It occurred to me that I have done very little reading in contemporary philosophical thinking and to that end I availed myself of the trusty online catalog of my local library to see what was out there that might introduce me to new ideas or new spins on old ideas if you are of the school, ” there is nothing new under the sun”.
First up is Phillip Shepherd’s “New Self New World, Recovering our Senses in the Twenty-First Century”. Having only worked my way through the Forward by Andrew Harvey and the Introduction and first chapter by the author, this is not a book review by any means. If I am following correctly the main concept is to seek wholeness, within ourselves and with our connections with the outer world. In order to accomplish this he believes that it comes through the work of the body, that we need to “get out of our heads”.
As much as the word mindfulness sounds like a “head” word it is very much a body word. Learning to pay attention to one’s body can give a volume of information that helps identify placement in the present space and time. Chosing to pay attention to the sensory input and the bodily response to it is a step on the road the wholeness. The fully integrated self, in tune and in harmony with the inner and outer world, especially the physical senses, gravitates to wholeness. It is the center of all life to seek completion of the whole, reproduction, the yin and yang, to and fro. No joy comes without knowing sorrow, no honest tears flow without having laughed with abandon.
The exercises from https://cathrinemclaren.com/2012/03/06/loose-ends/ of H.A.L.T. and S.I.F.T. are a great way to get in touch with where one is in the moment. It can be used as it is in Loose Ends, to identify the cause for emotional eating; but it has far broader applications in the practice of mindfulness. When lost in one’s head it is easy to ignore the basics; often something as simple as addressing physical fatigue or hunger can transport one from sorrow and frustration to a more realistic view of the issue at hand. Continuing to practice mindfulness as a strategy for getting out of one’s thoughts and moving towards body awareness begins the unification process of wholeness.