& the body
Our culture fosters a peculiar relationship with the body.
On one hand we are bombarded with messages that suggest our body is a trophy-thing to be jogged, crunched, and sculpted -- all in the interest of achieving and conforming to a "perfect", "beautiful", or "idealized" form. Such messaging implies that happiness and self-worth are directly related to our ability to control our physical appearance.
These messages, of course, leave the vast majority of the people feeling either insecure about their own bodies or chasing after a sense of lasting fulfillment and worth that never arrives.
Another peculiar aspect of this relationship is that many of us live 'above the neck', which is to say that our attention is habitually tuned in to the content and stories of thoughts as they occur. Thoughts are mis-taken for commands, mis-taken for 'musts'. We feel compelled to 'do' and keeping on doing. Yet the body has its own intelligence, and while it communicates in sensations as opposed to words, the information is has to convey is no less important. Conversely, what the body has to "say" is vastly more intricate and nuanced than the thinking mind could begin to offer or comprehend.
In this way we are paradoxically obsessed with and disconnected from our body.
Mindfulness allows us to intentionally shift our attention 'below the neck', reconnecting with our body. Doing so opens us to a different way of 'knowing', 'seeing', and being. Further, the mindful body scan is a powerful practice for rooting ourselves in the present moment while releasing stress & tension.