that faded gradually to give way to something that has nothing to do with thinking. It is a question of remembering that it’s the most important thing to do.
Is it true that you have the impression that body consciousness is something more natural, not something you have learned, but something that is becoming more and more?
Yes, this happens naturally when I remember the consciousness and avoid associating myself with my thoughts. At first I was trying to force something. It didn’t feel natural; it was as if there was something missing that was necessary to recover. Until I realized that it was always there. Another thing is that, from the start, there is something important in having an awareness of the general sensation of the body, and not only the awareness of a local sensation here or there. The act of returning to the physical sensation of the feet or hands is a door, but it is not enough. The whole-body sensation is wider, and the body becomes kind of transparent; it is as if I were a ghost. If the globalized aspect of body awareness is missing, then there are just local sensations, and no intangible “ghost” dimension.
Thank you, this is a very good summary of what has been exchanged in your absence. The next topic is divided attention. How do you live it?
I’m not as good with practicing divided attention. There was a suggestion to use the P. A. T. I. L. and I remember having used it, and it was great for me, as I tend to forget things. So it was a good reminder.
It is also natural, and at the same level as body consciousness. The hardest thing is to go from 99% to 100% of the time in body consciousness. And then divided attention becomes a natural phenomenon. Is it natural for those who are 100% in body consciousness or does it require a special reminder?
I can’t say that I’m 100% in body consciousness, but clearly, when I’m in body consciousness, divided attention is naturally present. These are two sides of the same coin. And besides, the lack of divided attention is a very good indicator for me that I lost body consciousness.
One thing that helps me to be in divided attention is to focus on what I am doing, what I feel with my senses now: seeing, hearing, and touching.
Body consciousness and divided attention can only be in the here and now.
Sometimes I don’t know if I’m 100% or not. It reminds me of the metaphor of shopping, when we go out and we do not know where we parked our car: that’s when we realized we had forgotten.
Don’t focus too much on the 100%. Rather, it is something very natural and it’s impossible to validate it, one can never validate it. There are times when it is in continuity and it is after we realize that we have not detected oblivion for a great time. We cannot confirm 100% that we were in it.
As it is natural, if we focus too much on it, we lose it. So we must let go of that too. Also, avoid anything that created unnecessary stress. This is not good for the body consciousness. Finally, even if sometimes things seem to happen by themselves, be careful not to call it magic, because it’s a trap.
That’s right. When you’re in, it’s natural. After that, it can give the impression that it was magical, but it should not be(come) a representation or concept that it is magical, because it would be a trap.
Something I would add is that when you’re in, you’re in total acceptance, and that’s why there cannot be any unnecessary stress. The acceptance is that you’re ready for anything, you agree in advance that anything that may happen.
To S.: can you get into the oblivion of body consciousness for 5 seconds? Are you able?
Get there on command? No, I don’t think so. What I want to say is that every night I fall asleep with body consciousness and I wake up with, and also with the “I am”. And it immerses myself in divided attention in a very profound way. At the same time, I lived concrete examples of friction in my family where I could find that I welcomed it in body consciousness, and it didn’t affect me.
This kind of situation allows you to confirm for yourself that it works.
To G.: what do you do not to lose body consciousness?
G.: I lose it very often. It’s a daily challenge to stay in, but I cannot force it, otherwise it’s sure I’ll lose it.
What makes you get out of body consciousness?
I noticed two things. One is a physical impulse, where I feel rushed. I notice it when I’m driving or talking very fast sometimes.
Check well what is the origin and what is the consequence of losing body consciousness.
It is a consequence. The second thing is a sense of reproach. I see the time with my wife, to whom I blame that is ridiculous. But it’s subtle and it also happens to life or myself. And if I do not do it, I feel like I’m nobody, but emptiness.
So you did not accept the necessary suffering and emptiness behind it. And the cause is forgetfulness and non-acceptance of necessary suffering.
I accept it with humility.
To C.: are you in body consciousness permanently?
Why not? How do you know you’re not in all day?
I know for example that a few years ago, I had anxiety attacks.
It’s still there?
Indeed, anxiety attacks and body consciousness are incompatible. But here now, you are in body consciousness?
Can you put an aim to be all the time in body consciousness, at least during your stay here?
That was my intention. Body consciousness is not simply to be aware of our body. It is part, but not all.
In English, we rather say “whole body sensation.” The “whole” is very important. It is more a physical sensation than a consciousness.
In fact, it can be both: a global sensation, or whole body consciousness. How would you describe it? How do you know you’re in body consciousness?
One thing that comes to me is the notion of faith in life, basic confidence. Without it, you’re in distrust and anxiety, and you cannot be in body consciousness.
So for you, body awareness also involves faith? It’s part of the “I am”. You can’t be in the “I am” if you don’t have faith. But back to my question, how do you know you’re in body consciousness, focusing on body consciousness in your answer?
I don’t know at what level it is, but there is a kind of completeness. Each cell seems filled.
And what can you say of the limits of the body?
There may be limits, but I do not feel them.
That’s it! What interests us is how you experience this. Without limits, you’re naturally in divided attention. You know that there is a kind of ghost-body sailing in the world, and everything that happens, happens around it. Does this correspond to your experience?
Yes. It’s great to feel it here with you, because it is difficult to reconnect to it when I’m alone.
We all know it’s important to be here to reconnected to it.
Does feeling my body; staying with the changing sensations, allow me to say that I am in body consciousness?
No, we cannot confirm that we’re in. We can only realize that it has been forgotten. And if for a year, you never saw that you had forgotten, probably you were always in.
When I am in body consciousness and divided attention, the sensations are amplified, the colors more intense, the words of others arrive, but without judgment. Is it correct?
For the welcoming of words without judgement, it is actually natural that it is like this in divided attention. The amplification of sensations is transitory; it may occur at the beginning. It mobilizes another way to welcome the words and understand what is said.
Before, when read something I had trouble keeping divided attention, because there was a tension to try to understand. Now I can read better keeping divided attention. The reading quality is a little worse but sufficient.
I am confident now that I can transform anger. I will try not to express or suppress my negative emotions.
The important point is transforming anger. Now you can use body consciousness and transformation of negative emotions as reminding factors. Remind them regularly, and so do not forget them. That’s the important thing, do not forget. And that you can do from now on whenever you discover something very important. You create a reminding factor. You can remember it at night, before you sleep and after waking up. Body consciousness is not related to emotional states or fatigue. So if you’re tired or clear or even sleepwalking, body consciousness is always there. There can be no excuse for not practicing.