FEELING THE INNER BODY
Although body identification is one of the most basic forms of ego, the good news is that it is also the one that you can most easily go beyond. This is done not by trying to convince yourself that you are not your body, but by shifting your attention from the external form of your body and from thoughts about your body – beautiful, ugly, strong, weak, too fat, too thin – to the feeling of aliveness inside it.
No matter what your body’s appearance is on the outer level, beyond the outer form it is an intensely alive energy field. If you are not familiar with “inner body” awareness, close your eyes for a moment and find out if there is life inside your hands. Don’t ask your mind. It will say, “ I can’t feel anything.” Probably it will also say, “Give me something more interesting to think about.” So instead of asking your mind, go to the hands directly. By this I mean become aware of the subtle feeling of aliveness inside them. It is there. You just have to go there with your attention to notice it. You may get a slight tingling sensation at first, then a feeling of energy or aliveness. If you hold your attention in your hands for a while, the sense of aliveness will intensify. Some people won’t even have to close their eyes. They will be able to feel their “inner hands” at the same times as they read this. Then go to your feet, keep your attention there for a minute or so, and begin to feel your hands and feet at the same time. Then incorporate other parts of the body – legs, arms, abdomen, chest, and so on – into that feeling until you are aware of the inner body as a global sense of aliveness. What I call the “inner body” isn’t really the body anymore but life energy, the bridge between form and formlessness.
Make it a habit to feel the inner body as often as you can. After a while, you won’t need to close your eyes anymore to feel it. For example, see if you can feel the inner body whenever you listen to someone. It almost seems like a paradox: When you are in touch with the inner body, you are not identified with your body anymore, nor are you identified with your mind. This is to say, you are no longer identified with form but moving away from form identification toward formlessness, which we may also call Being. It is your essence identity. Body awareness not only anchors you in the present moment, it is a doorway out of the prison that is the ego. It also strengthens the immune system and the body’s ability to heal itself.
from ‘A New Earth’ ~ Eckhart Tolle