Bodily Knowing

St. Francis objectively experienced mutual indwelling with Jesus and with all of God’s creatures. We see this most clearly late in his life when the cruciform shape of reality became the very shape of Francis’ body. He received the marks of the five wounds of Christ (this is historically documented from many sources). Francis learned the message, price, and glory of love in the very cells of his body. Full knowing is always psychosomatic knowing, and Francis seems to exemplify someone who fully absorbed the Gospel with his entire being, not just with his head. This is kinesthetic knowing and full body believing.

Take a few minutes to quietly observe and be present to your body. Sitting upright with legs uncrossed and eyes closed, bring your attention to your left knee. Lightly scratch the knee with your fingernails. Focus on the tingling sensation that lingers. Forget about the rest of your body and focus entirely on your knee, feeling it move, touching its outline. Acknowledge distracting thoughts as they arise and then let them go, returning to awareness of your knee.

Repeat this practice with other parts of your body, wordlessly witnessing your body’s sensations and contours. Gradually let the tingling flow without controlling it; simply follow your awareness at its own pace and wherever it leads, trusting God’s presence within.