2021-06-22-Mindfulness of the Body (2 of 5) Clear Comprehnsion of Activities
9:51PM Jun 22, 2021
So, I continue today with some of the teachings from the foundational mindfulness teachings of the Buddha from them discourse of the four foundations of mindfulness. It begins with a very strong emphasis on mindfulness of the body. And we know that from other teachings of the Buddha that seems pretty foundational to him, the practice of being connected and aware of the body. And, in fact, there are strong statements he makes about, there is no variance of awakening, without mindfulness of the body. So this I like to read the next exercise that in this discourse, on mindfulness of the body, and it goes like this. And approximately like this, I paraphrase slightly. Instead of monastics I translate, render it as a practitioners, practitioner as one who acts in clear comprehension. When moving forward, going forward and returning, who acts with clear comprehension, when looking ahead and looking away, who acts with clear comprehension when flexing and extending one's limbs, who acts in clear comprehension, when we're in close, and carrying one's outer robe, and bowl, carrying once plates and dishes and whatever one needs. who acts in clear comprehension when eating, drinking, consuming food and tasting, who acts in clear comprehension when defecating and urinating, who acts in full and clear comprehension, when walking, standing, sitting, falling asleep, waking up, talking, and keeping silent. So here, there's many of the ordinary activities of daily life, looking, looking in one way or the other. There is walking sitting, there is moving our limbs and legs and feet, lifting and stretching and whatever way what you're doing with our arms, we clearly comprehend what we're doing, like I lifting my hand now to make the point and clearly comprehending that my hand goes up, and I'm making my point. With an Italian gesture that I learned with growing up in Italy, the fingers coming together. And the and when going to the bathroom, when clearly comprehends when is present than therefore it and this a clear comprehension is a very important term. It means it's the word of some pajasa. Some people try to say it in different ways. But I like clear comprehension that they punch it at the root of the verb is to know our comprehend. And and there's a kind of an emphatic prefix to really know. So I like the word clear, to clear comprehension. And rather than clear knowing, because knowing maybe implies little bit, something more simple, whereas comprehension is a richer and meaning. And in fact, the commentaries suggest that clear comprehend clear this clear comprehension means to clearly understand the purpose. Why would you be doing something so it's a purposeful life, to clearly comprehend the suitability of what we're doing, the appropriateness, the timeliness of what we're doing that we're living a purposeful and life that is suitable for the circumstances. So we're living appropriately, there's kind of appropriate response to the situations. But doing it with some sense of purpose, not casually, not barreling ahead, habits of mind, but having a sense of what is valuable to do where and how to do it. That it also means to be to understand the pasture
of what we're doing the pasture means where we get our nourishment where we get our nourishment from as we are present for things That's explained, being present with mindfulness in our direct experience of body feelings mind. And Dharma is the four foundations of mindfulness. And there's so many different places our minds can be. And we know the mind stream that we live in, can be, often take us away and distractions and fantasy, get us swept up in irritation, complaining, critical illness, fear, anxiety, ruminations of all kinds, thing lost in the past, planning and anticipating the future. And some of that mindstream is wonderful and appropriate to do and part of the pleasure of life. And but oftentimes it can be not really so nourishing and supportive for us. And so to live a purposeful life, a life that's appropriate for the circumstance, and one that we feel like this is beneficial, this is nourishing, supportive for me. And for others, to be present and clearly aware of what we're doing, as we're doing it is beneficial for the world. Because we don't have that clear comprehension. That's when the old habits, some of the unhealthy motivations and purposes we have a can, can be, you know, take over. And sometimes we say what we regret, we do what we later feel sorry, we did. And we feel, maybe we act in ways that is stressful through the day, and we get tired and exhausted by the day by the stress of what we're doing. So what's the I think wonderful about this, instructions on clear comprehension of x, sometimes called clear comprehension of activities, all the simple ordinary activities for daily life, that all of us are doing all the time is to is that it takes the mindfulness practice off the cushion of meditation is not only about meditating, there's a there's a non separation, there's a holistic quality, to how mindfulness is practice, that it's really involves our whole life, all the activities that we do, and, and in in all the activities of life. And in meditation, that there's the growth and growing of mindfulness growing a practice. And over time, we learn more and more how this practice can be nourishing and supportive, moment by moment, the way that being mindful, being aware, just feels better than the alternative of the mind stream is getting involved in reactivity. And that it feels healthy and satisfying to be way of being here and present. And in order to have that satisfaction, it really helps that we know how to be grounded in the body. And so the awareness can flow through the body and be aware in a way that's not colored, influenced by the stressful way of thinking, the the unhelpful ways of thinking and the unhelpful attitudes we have. We learn healthy attitudes, we learn supportive ways of thinking and being in the world. Not in a way that's denying everything and putting up blinders. But actually, it's the opposite. It's the ability to be present, with an open way to it all, the more we can ground ourselves in the color comprehension, the more we really appreciate the opportunity to be aware of all the different things that are going on, including what's difficult, including what's difficult about ourselves, and including what's challenging in the world. And we do it grounded and settled and open in a clear way. And so this is a training or practice to do this. And so for some of us, it's we learned begin learning this in meditation. And then the great thing is to be able to take what we're learning here and begin applying it in the ordinariness of our daily life. And having these ordinary activities daily life not be done unconsciously, or an automatic pilot, but be the training ground or supportive ground for living a spiritual life. To use language maybe that they don't use a lot but to do it, maybe in the wonderful in a way that's
evocative or captivating for you or gets your attention. To live a life that's in all the little details of everyday life is sacred. And so to see, to experience, to the sacred, in, going forward and returning, participating in a sacred way with looking ahead and looking away, to experience the sacred, in bending and extending one's limbs, to really feel the sacrament, of putting on clothes, wearing them, carrying things that we carry with our hands, to feel the sacredness of the attention, the presence, the engagement, in eating, drinking, tasting, to discover the sacredness of all the different aspects of our life as we live it that moves through us this way in which the live stream for evolutionary times come down through us and created all the different ways that we have to be we have to live in order to sustain our life, including defecating and urinating, and to feel the sacredness, the specialist and nourishment of walking, standing, sitting, falling asleep, waking up, talking and keeping silent. All of them all these ordinary activities that all of us are involved in every day, much of the day, that here is where we discover this valuable stream of life activity that is maybe better than some of the alternatives of the mental mind streams, streams of attitudes and, and preoccupations that is so, so easy to fall into. May you really discover and value your ordinary activities as a place to cultivate a sacred life of freedom, generosity, and love, and nourishment. So maybe for this next 24 hours, that you can now maybe explore how bringing attention to all the little activities of life, the little and big activities of what you're doing, how that can be nourishing for you and appropriate for you and how to do them with a sense of purpose and appropriateness. And, and may you be delighted by the opportunity to do this. So thank you all very much.