We begin our meditation sessions with gentle stretching and conscious movement. What is “conscious movement”? It is not something separate from our meditation; it can actually be a form of meditation.

Conscious movement acts as a preparation and aid to meditation, and also is a bridge between meditative stillness and the movement of everyday life. Conscious movement helps us experiment with how to integrate meditative awareness into everyday life.

What makes movement “conscious”? Here are some everyday examples: Think about how you touch your lover, your child, your pet. Now think about how you touch the cereal box, the doorknob, the lightswitch.

The way we touch inanimate objects is usually fairly mechanical — we automatically gauge the weight of the object, applying the right amount of grip strength, but otherwise it is fairly automatic. But when we touch a living being, particularly one we love, there is often a “being present” and communication that occurs.

When we touch a living being to express affection, there is an aliveness and a presence is our hand. Our hand is no longer merely a mechanical grasping object, but rather a living extension of our heart-feelings.

When we are touching consciously, we feel as though there is a communication that is transmitted and received at the skin surfaces.

In conscious movement, our view of our body is similar to that of conscious touching. As we are moving our hands and arms in space, we are viewing our body as an extension of and expression of our inner feeling. When we stretch our arms up, we are not merely mechanically stretching muscles and tensions. We are opening from the center of our being and expressing that through the movement of our outstretched arms. We are projecting our intention from inside us, through our arms, out past our finger tips.

In conscious movement we are aware of our “subtle body” — the subjective experience of our body — and not just our visible physical body.
Our visible physical body stops at the skin, but our inner experience of our body can expand and shrink. Our subtle body, our sense of ourselves, can expand or contract, depending upon how open and connected we are.

The opening up of the body helps us maintain openness of awareness. The open mind and open heart find expression and embodiment in a certain attitude and carriage of the physical body. And vice-versa, the embodiment of openness and spaciousness in the physical body helps support an attitude of openness of heart and mind.

Physical contraction is generally associated with fear, replusion, cold. Expansion is associated with attraction, love, confidence, warmth. Excessive contraction leads to restrictions in the flow of breath and energy in the body. Conscious movement helps us become aware of contraction, expand, and soften restrictions.


Stare without blinking at something brightly lit — an exterior window, an electric light, a candle flame — now close your eyes and see the afterimage. Quickly the afterimage fades. Try to watch it until it totally fades. Even after you think it has faded see if you can maintain a trace of the image for a few seconds

Ring a bell. Stop. Listen to the vibrations slowly die down and subside. Listen to the sound get fainter and fainter, until it seems you cannot hear it anymore. Even after you think the sound has totally faded, see if you can maintain a trace of the sound in your mental ear for a few seconds.

Shake or vibrate some part of your body — your hand, your trunk, your head. Now gradually make that moment finer and finer, as fine as you can, until it is a slight tremor. Finer still until it is invisible from the outside. Finer still until it is just the memory of a movement inside. Maintain that sense of subtle inner movement for a few seconds.

Application of this exercise: When we are sitting in meditation we are training ourselves to become aware of very subtle sensations and experiences, as well as very gross and obvious ones. These exercises will help us tune into subtle sensations in our body, and subtle movements of our breath, emotions, mind.

FOR MORE CONSCIOUS MOVEMENT EXERCISES CLICK ON: http://hubpages.com/hub/Meditation-in-Action-Using-Conscious-Movement

Three Levels of Meditation

August 10, 2009