2021-10-22-Body (5 of 5) Liberation with the Body
3:03PM Oct 22, 2021
This last talk on the week of mindfulness of the body focuses on release, then release is one of my favorite words for liberation or freedom. Because it has this, this idea of setting something free, gets released. And, and it has this kind of dual thing where freedom maybe has the idea of, you can go do whatever you want. And letting go has led more kind of the weight of what's been let go of, but for me release is in between that we're clearly something has become free, free of something. But there's also the feeling of this kind of opening up to, to just openness and a kind of freedom. And anyway, so we have a release. And each step along the way of this week, we have these five different areas of mindfulness, we have the relaxation, recognition, respect, restoration, and now release. But each of the first four have within them, something we're releasing. So relaxation, maybe is the most obvious where we're releasing tension holding, maybe stress or something, something is letting go. And when we relax, and some people don't maybe focus so much on that, what's let go of, but rather, the goodness, the nice feelings of the relaxation, the comfort of it, then the recognition involves a kind of release as well, letting go as well. And that recognition is very simple. It just recognizing just how things are in the moment, without the complications of history, without the complications of, of projections into the future. Without the complications of, of, you know, the complicated world and complications of me, myself and mine. But just allowing something to be itself, allowing in each to be a niche, just recognize the edge, it can be hard to be let go of all the reactivity to it. But that's the goal is just to itch an itch, a warmth, just a warmth, a twisting, just a twisting, a heat, just heat. The the when I was in Japan, studying Zen and the kind of one of the teachings I got there was something like, when it's hot, just be hot with it when the weather is hot. And when it's cold, just be cold. So whether that's exactly should, why you should live your life. I'm not saying but it's the idea that in the recognition, we're letting go of a lot of the complications and just letting things be in their simplicity, that pristine simplicity of each moment. It was a lot of letting go. They respect we're letting go of disrespect with disrespect here might mean having an agenda around things having being in charge bossing our life around like it has to be this way or that way to get rid of this I have to get this happen. It shouldn't be this experience, it should be some other way. But the respect is to is to just get permission for each thing just be itself. And so due respect to see again. So there's a letting go that allows us to have this seeing again, allowing ourselves to really be there in the simplicity of things. And then the restoration to allow things to restore. There has to be letting go of, again ways in which we restrict ourselves, the ways in which we limit ourselves or hold back or resist ourselves or box things in or contain things and and there has to be space for things to restore. Like if you if you if you have too much.
Too many plants growing in a flat in a flower bed, then the seedling that you want to grow will not grow healthy or unhealthy. The way to allow it to grow well, you have to kind of make a clearing, so it has some light that comes through. And then today it's release. And, and I think that profound topic and it's not, you know, it's easy to talk about it simplistically or easier to talk about it as if it's easy thing to do. But you know, it generally, in almost any circumstance, we find ourselves, there's something we can let go of something we can release, maybe not what we want to release what, but maybe we let go of the wanting to release, maybe that's where the beginning of freedom can happen. And then we practice relaxation, recognition, respect, maybe restoration, instead of letting go of what's difficult to let go of. And so one of the things we're releasing is the body, from our ideas of the body, and the tremendous amount of suffering in our culture, around how the around ideas of body, body image, and, and you know, to be body conscious, or sometimes just to be frozen and caught up and with how we're supposed to look and, and what how we don't look or, and, you know, in our country, our societies around us, support us in this kind of very painful way in which the body gets this kind of this whole agenda ideas of what it should it shouldn't be. And so it's one of the great gifts for your body to do something like meditation, and let go, of all the ideas we have about the body, let it be itself. So the other day, we did that exercise of mindfulness of the hand, where we just feeling the sensations of the hand, and some people do that exercise, we'll see the difference between the ideas they have about their hand, at the fingers are too much, there's too much little that there had is to this to that the fingernails are this not quite right, or just all these things about the hand that the mind has ideas about. And it can be kind of debilitating and preoccupying. But if we let go of all those ideas, and just feel the hand for itself, the hand itself doesn't have a problem being whatever it is, it's just just a hand and to free the hand to feel itself without the burden of all these ideas. So it'll learn to release the body from the ideas we have on top of it. Part of the release of the body is to release the tension that's in the body. And generally, you know, most tension that we feel in the body tightness, and most stress we feel in the body is, is a byproduct of tension and stress in the mind. And so the poor body has to kind of deal with all the stress and tension. And sometimes it becomes chronic and can be quite debilitating. And so to to release the body from the hold of the mind. So that we again can allow the body to restore itself or heal itself even. And so to begin to appreciate how much we can release the body, let go of the body, but let go with the body. Let the body participate in this the process, the process of letting go of all this unnecessary and maybe pain producing suffering producing activities that the mind does. And in meditation is one of the great laboratories to discover how this works and how to discover greater and greater release and relaxation in depth. There was a apparently debate in Buddhism at some point down through the centuries, whether enlightenment happens in the mind or happens in the body. And probably it's, you know, not a tremendously wise debate because it probably happens to both places simultaneously. But, but the fact that some people would really identify the body is a locus for liberation, I find quite inspiring. It's also inspiring they found it in the mind. Maybe wherever it's found or whatever that doorway into liberation is great. But many people don't consider that the body is
kind of the location where freedom occurs. And maybe part of this debate It arises because of the ancient Buddhist teachings of the Buddha. He emphasized repeatedly that there is no liberation without mindfulness of the body. And he's on the heads, all these synonyms for liberation. And some of them are quite, you know, lofty like, there is no attainment of the deathless. Without mindfulness of the body. There is no experience of the unconditioned without mindfulness of the body, that somehow this mindfulness of the body and navigating through it, and discovering freedom through the body is such a huge part of this tradition. So I think as I began this week, I want to end with the idea that maybe sometimes we should think of Sati are usually translated as mindfulness, we should think of it as body fullness, and that how to live in a full body, the fullness of our body. And take time to do that. When I teach retreats, I sometimes meditation retreats, I sometimes give the instructions to, to walk around, do the activities of the retreat at the speed of mindfulness, because often we do the speed of the mind. And you get caught in the mind activity, the mind, some people kind of zip around kind of fast and do things quickly. But the speed by which we can stick present for our body present in our experience, pretty present for our body fullness. So to do things at the speed of body fullness, the speed of staying connected to your body, know what's happening your body, that don't get disconnected your body. This is a great exercise. And you might if you'd like to spend this weekend before, next week, we're gonna do mindfulness of emotions. And it turns out that the more you're mindful of your body, the easier it is to be mindful of emotions. So you might want to spend this week this weekend, kind of reviewing or looking over or practicing body fullness, seeing what it's like whenever it's appropriate in your weekend to operate at the speed app or operate at the speed of body fullness, mindfulness of the body. Thank you very much and I'm looking forward to being back here on Monday.