2023-03-07-Mindfulness of the Body (2 of 4) Postural Support in Challenges
2:06AM Mar 9, 2023
Hello, everyone, and welcome to this second talk in the series on mindfulness of the body, using the Buddha's teachings on mindfulness of the body, as support for how to work with the challenges that life gives us, no matter what the challenges are. And the second instruction the Buddha gives, and his teachings on mindfulness to the body, is mindfulness of posture. And posture can be a difficult topic for people and challenging sometimes with all kinds of physical conditions that exist. But it's also a part of integral part of human life is we always in some posture, or other physical posture. And the Buddha emphasized the value of bringing attention to it, to really know the posture we're in. And, and then begin discovering the different dimensions that different ways in which mindfulness that posture can support us support us tremendously. And, and in terms of challenges, one of the things that mindfulness of posture can support is that it is a preventive from all our attention, to go into our challenges, and to the our fear or dismay, or preoccupation or imagination, our spinning thoughts. It's all of it goes into the challenges we have, it can be a dark hole, we can collapse, sometimes it It strengthens the sense of inner challenge, the fear, perhaps, or the dismay or the anger, it fuels it and keeps going. And some people will consider spill out and fear or panic, because of the loop between their thinking and, and causing fear and fear causing more thinking. And, or depression, the same thing, there's gonna be this loop. And that loop is strengthened by the degree in which attention is given to those thoughts or attention is given solely to the emotions that are there. And it's remarkable that when there's fear, or when there's anger, when there's confusion, when there's greed, all kinds of these strong forces in the mind, people have a tremendous capacity for concentration. The very people who sit down, sit down to meditate, and they say, I don't have any ability to to concentrate, give them a good threat. And boy, they can be focused on it, though, everything goes into it. And all their thinking and thoughts and feelings. Give them a good thing to be angry with. And boy P some people can be zero in, you know, one point it almost like, boom, they're right there, they're not gonna kind of leave it behind. They're like stuck on it. So we do have, many people have much more capacity for concentration than they realize. It's just harder to do it what for some people when there's nothing, no threat, nothing to blame, nothing to trigger, self preoccupation, self identity, self conceit, which is kind of can be a magnet for preoccupied attention. And so to begin bringing attention to the posture, is to break the hegemony of some of these strong, difficult mind states that come into play, when we are with challenges not denying their real challenges. But the excessive preoccupation with excessive absorption in them is counterproductive. And it's actually works with think that the more attention we can give to something, the better we can take care of it. But actually, sometimes it can do the opposite and when the real challenges in our life. And so we want to find some way for our attention to be be more beneficial for us as we go through these challenges. And one of the ways is to have our attention, rooted or grounded in our body. And one of the ways to do that is to be cognizant of the posture we're in and, and more so in like in meditation, for example, meditation posture, there's a lot of value to having that posture be in intentional. So, you know, you could just kind of lay down in bed and just kind of completely kind of collapse. And for some people laying in bed and just really relaxing is very powerful. I don't want to undermine its value, but you might not get the same benefits. In the long term in daily life, when there's challenges. If you don't, somewhere are there begin cultivating the value of a grounded intentional posture. And intentionally means that there takes a little bit of internal effort, intention to maintain it. If there's an orange metallic, consistently, there has to be consistent attention. So the upright meditation posture eventually becomes second nature. Eventually, there's a kind of meditative energy that keeps us upright and alert. But there's a lot also a kind of foreground or background intentionality, to stay upright. And in the beginning, we're beginners, we slump and we sit up straight, we slump, until we find this place of intentionality, to stay present. And, and to take an intentional posture that allows for presents allows for really being there was something so maybe turning towards something or sitting upright or standing upright in a balanced way, not crossing the arms or crossing legs in such a way that something's obstructed, something is limited, something is closed down, but just sit in a way that everything becomes kind of open available present flowing unobstructed within an intentional posture, and to learn how to be embodied in it to be grounded in the sensations to be inhabiting intentionally and attentionally. This posture, not is the be all and end all for sure. But so that it becomes second nature to be grounded and present in a good way as we go through our challenges. So we learn not to collapse physically, in the presence of our challenges. So we learn not to get into tense up unnecessarily. In the middle of our challenges. The posture is a mirror for seeing what our relationship is to our challenges. And if you're if you have a kind of balanced posture as a reference point, aligned posture that's open, unobstructed present, you'll have a very wonderful reference to catch earlier. If you collapse. If you slump, if you kind of give up. Or if you give into some kind of the pressure of the anger or that pressure of the fear and start spinning out. And the posture is was an early warning sign of what your relationship is that might not be so beneficial for you. It's also a dude maintain a strong balanced posture, rather than collapsing or, or acting out. It's amazing how that is not denying how we're feeling. But it's almost like giving a room for how we're feeling. So some deeper process of unfolding, evolving healing can happen. That cannot happen. If we collapse. It could not happen if we engage from a place of hostility or blame or, or something else. This mindfulness really puts us in our body so that a deeper process of the bodily wisdom and intelligence can kind of move and relax and open up what's going on. So that we can think more clearly. So that we can see the situation more clearly without our projections and our fears and our emotions kind of excessively filtering our perceptions. So to to cultivate, to make a practice of being of intentional, balanced, unobstructed posture in different circumstances. You might try it standing in line in a store.
I don't know what you usually do standing there, but you might stand there and you know it both feet on the ground, feet apart, just balanced and just stand there with a full, maybe their eyes cast down because you don't have to see much more than the person in front of you goes forward and you can take the next step forward to the cashier, but just really be there and, and practice this embodied intentional attention of posture, and intentional unintentional, really see what you can learn about a posture that allows for a kind of strength and attention of strength, confidence in your ability to be present. And here. It might be how you sit in a chair, you might experiment with times in places where you don't slum or relax into the chair. But you sit away from the backrest and really sit there and what you kind of are offering to the room to do is there a stronger presence? Here I am. So standing walking, it can be done laying down. Even when people need to lay down to meditate, there's a way of really being careful with a posture that it's somewhat intentional, really laying laying the body out carefully and, and balanced and maybe the knees are up and that has a little bit of intentionality. Some people who meditate laying down will have one hand with the upper arm kind of along the sides of the chest, and the forearm, pointing right up to the ceiling. So a little bit of intentionality is needed to keep that straight and going up, right. So it's value of intentionality. And then walking, walk with confidence. Because chances are, that a confident walk begins offering you a beneficial posture to be in. If you give too much effort into the confidence, you might over overshoot. But kind of take a confident posture as you walk. And, and be embodied in that confidence be embodied in the in the in the walking and track what goes on in your posture, what goes on in your body as you do. So if you're in a kind of very place where a lot of different things are going on. It's fascinating to watch the kaleidoscope of little responses and reactions in the body, depending on something as simple as walking in the sun, and then finding yourself walking in the shade. Walking down a sidewalk when no one's there. And then someone comes up as a direction. You know, all kinds of things begin happening that may be track and what goes on in the body with your response reactions. And see if you can maintain this confident upright posture and walking. So there is it's a hugely valuable and multifaceted practice to practice mindfulness of the posture of posture. And I just scratched the surface of it now. But if you start practicing it and discovering it and make it second nature to have a balanced, aligned, mindful posture, then you'll be ready for challenges in the future. If you're in the middle of a challenge, and you try to have this support and refuge of of your posture, you might not have developed it well enough to really make a difference. But building it up over time. You'll be surprised that one day, you'll go through a challenge and you'll discover that your posture has provided a tremendous support. She go through it in a balanced way. So thank you very much. And we'll continue this series tomorrow.