More on Physical

            I want to talk more about the body. We have spent lots of time talking about how the deep breathing helps the body to relax and how your body can feel peaceful and serene when you are Centered. When you have a thought and feeling, your body always responds to that experience. In the early years of human development, if the mind was peaceful, the body would be peaceful. If the mind was creating stress, the body would be in stress mode. Later in our development, we discovered over time that the human race spends so much time in stress mode that the body physically holds on to that stress like a bad habit. Everyone does it to differing degrees. That means when you’re peaceful in thought and feeling, your body is not necessarily peaceful depending on how stressed you have been in your life. For complicated reasons, your body doesn’t always wait on your thoughts and feelings to have a response. It creates a response on its’ own. We have, for instance, referred to it as anxiety or panic coming out of the blue. You say, “I was doing fine and all of a sudden out of blue, I started feeling nervous or anxious or had trouble breathing.” My point is that what’s going on in your body can also be complicated.

            I want you to become more aware of how your body responds to what you’re thinking and feeling. I also want you to know that it’s not black or white. All of us are holding some stress in our body so even when you feel peaceful, your body is still holding on to some tension. We have already covered how deep breathing can help relax your body. Over a period of time as you continue your training to become an expert in the use of deep breathing, it will have a big impact on your ability to relax your body. Remember back to some of our meditations where I have talked about feeling your body relax. Close your eyes now and go to Center. Take about ten deep breaths…feel the relaxation and recall what it felt like in previous meditations. Check your body from head to toe. Take a few more deep breaths. Open your eyes. At this point in your training, you should be feeling some physical relaxation?”

            Anger and sometimes rage can be prevalent in soldiers returning from combat. I want you to close your eyes and go back in time and pull up a situation where you were angry. I’ll give you a few moments. Pause. Okay, get into the experience and feel the anger and go through the story or encounter. Feel the anger. Now ask what it feels like in your body. Take some time to explore how your body feels and where you feel it. Open your eyes. (Group Discussion).
            There are various physical responses to anger. Clinching teeth, body shakes, sweating, weak legs, muscle tension, balled up fists, increased adrenalin, body ready to explode, trouble breathing, chest pain, head throbbing, turning red, racing heart, yelling and screaming to name a few.

            I want you to become more aware of how your body responds to your thoughts, feelings, and experiences. I want you to remember how helpful deep breathing can be with all your physical symptoms. Put those two thoughts together and that can be extremely useful. As you learn to reduce the intensity of your physical symptoms, you can more easily make that shift to Center.

Listen to CM17



            From here on, I’ll be asking you to pay more attention to your body. Keep picking up the books.

Let’s talk more about anger. If you respond to someone or something by creating anger, you know that Focker is on the scene. If you’re caught off guard, you may give someone the ‘bird’ or get in an argument before you can get Centered. Remember “Attention Training.” The goal is to pay attention and interrupt Focker’s old patterns. As you become more skilled and have had more time to practice, you will notice that you are creating a Centered pattern when faced with some situations and you don’t have to pay as much attention as in the past.

            I want to go back to the anger exercise you did a few minutes ago. Close your eyes and go back to that experience where you created anger. Experience it and feel it. While you are doing that, listen to what Focker is saying and also pay attention to what that anger feels like in your body. Now I want you to step outside and observe or witness this experience from your Center and now open your eyes.

            I asked you to step outside the experience and observe it from your Center to remind you this can a helpful technique to use when you reflect on the experience. We’ve done this several times and most of you said when observing the experience, the anger or stress was less. Now that you observe it from Center, it can be even more helpful.

            Let’s say between two tours in Iraq, you were stationed at Fort Benning and had a two week leave to go home. You were in a bar in town and met up with some high school buddies and they kept calling you, “soldier boy.” You were laughing and having fun and all of a sudden you realized you would be back in hell in a few months and they would continue on with their lives enjoying the freedoms you were suppose to be fighting for. Focker was starting to get pissed off and about that time your sister came to pick you up to go to a family outing.

            I want each of you to imagine that last night you went through the same experience and that you plan to go to the same bar tonight and the same group will probably be there. Your goal is to stay Centered and Focker’s goal is to kick some ass.

            How will you handle the situation? I’m going to give you a step-by-step process. It will probably seem long. When you become skilled at doing this exercise, it can take only seconds or a minute or so, sometimes a little longer depending on the situation. Remember again, you are in training to run a marathon and it’s going to take some time.

            After breakfast the next morning, you know you will be going back to the bar and your goal is to stay Centered. You do the following exercise step by step.