THE BLOG

A Word About the Body (Actually More Than One Word)

02/06/2015 16:59 BST | Updated 02/06/2016 10:59 BST

The word mindfulness isn't helping itself, as it suggests the mind is separate from the body but the name bodyfulness would be even worse.

The brain doesn't end at the neck - it continues down the spinal cord and emanating from that are millions of miles of ventricles (enough to circle the world three times, I've been told) to carry blood and information to every one of your trillions of cells. There is no dividing line where you end and your body begins. They are symbiotically entwined. Your body isn't some 'onesy' you've thrown on for an afternoon nap and your brain isn't a brooch that your body pinned on as an accessory for evening wear; they are a unified system. Together, they are in constant communication interpreting feedback from the outside world and inside world, creating the reality you inhabit.

Forget about your nationality, religion, football team and star sign - these are 'lite' weight add-ons. Your true home is how your mind and body see, feel, smell, taste, hear and experience things.

Inside each one of us we are as different as the various universes are in the cosmos and we each could swear that our view is the correct one, the 'real' reality. This is probably why the human race is always at war, but that's a whole other book I'd need to write. So the mind is the body and the body the mind. If you went down a manhole and sat there in the dark, what's swarming around up there in your brain sums up whom you really are. I'm not saying don't think about redecorating your house but in the big scheme of things the rehaul won't make your experience of the world any different, even in a new chair.

To me the word mindfulness might imply that you're only seeing things through your mind, which could imply seeing things through your thoughts. This is the contrary of what mindfulness sets out to do; to help you step back and distance yourself from the thinking mind (please remember you only do that in the exercises or when you intentionally choose to in your everyday life otherwise you'd be as useful as a mushroom) and come into your senses. Your body is where you feel things, not think things.

So bringing attention to any part of your body gives the same sense of liberation as bringing your focus to sound, smell, taste, sight and touch. You are below thoughts free from their thorns when you're sensing any one of these. When you send focus to a feeling in your body (I don't mean by stroking it as you would a cat) but zooming in on a sense (called introspection) and not giving yourself a kicking if you don't like what you're feeling, then you're in a state of being mindful or simply being in a 'being' state of mind. By the way, we all have the ability to be introspective - it comes with the kit, you'll recognize it when you get a cramp in your foot or a zing in the chest from being dumped at the alter.

So there it is. I've invented bodyfulness but I don't think it's going to fly - so just stick with the mindfulness.

I'm on tour, talking to you about mindfulness, across the country this summer and autumn with my Sane New World Show. Details can be found at RubyWax.net.