BV-Metta Guided Body Scan

For tonight’s brahma vihara practice, I will guide us through a metta body scan that I learned from Trudy Goodman. She credits a Sri Lankan monk at Insight Meditation Society for teaching it to her. This practice of bringing appreciative attention to each part of the body is an antidote to our tendency to objectify and judge our bodies.

As the First Foundation of Mindfulness, the body constantly expresses our life force through variations in breathing, temperature, pressure and vibration. When we connect directly to any one of these aspects with bare attention, we can let go of associated preferences and stories.

The instructions for this metta body scan may seem simple and childish, but the practice is a very effective. It combines mindfulness and loving kindness.

Sit comfortably and close your eyes.

I will say some simple phrases that you can repeat to yourself.

Breathe in and out, relaxing any tension.

Again, breathe in and out, relaxing more fully.

Bring attention to the top of the head and offer well wishes.
May my head be relaxed and happy—including the scalp and face—jaw, mouth, cheeks, nose, eyes, eyebrows, ears, forehead.

May my whole head be happy and at ease.

Gently shifting attention to the neck.

May my neck—front, back, and sides—be relaxed and happy.

May my throat be nourished and feel at ease.

Let attention move to the shoulders.

Sense the left and right shoulders.

May my shoulders let go and relax.

May my shoulders be happy and tension free.

Gently shift attention to the left arm.

May my whole left arm relax.

May the left upper arm, elbow, forearm and wrist be at ease.

Now may my whole right arm relax. and be at ease.

May the right upper arm, elbow, forearm, and wrist be at ease.

May both arms be happy.

Moving attention to the hands.

May my hands be happy and at peace.

May the fingers, palms, and backs of each hand relax.

May both hands be at ease.

Now sense the arms, wrists, and hands completely relaxed, resting at ease.

Bringing attention to the spine and the upper, middle, and lower back.

May my whole back and spine be well and strong.

May my back be happy and at ease.

Bring attention to the chest and the whole front of the body.

May my chest be happy, open, and relaxed.

May my belly and abdomen relax and release any pent-up emotions….

Internally, may my reproductive and digestive organs be at ease.

Gently shifting attention to the bottom, literally the seat of consciousness.

May my whole bottom, buttocks and sitz bones be happy and at ease.

May my genitals be content, relaxed and peaceful.

Expanding attention to the hips.

May my hips be happy, relaxed, and free from judgment.

May my thighs be relaxed, at ease, and free from judgment.

Moving attention down to the complex joints of the knees,

May my knees be healthy, flexible, and happy.

Now sensing the lower legs, including the calves, shins, and ankles.

May my lower legs be happy and well.

Bring attention to the feet, with gratitude for their support and mobility.

May my feet be relaxed.

On the left side, may I appreciate the sole, heel, arch, ball of the foot, toes, and top of the foot. On the right side, may I appreciate the sole, heel, arch, ball of the foot, toes, and top of the foot.

May both feet be happy and at ease.

Let loving awareness suffuse the whole body from the feet moving up through the legs, the core, the front, the back, the hands, arms, shoulders, neck, and head.

Scan the body from head to toe, loving this body just as it is.

The body can feel a sense of coming home.

Rest in feeling appreciation and gratitude for the aliveness of this body.