How Wonderful It Is to Have a Body by Jon Kabat-Zinn

Website by Jazz Andrews

My name's Jazz, I'm a human just like you. Alive for a brief flash in this incredible universe.

July 27, 2023

Many adults feel deep down that their body is either too fat or too short or too tall or too old or too “ugly,” as if there were some perfect way that it should be. Sad to say, we may never feel completely comfortable with the way our body is, never completely at home in it. This may give rise to problems with touching and with being touched and therefore with intimacy. And as we get older, this malaise may be compounded by the awareness that our body is aging, that it is inexorably losing its youthful appearance and qualities.

Any deep feelings of this kind that you might have about your body can’t change until the way you actually experience your body changes. These feelings stem from a restricted way of looking at your body in the first place. Our thoughts about our body can limit drastically the range of feelings we allow ourselves to experience.

When we put energy into actually experiencing our body and we refuse to get caught up in the overlay of judgmental thinking about it, our whole view of it and of ourself can change dramatically. To begin with, what it does is remarkable! It can walk and talk and sit up and reach for things; it can judge distance and digest food and know things through touch. Usually we take these abilities completely for granted and don’t appreciate what our bodies can actually do until we are injured or sick. Then we realize how nice it was when we could do the things we can’t do anymore.

So before we convince ourselves that our bodies are too this or too that, shouldn’t we get more in touch with how wonderful it is to have a body in the first place, no matter what it looks or feels like?

The way to do this is to tune in to your body and be mindful of it without judging it. You have already begun this process by becoming mindful of your breathing in the sitting meditation. When you place your attention in your belly and you feel the belly moving, or you place it at the nostrils and you feel the air passing in and out, you are tuning in to the sensations your body generates associated with life itself. We usually tune out these sensations because they are so familiar. When you tune in to them, you are reclaiming your life in that very moment, and your body as well, making yourself more real and more alive. You are living your life in real time as it unfolds, moment by moment in awareness. You are present for it and with it and in it. Your experience is embodied.

Jon Kabat-Zinn, Full Catastrophe Living

Quote Source

This quote is from Jon’s book Full Catastrophe Living, in the chapter ‘Being In The Body: Body Scan Meditation’.


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