2021-12-07-Calmness (2 of 5) Supporting and Being Supported by Bodily Calm
4:20PM Dec 7, 2021
So in the topic of calmness, Buddhist Buddhism puts a lot of emphasis on a tranquil tranquility of the body. In fact, the word that's often translated as tranquility is most often in the ancient texts associated with the body, the body becomes tranquil. I think of it as a soft stillness that has a feeling of clarity in it, the body starts becoming feeling clear. So it's not calmness where that's soporific, or kind of a kind of, kind of letting go and luxuriating in some kind of inaction. It's a tranquility that feels vital, feels clear. Maybe even kind of now, like the word clear. If you there's an ancient analogy, having to do with water, that in running water, it's not often that surface is so agitated or so rippling and wavy, that you cannot see through the water into the bottom of the river or the lake. But in You also cannot get a reflection of yourself. But if the water is still or are flowing very, very harmoniously and quietly and almost you can't even see it flow. You can see through it to what's below. And you might also see your reflection of yourself and the surface. So that analogy is used for the value of tranquility, calmness, that it's hard to see the world accurately when were agitated. And it's hard to see ourselves accurately when we're agitated. But that if we could have some modicum of calmness, the minimum calmness needed is the calmness that knows that we're agitated, really knows, oh, I'm agitated. I'm tense, I'm stressed out. That's the beginning and then to begin. But then as the calmness, greater calmness sets in, then we start seeing more clearly. And this is one of their great functions for calmness is not to calmness for his own sake, but calmness, it's sets that sets the ground for deeper states of clarity, stability, and wisdom. So today's topic is physical calmness, that the mind and body are closely related in some sense, they're maybe not two distinct from each other, they have a very powerful relationship between them, they kind of work in tandem or together and how one is affects the other. And if we are agitated in the mind and jumping around, distracted jumping between one thought and another, racing ahead in their minds trying to, you know, a crowded traffic jam of thoughts for all the things we have to do or trying to solve or trying to fix or something that has an impact on the body, then you can see the energy of that kind of vegetation can can be in the fingers and you know, kind of tapping our fingers, playing with our fingers. Kind of two fingers of two hands kind of coming together and kind of rubbing each other. It can affect our, how we stand and our posture, we can get the posture can get tense or tight or contracted or
somehow in misaligned. It can affect what we do with our feet and like receding down the feet begins swinging a lot or tapping a lot. And, and it's like all these are kind of an expression of this inner agitation that might be there. But the posture is something we have more control over. We have if we pay attention to the posture, we can adjust the posture and what the physical activities of the body it's possible to stop swinging the legs or tapping the legs it's possible to stop playing with the fingers. It's possible to have Have the arms relaxed in such a way that the elbows are kind of just kind of flapping loosely on the side of the body, they're not tense or tight. And it's possible to sit upright or stand upright, in a balanced posture. tendency is when we're agitated, we kind of lose the balanced posture. And, and then once we start finding, a physical posture that has, expresses or holds, still holds tranquil, that becomes a mirror of for the, the agitation that's going on the state of the mind, that we have. So and that's this is considered good in Buddhism, that you start seeing what's actually happening. Rather than having the agitation come back compelling you to move or shake, or agitate or fidget or something, we're beginning to kind of take our, our, take our life back to ourselves. And and we begin feeding began supporting the calm body, this idea that we have a calm body that's available to us, it's sometimes it might be called a spiritual body, or a, a deep body, the deep body that we have. And so the calm body is something that we need to feed or support. And it's one of the great assets that we have, because of how much clarity it provides how much reference point it provides for understanding what's going on how much it clears the, the, the the inner eyes in a sense, so that we see what's happening rather than being pushed around by what's happening within. So you know, we have, as I said, we have some control over our bodies, and not the inner physiology of the body, but the posture, the activities that bodies engaged in. And so if we're too distracted, to know what we're doing with our fingers, when we're fidgeting with our fingers, then chances are, that that level of distraction is limiting your wisdom live limiting your intelligence, limiting your creativity, limiting your ability to see clearly. And so to use your fingers fidgeting as a mindfulness spell, as a reminder, oh, I'm not supporting now, or feeding or nourishing, the what's most wise and what's most kind, what's most supportive for this body in mind. Let me see what I can do to support the calm body. Not so you can go around to completely calm but so that you're calm enough that you're you're not being controlled by agitation by anxiety, by desires, compelled to keep moving and compelled to react and, and are compelled just to be distracted and caught up in thoughts and ideas. So to become more attuned to your body, and in particular, how the body is agitated. And how you have some ability to not act on that agitation, but rather, hold the body quiet, let the posture be calm.
Let the posture be kind of like a loving container that holds the agitation. I like it a little bit to a small kid on the nursery school playground, who somehow has stumbled and scraped her knee and, and she comes over to a teacher and she's upset and crying and she throws herself into the arms of the teacher and the teacher just holds her for a while. And and she cries and after a while being held she has enough and she wiggles out of the arms and runs back on the playful playground. So the poor posture can be that nourishing supportive person that can hold the agitation we have It takes kind of there in a sense that teacher and us they don't want us to be the one who holds the posture still enough, quiet enough. So he can hold the agitation that's deeper the impulses the the tense, agitated energies that are there. So there they are, there's a container for them, there's a nourishment for them, there's support for them. So they can begin to relax and settle. So, physical calmness, physical tranquility. And, and in the teachings of the Buddha, physical tranquility, as a wonderful kind of reciprocity, with joy and happiness, that somehow that with joy. With tranquility, there can be more happiness with happiness, more tranquility, with joy, there can be tranquility, with tranquility, there can be more joy. And, and so it's not just kind of a state of tranquility of, of, you know, apathy or indifference or, you know, just holding yourself frozen. It's actually the opposite somebody comes alive, when, when we can relax and open the body open, excuse me. When we can open, something can relax when we can open the the wonderful, vital energies of calmness of clarity in our body. So may you become interested in the calmness of your body today. And perhaps you can also begin to maybe understand how a physical tranquility is a support for a kind of physical clarity and maybe even mental clarity. So look in the study your body today, study the forces of agitation in your body, and how you might support that agitation, to calm down to relax, and maybe in a sense for some of you, you can reclaim your body from your agitation so that the calmness of your heart can have space to come forth. So thank you, and I hope you enjoy your day.