Body Scan

Sometimes you just know you are “off”.  There’s something not settling quite right, your thoughts float to negative more than they should and maybe even physically things are just a little achy or tired.  I am a firm believer in the idea that our negative thoughts and emotions come out in physical maladies.  So when I’m feeling “off” I like to do a mediation where I scan over my body and see what’s going on.


Definition:  scan (verb) skæn  1.  Examine something in detail; to subject something to a thorough examination.  2.  Look through something quickly; to look through or read something quickly.  3.  Obtain image of body; to obtain an image of internal organs with any of various devices, especially in order to make a diagnosis without the need for exploratory surgery.  4.  Examine something with beam of light; to direct a light sensitive device over a surface in order to convert an image into digital or electronic form for further storage, retrieval, and transmission.  5.  Examine stored data; to make an automatic search of a computer storage medium such as a magnetic disk or tape for data in anticipation of retrieving that data.


There are some great guided body scan meditations.  I like the meditation app offered on, which has, in fact, a meditation called “body scan”.  Doing a body scan is exactly what is described in the first definition; it’s taking a close examination of what is going on in your body.  Quieting the mind and thinking deeply about each little part of our body can reveal a lot about how we carry stress, worry and other negative thoughts around with us physically.

So this week, I was feeling “off”.  I was getting irritable and found my mind wandering back to issues and circumstances that happened years ago and invoked a negative outcome.  These were not pleasant things and involved people that are no longer actively involved with my life.  Just remembering these circumstances made me upset and I would stop myself several times this past week and wonder why on earth I would be reminding myself of something so uncomfortable.

I decided to do the body scan meditation and check out what was going on physically.

My jaw was hurting a lot.  I do have issues with Temporal Mandibular Joint Disorder (TMJ) like thousands of other people, but I hadn’t noticed how inflamed it was and how I was carrying more tension that usual in my jaw until I did the meditation.  Then I went to work out with my trainer at the health club and realized that as I exercised, again, I was clenching my jaw when working out muscles in my upper body, especially my shoulders and back.

The next time I sat down to meditate, I asked God to pull together those physical issues and my weird memories of past negative circumstances.  It was there, with God that I could recognize that everything I was remembering had to do with situations where I felt I wasn’t being heard or my best interest was not looked after by someone I trusted.  Then I examined what I was going through this past week and saw some similar patterns.  I was literally holding my tongue or not expressing my true feelings and causing my jaw to tense up.

It all made sense.  Physically and mentally I was gearing up for a repeat performance of the past.  I can’t tell you how empowering this was for me this week.  I was able to connect the physical and mental and let God’s spiritual presence come in and make that scan with me.  I felt like I could recognize where God was trying to intervene and I where was putting up barriers to that intervention.   Although, the recognition is half the battle, if felt like this week was an absolute breath of fresh air.

Have you ever recognized something going on with you physically that corresponded to a spiritual need for healing?  I’d love to hear about it!

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