Body Scan, Visualisation

Outer Body Scan


I have this recurring experience in meditation from time to time, where I find myself detached from my body, sitting up in the crook of the moon. One leg’s dangling down, the other one’s bent and I’m just kicking back looking down on tiny little me from millions of miles away.

It’s a meditation that must come when I’m in need of some perspective. Perspective on how unimportant my personal newsreel is – the work dramas, the family issues, and whatever other salacious story is jostling for my mental airtime.

If you, too, find it hard to get outside your own head, try this visualisation meditation for some peace, perspective and clarity.

I call it an outer body scan.

Enjoy xx

Sometimes it can be hard to get outside our heads.

The thoughts turn to stories, then into full on mind-movies, seeming all too big and all too real.

Which is why it’s useful to take a deliberate break from the drama, get out of our heads, out of our bodies, and take a wider perspective of ourselves and our lives.

Just for a moment, think about your entire life so far – what can you remember?

And now think about your entire life to come. What will you remember?

A handful of challenges that you overcame to see the day, but above all else, those who we loved and those who loved us.

It certainly won’t be what the monkey-mind serves us up day-in, day-out.

And when we consider this experience the same for every other human on the planet we realise we’re not alone after all, which can bring incredible comfort… to help us get through life’s challenges and face our fears with courage.

This meditation helps us gain that perspective, a technique we can try when we’re stuck in our heads with the same sad song looping round and round.


Let’s begin. Bring your attention to your heart. Take a deep breath all the way in to your chest, let it swirl around before exhaling fully and deeply.

Now breath in and allow the breath to spread out across your collar bones, hugging your shoulders… before letting it all out slowly and fully.

Now inhale to the top of your neck, allowing the breath to envelope your throat… and your chin… before breathing out slowly and deeply.

Next breath in through your nose, swirling it around your cheekbones, filling up your eye sockets and then letting it all out in a peaceful exhalation.

Now think about your forehead. Let the in-breath fill up the area, spreading it across the entire surface and all around the back of your head.

It’s time now to leave your body entirely. Rest your attention on top of your head, nestled among the hair or on top of the skin.

As you retract further back, see yourself sitting here, your entire body in one view, meditating here in peace, on your chair, or on your cushion.

If you’re sitting inside, let’s now leave the room – keep your eye on your body but take a wider view of yourself, in context of that space, from above the building.

Let’s zoom out again. Imagine looking down at yourself relative to the whole of your suburb, or town. All the people in all the houses and in their cars, going about their days or evenings, thinking all their thoughts, facing all their challenges. We’re all in this together.

We can zoom out even further to imagine the whole of the city… the whole of the state… the entire country… the entire planet.

Just sitting up there in the crook of the moon… looking down on your body: a tiny little spec among an infinite number of tiny specs that make up this world, this universe, this life.

How does it feel to have some space between you and your body? You and your story?

For the remainder of the meditation, if you’re enjoying this technique, you can continue focusing your view on this wider perspective or zoom right in to where we began, back to the heart, and see which one brings you more contentment.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *