Skip to main content Skip to search
Week 11 - Body Scan Inquiry

In this practice we will be building upon our awareness of our body and emotional sensations as we explored in prior weeks, with a focus this week on exploring our idea of self as it relates to our body, emotional sensations, and our thoughts.  Begin by finding a comfortable position either lying down or seated comfortably and attentively in a chair or on a cushion.  Bring your attention to the points of contact your body makes with the floor or chair and anchor your attention there as you take three deep breaths.

(pause)

Now begin to bring your attention to your feet.  Notice what kinds of sensations you feel in your feet right now.  Do these sensations define who you are..such as feelings of pain, fatigue, neutral, warm, cold, etc….?

Now consider all of the physical components of your feet-skin, nails, toes, arches, heel, hairs, blood, bones, DNA etc… how do you identify these feet as “yourself”, are they an essential component to your identity and if so in what way?  How do your feet influence your sense of self in terms of  your physical appearance...their capacity physically...walking, running dancing, jumping, balancing, etc…

When you think about your feet what kinds of thoughts arise-like/dislike/neutral….memories of the past….judgements...etc?  What role does your awareness play in the way you identify with your feet?  Can you locate your sense of awareness and focus somewhere in your feet or is it all pervasive in your body?

(pause)

Now bring your attention to your legs.  Notice what kinds of sensations you feel in your legs right now.  Consider the various physical components of your legs of your various muscles, joints, bones, skin, circulation, hair, blood, DNA etc...how do you identify your legs and the state of your legs right now as a part of your identify of who you are?  Are your legs an essential component of your identity and if so in what way, if not why not?  How do your legs influence your sense of self in terms of your physical appearance, their capacity physically in terms of level of strength/flexibility/mobility?  

When you think about your legs what kinds of thoughts arise-like/dislike/neutral….memories of the past….judgements, etc…?  Can you locate your sense of awareness and focus somewhere in your legs or is it all pervasive in your body?

(pause)

Now bring your attention to your stomach and your lower back.  Notice what kinds of sensations you feel in your stomach and lower back right now.  Consider the various physical components of your stomach and lower back such as your various muscles, joints, bones, skin, circulation, hair, blood, DNA, fluids, bacteria, etc...how do you identify your stomach and lower back and the state of being right now as a part of your identify of who you are?  Are your they an essential component of your identity and if so in what way, if not why not?  How do they  influence your sense of self in terms of your physical appearance, their capacity physically in terms of level of strength/flexibility/mobility?  

When you think about your stomach and lower back what kinds of thoughts arise-like/dislike/neutral….memories of the past….judgements, etc…?  Can you locate your sense of awareness and focus somewhere in your stomach or back or is it all pervasive in your body?

(pause)

Now bring your attention to your chest, heart and lungs.  Notice what kinds of sensations you feel in your chest, heart, and lungs right now.  Consider the various physical components of your chest, heart, and lungs such as your various muscles, joints, skin, circulation, hair, blood, DNA, fluids, etc...how do you identify your chest, heart, and lungs and their state of being right now as a part of your identify of who you are?  Are they an essential component of your identity and if so in what way, if not why not?  How do they  influence your sense of self in terms of your physical appearance, their capacity physically in terms of level of wellness?  

When you think about your chest, heart, and lungs what kinds of thoughts arise-like/dislike/neutral….memories of the past….judgements, etc…?  Can you locate your sense of awareness and focus somewhere in your chest, heart,  or lungs or is it all pervasive in your body?

(pause)

Now bring your attention to your shoulders, arms and hands.  Notice what kinds of sensations you feel in your shoulders, arms and hands right now.  Consider the various physical components of your shoulders, arms and hands such as your various muscles, joints, skin, circulation, hair, blood, DNA, fluids, etc...how do you identify your shoulders, arms, and hands and their state of being right now as a part of your identify of who you are?  Are they an essential component of your identity and if so in what way, if not why not?  How do they  influence your sense of self in terms of your physical appearance, their capacity physically in terms of level of wellness/strength/flexibility?  

When you think about your shoulders, arms, and hands what kinds of thoughts arise-like/dislike/neutral….memories of the past….judgements, etc…?  Can you locate your sense of awareness and focus somewhere in your shoulders, arms,  or hands or is it all pervasive in your body?

(pause)

Now bring your attention to your face.  Notice what kinds of sensations you feel in your face right now.  Consider the various physical components of your face such as your eyes, lips, teeth, nose, cheeks, ears, hair, etc how do you identify your face and its current state as a part of your identify of who you are?  Are they an essential component of your identity and if so in what way, if not why not?  How do they  influence your sense of self in terms of your physical appearance, their capacity physically?  What about the internal components of your face such as blood, bones, muscles, etc...how are they related to who you are?  

When you think about your face what kinds of thoughts arise-like/dislike/neutral….memories of the past….judgements, etc…?  Can you locate your sense of awareness and focus somewhere in your face or is it all pervasive in your body?

(pause)

Now bring your attention to your brain.  Notice what kinds of sensations you feel in your head right now.  Consider the various components of your brain and how each affects your body as a whole, habits and behaviors, patterns of thinking, perspective taking, creativity, etc.. What role does your brain have in your identity? How does your brain and its state of being  influence your sense of who you are?  

When you think about your brain/nervous system, habits, patterns of thinking, the wiring in your brain….what kinds of thoughts arise about your identity?  Can you locate your sense of awareness and focus somewhere in your brain or is it all pervasive in your body?

(pause)

Now bring to mind your whole body and consider things like your height, weight, color of your skin, ethnicity, genetics, etc…..   Consider the elements that you have inherited from your family and ancestors and consider how the outerworld directly known and unknown has played a role in developing certain features of your body such as physical training, education, medical care, food industry, natural environment…. Do any of these elements define who you are and your sense of self?   

(pause)

Now bring your mind back to your breath and anchor your attention on your in breath and out breath for a moment.  

As you go about the rest of your day keep contemplating how you define who you are?  Is it fluid or fixed?  Do changes in physical sensations affect your sense of self, what about changes in emotions, thoughts, etc….?  Also become aware of what kinds of features you use to define others-in their body, behavior, and ways they express themselves.

Now slowly begin to bring some movement back into the body.  Stretching gently and releasing your posture.  When you are ready open your eyes.  Take your time.

Week 11 - Body Scan Inquiry
Collection The Art and Science of Human Flourishing - Fall 2017
Visibility Public - accessible to all site users (default)