As Baby Boomers age, I almost never hear them speak respectfully about their body or especially their bodily pain. We’ve been socialized in American culture to revere the young and dread old age. It’s an unexamined ingrained belief system.
When my parents started aging, my father in particular hung out with his sisters and their husbands to discuss all the ways their bodies were falling apart. “It’s hell growing old,” they said.
I just completed a three hour meditation with Will Johnson and our gang of holy troublemakers. The various strategies Will Johnson outlines begins and ends with sitting meditation, by exploring meditation through the posture of sitting. There is a resilience to the strategies Will teaches, a fluidity of movement as each cell absorbs oxygen and frozen stillness disappears. I will add that most meditation practices emphasize a kind of statuesque stillness which causes pain in the back, shoulders, neck and everywhere else.
Body awareness is the way to cut the denial many of us have regarding physical pain. I’ll take it a step further: when bodily pain arises, embrace it. Love it. It is just another vehicle for our awakening.
I have practiced with this mindset of loving my body ever since I was diagnosed with osteoarthritis and had hip surgery in 2019. The pain was excruciating and I walked miles to alleviate it. Then I learned to go deeply within the pain, in order to make it a part of my consciousness as opposed to an aspect of self to abhor and deny.
Will Johnson’s posture of meditation and the strategies he uses to gently shake the body alive through breathing is what I was looking for. The body is awake, aware and conscious.
It is a friend. OM