As we come together this time, Dear Hearts, we’re going to talk about sensual practice. Sensual Practice is findingpresence amidst your six senses in movement throughout your day.
So let us say that you are planning to vacuum your house or your apartment. As you begin, you pull out your machine, hook up the parts, or you may start using a broom to sweep your house. In any event, this is a task that you’ve done again and again.
This chore is not something that you need to learn. This is not something that opens you to any sort of a dangerous situation. I’d like to confirm this with you because I want to be sure you are safe when you engage in Sensual Practice. You might be setting up your equipment to do your task. This task could be vacuuming. It could be hand washing. You could be loading a machine. You could be folding. You could be loading. Or ironing. Doing the dishes.
When you are in the midst of this activity, take the time to turn inside. Take a breath with an awareness that you are actually taking a breath. Maybe two breaths, maybe three breaths, take as many breaths as you’d like but pay attention to that breath you are taking. Paying attention to your breath will help you to turn your attention inside. You’re still moving, you’re still accomplishing this activity, but you’re turning inward. And with this breath you can begin to observe what is happening inside of you.
Observe yourself from the inside. Attend to all your senses. Perhaps it is the roundness of a tool in your hands. You may find softness in a cloth. Perhaps you find you are able to engage in an emotion. Turning inward, you are becoming awarethat you actually have an inside and that you have sensations, feelings and thoughts going on in here. Now. In the present. And they are changing. Be there to observe these changes.
How you are feeling at this moment? Are you feeling irritable? Are you feeling pressured? Just noticing, no judgment here. Perhaps you’re encountering a feeling of profound safety and gratitude. Perhaps not.
Just being with this feeling you are feeling now – whatever it is. Just allowing this feeling to know that you know this feeling is here. There is a togetherness in this knowing. Keep breathing with the movements as your task is happening. You may be walking, bending, squatting, standing. There may be water running over your hands. As this water runs, note the feeling, the temperature. Perhaps there is soap. In sensual practice we attend to the experience using our six senses. What color is this soap? Is there a scent? How does it feel in your hands?
Slow down (no one else is aware that you are doing this) and draw your attention to the inside of you as you do your task. This job – whatever you are doing – is not something you have to ‘get over’. This is not something that has to be done in a rush because there’s something else – right now! – that needs to happen. You are moving just fine. You have done this task many, many times before. You could do this in your sleep but this time you are wide awake.
You are in the moment of what is happening now. Simply being aware of what is happening now. You may be driving a car. Feeling the wheel within your hands. There may be little divots in the wheel to accommodate your fingers. You may become aware of all the many, many, men and women whose time and effort went into building this wheel. This car. That bike you are now pedaling as you become aware of the circular motion of your legs. You are breathing with thesemotions, breathing in, breathing out, being aware of the texture of your breath as it comes in and goes out.
The pace and texture of your breath may be changing with your body position. You may be on a carpet. You can feel a different sensation with this carpet. What does this sensation feel like? Where do you feel this sensation? Is there a feeling or an emotion that comes up with the sensation? How about a narrative? What are you thinking when you become aware of the sensation of the carpet? Just notice – that is all.
Perhaps you can feel the carpet under your feet from the inside. Perhaps you are noticing your heart from the inside. Where is your heart at this moment. Is it in your chest? Is it in your throat? Perhaps you feel something in your belly. Being with this sensation as you continue moving through your task. Understanding you do indeed have a belly. A heart. Noticing how your body feels in movement.
Perhaps there’s a way you can move through space more comfortably using this awareness. A way that you can move accomplish your tasks with a greater sense of ease. Moving through your daily tasks, perhaps you are finding a reservoir of presence within you that supports your engagement with these tasks, that enables you to do these tasks and to feelgratitude that there are indeed any tasks to be done at all. This is your time to care for these material things that care for you.
Through the medium of these tasks and amidst this material world in which we find ourselves, we are able to do these tasks in order to care for others as well as for ourselves, for loved ones, and for the planet.
Errands. Gardening. Gardening in the earth, gardening with pots: the potted plants you keep and care for. Feeling and understanding and bringing awareness to the interconnectivity; the web of tasks that join all of us together on this planet as human beings. And how – as we receive tasks, we also give tasks. Others receive tasks and give tasks to others. We are all in constant flux of giving and receiving these tasks that you are doing right now.
Taking in. Giving back. Giving out and taking in. Finding yourself in the web of being in this One. Simple. Task.