Part of my deliberate practice is to spend time, perhaps only fifteen to twenty minutes, being wherever I may be without intention to do much at all. This may be in the park, on a train, indoors and I find can be especially interesting in a very busy place.
I develop this practice by noticing the travel of my attention and allowing myself to take a ride on it, surfing sensations inside and outside my physical body. As I ride this sensory landscape, I attempt to note, without judgement, the events drawing my attention, like noting the stations through which my train passes on its route. Allowing it to be an ‘attempt’ is important because I have found that noticing what I am attending to can often reveal many subtle and potentially distracting processes, including self-criticisms (e.g. ‘I shouldn’t be…’), evaluations (e.g. ‘it’s bad that…’) and narratives (e.g. ‘it’s because…’), all of which I like to notice but try not to dwell upon immediately.
Finally, I sense into my skin, lightly holding the awareness that my skin is the meeting place of what is ‘inner’ and what is ‘outer’, the embodiment of my boundary, being both my container for me and my container for everything other. Through sensing at my skin I can attend inwardly and outwardly, witnessing myself in the world and the relationship between: myself-in-the-world.
We can also, in some way, sense into the ‘skin’ in any of our senses, finding the meeting place of inner and outer through vision, hearing, smell, taste and proprioception – noticing how my perception is shaped by the outside and by the inside, deepening my embodiment.
Through this simple process of being in my skin I can find a balance of inner and outer, a sense of myself in a busy, sometimes overstimulating, world and comfort wherever I am.