After many years of engaging my thoughts and imagination with movement and meditation, I am reminded daily how much my thoughts affect not only my body/mind but also how I perceive the world. I realize that many people I encounter daily have no idea that they are actively engaged in how they perceive the life they are living.
For a very small example, I was listening to the story of a Doctor who trains with us, (who by the way has within a couple of years seen dramatic changes in not only his own physical movement, but the overall joy within his life and his ability to be a better doctor in the process), who was suggesting to a group of Medical interns that they could learn to relax by imagining smiles going down and through their bodies and suggesting to themselves that everywhere the smiles touched they would start to relax. He was recounting a story of what we see all the time as teachers, resistance to the idea that your thoughts can affect you. People, generally, just don’t believe they can affect change with their own thoughts. In that belief, they create the world where they never bother to try. The funny thing is they are unconsciously generating thoughts that do the very thing they think they can’t do, every waking moment!!!! It is a marvelous joke that our neurology plays upon us.
Here is an example: Imagine if you will a cutting board. Filled with Lemons because you are about to make a pitcher of fresh lemonade. You cut the lemons in half careful not to get the juice on your paper cut, and just for fun you grab on of the halfs cut that in half and then bite down on the lemon. Wow! That’s sour!
If you are like most people just that story of biting a lemon had the real pysiological effect of not only creating saliva in your mout but making your muscles almost pucker. Congratulations your imagination just affected your body.
To investigate this, ( don’t take my word for it) all that you need to do is to start a meditation routine and start playing with some creative imagery. For instance, if you would like to relax , inhale, then imagine a smile on the front, the center or the back of your head, then as you exhale, imagine that smile moving down the front, center , or back of your body. Suggest to yourself everywhere that smile touches, your body relaxes. Don’t just do it once and say to yourself “see, it didn’t work! ” Do it for 5- 20 minutes a day for several weeks. (See it, feel it, taste it, touch it.) Create an image of a smile and let the image or thought of the smile do the work. In the New Forest Tradition, we call this #1 Fun. (more on that later) As for the meditation refer to my Meditation #1 post. If you would like to incorporate #1 Fun Imagery into your meditation practice, then in the Heart of the Meditation section, plug in the smile imagery as your focus of contemplation. That should get you started. Remember to have fun, and play. See for yourself how your thoughts can affect you.