We can explore practices that take us beyond the physical dimensions of our bodies, moving our awareness into the energetic realm and beyond in order to experience deep states of consciousness and transformation. In fact, the path to awakening and enlightenment can begin in the body and with the senses. Celebrate the body as the temple of the spirit. Seek to awaken your senses and, through that awakened sensory experience, to liberate and expand your life force energy throughout your body. Ultimately, unite that awakened life force energy with your higher consciousness – a seminal moment that opens the doorway which connects us to the source of spirit.

Ancient spiritual paths and practices such as meditation and yoga recognize that when there is perfect harmony between our body and our mind, there is the opportunity to experience the ultimate state of wholeness, the bliss of aliveness, and the sacred union with the absolute. These traditions teach us that our body is our temple, a sacred vessel through which life force can flow and provide the gateway to connect with spirit.

This is the only body you will ever have. The quality and longevity of your life is determined by the way in which you care for, nurture, and make friends with this sacred vessel. Take an inner journey. A journey towards embracing, healing and transforming obstacles or resistances in your body, as well as for honoring and celebrating the joys and delights of being in your body.

First, take an inventory of any challenges you experience about being in your body – including the way your body changes and ages along the journey of life. Consider physical, energy, movement, and emotional challenges such as disability, pain, body image, coordination, stress, self care, and others.

Now… just breathe. Using the ancient Tibetan practice of Tonglen: with each inhalation visualize that you are taking in the pain of these challenges – let it melt your heart open; and with each exhalation visualize that you are exhaling qualities that ease and provide relief from that pain and suffering. After a few minutes, make the practice bigger. With each inhalation, breathe in the pain of all beings that are suffering from the same challenges as you; and with each exhalation breathe out relief for theirs and your suffering. Know that with each inhalation, you are melting your heart open to greater compassion and heartful connection with yourself and to all humanity.

Next, take an equal amount of time to honor and celebrate the joys of being in your body. What are the delights and pleasures your body brings you? What aspects of your body are you most grateful for? Consider the physical, energy, movement, and emotional delights of your body such as pleasure, sports, recreation activities, sensory delights, touch, and others. What brings you simple pleasure, excites you, makes your heart sing? Take the time to really honor, celebrate, and affirm these gifts.

Finally, make a commitment to regularly thank and honor your body for all the lessons and gifts that it brings to you and your life. With loving intention, know that you are empowered to awaken and bring healing, harmony, and celebration to your body as you open to the wholeness and radiance of your soul.

By Marilynne Chophel