“If your body is a living temple, you are inside that temple,” Donna Varnau said near the end of our guided meditation.
I rested in my body-temple with deep gratitude.
The belief that God is incarnate in all things is foundational to contemplative living. I taste God in the Eucharist, hear God in birdsong, see God in budding flowers, smell God in the rain, and touch God when I hold my grandson’s hand. St. Patrick’s prayer reminds me that Christ is in the heart of everything and everyone–including me. My body is a sanctuary God always inhabits, and I can return there to experience God in me living from my whole self.
I have known that metaphorically and now, in this class on Focusing taught by Donna, I am learning to experience it physically. I am learning to bring my attention back and down in my body, breathe and feel myself inside my feet, my thighs, and all the way up to my head and down to my heart and belly. Then I invite whatever it is there that wants my attention.
One time when I practiced attuning to full body presence with a classmate, I felt a slight clenching in my stomach. As my companion reflected back what I was feeling, I was able to stay present to that felt sense and follow how it was moving and changing, what it wanted me to notice, and how God in my body was welcoming and loving something in me.
Tears came as a painful memory returned. I named a fear: if I let go of my hypervigilant mind I might forget something or someone and the consequences could be drastic. As I stayed present to this fear, an image came to mind that a directee had shared.
He saw himself holding onto a high bar for dear life, afraid that if he let go he would fall. Jesus was there beside him gently saying, “You can let go.” He looked down and his feet were on the ground!
I sensed how my body felt as I thought of my feet on the ground and letting go of my hypervigilance. My shoulders relaxed, and my chest expanded.
Something in me was still afraid to let go and yet something bigger was also in me. This presence had the confidence of Jesus. It embraced my fear and allowed me to trust God and trust my body. Both are safe and sacred.
Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit,
who is in you, whom you have received from God?
–1 Corinthians 6:19 (NIV)
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Dancers are joining in the porch-front jingle dress craze to share healing and joy. Skye, from the Navajo Nation in Arizona, wanted to be part of the movement during the pandemic and dance her prayer for everyone.