You can increase your awareness and become more present right now, with this wonderfully simple exercise from Eckhart Tolle.
The feel-your-hands exercise is my discovery of the year.
Can you feel your hands? (present-moment exercise)
Hold your hands away from your body, so they do not touch anything.
Close your eyes.
See if you can feel your hands, without looking at them or moving them.
(Once you can sense the energy in your hands strongly, you can move your attention to the feet and then the whole of what Tolle calls the “inner body”. Here he is talking about the exercise, with Oprah playing Devil’s Advocate. The video ends abruptly, but if you like what you hear, you can plunder his library of videos on YouTube – when you get a moment.)
Here’s an idea I had for a meditation practice you can try anywhere. If you have anything similar, please leave a comment. You never know what other people will find useful…
Enjoy the free climber meditation in the safety of your own home and city. Then all you risk is falling unconscious (again).
A bit of background
Many years ago, in a youth hostel in San Diego, I remember talking to someone about free climbing. He told me that free climbers are very intense people. Very grounded. Very much in tune with their surroundings. Which is hardly surprising, as a loss of concentration would almost certainly be fatal.
Here’s an article I found yesterday about free climber Dean Potter that talks about this in more detail.
A couple of weeks ago, I was talking to a climber from Chamonix about the same thing. He reminded me that free climbers focus completely on what is right in front of them, right now. And when they move, they move with their whole body, with great precision and efficiency. “Like a spider,” he said. (Which might be helpful.)
This gave me an idea for a meditation I’ve been enjoying since.
Now, the meditation
When you get a moment, as you go about your day, spend some time moving as if free climbing. As you move (for example, to reach for the pepper when cooking, or to walk across the room), feel your whole body working together to allow that movement. When you get distracted by your thoughts of the past or future – just come back to the present moment and be alert to everything going on around you right now. When you put down your coffee cup, for example, put it down deliberately. Exactly there.
Let me know how you get on. I found my walking became much more sure-footed, with a slightly longer stride.