2021-10-19-Body (2 of 5) Recognition of the Body
3:02PM Oct 19, 2021
So this week we're talking about mindfulness of the body. And I think it can be one of the wonderful results of this doing mindfulness practice is to become more embodied. And many years ago, I read ancient Mahayana Buddhist texts, that I insisted that we don't get enlightened through the mind, we get enlightened through the body. And whether that's literally true or not, it's kind of an inspiring idea. That certainly as we practice, mindfulness, slowly, slowly, perhaps for some of us, certainly for me, that body wakes up kind of awakening of the body. And we have more and more access to sensing and feeling the body. There are people who, for all kinds of reasons, you know, important reasons, significant things happen to them, difficult things, that it's very difficult to be in their body, the body is not a safe place to be, it's, it feels like you tap into fear, or terror, or even sometimes to really drop in and feel the body. So to emphasize the wonderfulness of being in the body, is a kind of a careful thing to do, because of how difficult it is some people live kind of, from the neck up, or from their waist up, and feel really, really disconnected from parts of their body. And so where today, the emphasis is recognition, as an aspect of mindfulness practice, these five days of the week, it's relaxed relaxation, recognition, respect, risk, restoration, and release. And today's recognition. And the re they again, part of recognition is kind of to reconnect to the body, to spend time getting to know it. And to learn to do it in a way that is not frightening or not distressing. But to do it with the kind of gentleness and care and for some people to do within, in, in, you know, in, in very short periods of time, spend a little bit touching in and then pull out and just as long as it's safe. And I know for some people, I've given them the instructions, when there's been really difficult things in the body. That to imagine awarenesses, like saw a soft cotton ball, that we gently reach down and touch the place that's difficult. And just like touch it with that softness of the cotton ball, and then pull back and let it be just so it's known and felt and maybe know a little bit and then pull back. And slowly over time, the different ways the body reveals itself to us. Sometimes it can be through discomfort, as the mind gets quieter, as the body settles down, we go through the layers of where the body is held and where there's tension. And there's layers of tension we have that we're not aware of, because the coarser attention holds it in place, or kind of hides it or covers it's kind of and so when the coarser attention relaxes, than we were of deeper attention, deeper attention, and, and slowly there's a greater connection to the body. And but it's not just the connection to the body as as the body is something separate from you. There's the body has its own awareness, his own. And often we call it sensing, sensing and sensations are belong to the body. And the place where we, like if we touch if I touched my hand, the I have sensations of warmth and pressure, I guess upon my hand now and that's those sensations of warmth and pressure occur in the location where the other hand is pushing against the, the left hand here for me. So sensing that raw media sensing occurs in the body, in the place where the sensations occur, and I'd like to say that sensing and sensations are non dual. They're not really two different things. And, and that and then separate from that.
I know the body knows it's warm and I touch the nose, the pressure and separate from that. Then I can have the cognitive thought, where I had with the English word, warmth, pressure on it. And if I speak a different language, I would use a different bound to represent that just sounds that we use to represent things, these words that we have. And we use different sounds to represent it. But the body is already sense that bodies feel set. And so this sensing body starts to wake up as we do mindfulness and, and the parts that are numb or been disconnected or get reconnected. And so this recognition is also a re remembering that by putting the members of the body back together, again, that had been disconnected, and there starts to slowly over time, to be a flow kind of, of harmony of flow of the body, the whole body kind of just hums in a very nice way. But the path to that is, is to appreciate this deeper recognition. So mindfulness practice uses the recognition part of mindfulness is actually extremely significant in mindfulness practice. And there are different and so it works in different ways. But it's always simple. It's not a story, it's not an explanation of why it's there, it's not a review of everything. It's almost like recognition doesn't have almost like record there, what do we recognize the US Navy history is just recognizing in the moment, what's here. And so if I recognize my chest expanding, as I breathe in, it just the expansion, just feeling and sensing the expansion, feeling the movement. And then in addition, we can have the mental aspect and the mental part of mindfulness practice, is sometimes you use a mental note. And that mental note label a sound is just is a, using a sound or word that recognizes what it is we just were experiencing. So expansion of the chest movement that I feel, so breathing in. And but that's two different forms of recognition happening, it's the the immediacy of what's happening in the chest. And then it's very quiet, kind of, maybe in the background, almost, there's a mental recognition movement, the expansion that's happening, or if there's a pain, the knee pain is happening. But that's very, it's like 5% of what the mind is doing is it labels like we're, you know, pounding, the lay the mental note into the experience is more like a gentle brushing of it. Now, this recognition, both the mental noting and the feeling of it, to really be part of that enter into this recognition mode, is an alternative to discursive thought, is an alternative to a wandering off flowing along with a storyline or a commentary line or explanation or a prediction of what's going to happen, all the ways we can kind of get involved in discursive thought. And the idea is that their recognition begins to cut through that I sometimes I think of it as the sword that cuts through the Gordian knot. And that,
you know, our mental world of discursive thoughts can be so complicated to so many ideas that we live in and complicated histories and stories. And then we cut through it by just Oh, just breathing, that's an in breath. That's an out breath, that there's a sound listening. Now there's an itch. Now I'm back with a breathing, the stomach is tight, relaxing the belly. And, and it's just, it's just coming back to that simplicity. And so using the simple, simple act of recognition, to help us be engaged nicely in the present moment, without being hijacked or pulled into the world of thinking. We don't have to struggle against thoughts and few weeks, I'll talk about mindfulness of thinking. But for now, the idea is to kind of cut through it, to keep it really simple, the meditation, mindfulness of thinking and the role of thinking comes later. But for right now, the simplest, we use the simplest kind of thinking, to help us stay present. And that's that very simple. One word, cognition of things. Pressure, warm expansion. It's more than a word. It probably is. Not simple recognition. And, but don't yet but anyway, so use the mental noting very gentle, soft, or something that's close to it if your mind is able to really stay close to that simple recognition without a mental note, you don't have to use the mental noting. But the mental noting is a kind of way of staying honest, really knowing that you're not wandering off in thought and, and just kind of steady, steady pace, breathe in to expansion, hearing this discomfort, pleasure, whatever it might be, we're feeling and sensing. And then so whether it's the cognition of a mental note, or the cognition of the body's own, knowing the knowing it's much more silent, whichever helps you to cut through the thinking mind and connect you to something that's living alive. Because it's a miracle. To be conscious, this wonderful thing that I started off with about human awareness, that it's, it's an amazing thing. And to stay close to the living moment, the living experience of life, where cognition, consciousness, awareness, mindfulness, keeps us in our animated body keeps us in our living body to live the experience. And the more we can recognize and open up and be present for this, eventually we start feeling and allowing for the healing, potential healing power of this body that we have healing not necessarily from physical illness and, and injury and things like that. But it's kind of a deeper kind of healing, spiritual healing, healing of awareness that this hum that moves through the whole body and becomes whole. So I hope that made sense and and to really get to know the body well is such a blessing. So I'd encourage you through the day today, next 24 hours, for those of you in a different timezone to, to get to know your body better, listen to it. Maybe even have a timer on and that goes on every few minutes, you know, 10 minutes or something. And then check in with your body. Check in with your body every time you go through a doorframe every time that you change your posture from sitting to walking to whatever you do standing. Whenever you pick up a new utensil, and cooking or eating check what do you have and find different things to just check in check in what's happening in the body. What is the body showing by listen to my body now what do I learn recognize the body. Thank you