2021-06-23-Mindfulness of the Body (3 of 4) Body as Nature
9:06PM Jun 23, 2021
So, continuing with the discussion of the exercises or the practices related to mindfulness of the body, as discussed in the discourse, sometimes called the discourse in the four foundations of mindfulness, for establishments of mindfulness. And the next one is, has a analogy or a simile for it or a an example of something that is evocative of what we're what we're practicing here and orientation for a particular practice on mindfulness of the body. And, and so I'm going to read you that simile example. That when practices, what we're going to talk about later, just as though there was a bag, with an opening on both ends, I don't know what that means. But you know, certainly makes me think of the human body, which has these two openings, things come in, and things come out these two openings. So I don't know if it's evocative of that, or whether it's just the kind of bag that they used to have in the ancient world that just as though there were a bag with an opening and both ends full of many sorts of grain, such as Hill rice, red rice, beans, peas, millet, and white rice. A person with good eyes, were to open it, and review it to us look upon it this way. This is Hilah rice, this is red rice, these are beans, these are peas, this is millet, and this is white rice. So I've seen bags and bowls of mixed beans, and you know, red beans, and pinto beans and white beans and all kinds of beautiful beans. And there's a kind of dried beans usually. And there's a kind of beauty to it or kind of simplicity to it. And it's kind of a delight. And sometimes I've been put by hands through them and kind of just that they had the image of what kind of roll off my hands are just appreciating. And sometimes that each different kind of being stands out and highlight, you know, if you look at it, you can see each distinctly and you can also see the collection and all the different models of colors and shapes that are there. So this image here of this bag full of different kinds of rice, different colored rice, different kinds of beans, millet, all these things, there's clarity, you can see each one, but there's a collection of different things that we're seeing there. And they're kind of a kind of a specialness and seeing of it all and, and maybe also kind of an amazement, that this unnatural world produces this wide range of different seeds, that that become human food and, and that they dry nicely in store and, and are available to cook at a later time and to feed us and, and, and, and people who were you know, close to the land working with land farmers, you know, see the seeds also as seeds that can be planted for next year's crop and then amazement of, you know, built into these seeds is, are kind of this is this, that sense of there's a capacity to to sprout and grow and develop into plants into flowers into more seeds. And the cycle that continues is naturally and easily. And probably for most of us, if we looked at this bag of different things, you know, you might have our preferences of which to eat. But maybe, you know, just seeing it doesn't lend itself to, you know, too much of a greed or attachment or an aversion to any particular seed. The unless maybe we're allergic to some of it but but, you know, it's just there's a kind of Marvel and naturalness and ease of beauty of sorts there. But it also is not something we easily get attached to or the seeing of it then. And it isn't that we started looking at the different seeds and say, well that one's that one's really superior. See, that's
a more beautiful seed. Oh, that's a terrible seed. You know, how could nature make this With that kind of that kind of shape, color and, and, but it was kind of like everything is kind of seen as this natural way, this is how it is. And there's a kind of maybe an appreciation, maybe kind of Marvel and added but also not a lot of pull to be attached or a lot of pull to, to be aversive to in any kind of way. So the naturalness of it, but the you know, so that's how I see this simile that when the text says just as this. And then the exercise itself is to read the translation is to review. It can mean to visualize for oneself, or to bring to mind for oneself, as maybe sitting in meditation 31 parts of the body, and this 31 parts of the body that sometimes there's 32, if we add another piece, the brain is not included. So some people add the brain of 32 parts is a classic. And still, to this day, a regular meditation practice taught in, in, in Southeast Asian Buddhism, and Tera vaada Buddhism, I have known people that when they get ordained as a monastic, this is the first meditation practice they're taught. And so it takes memorizing these 3132 parts of the body. And so just the fact that you're memorized and can recite them and, and then review them, visualize them for yourself, requires concentration and focus, that, that maybe it's a kind of an exercise of memorization and focus, that easier than some like breathing, where you don't have to memorize that you're breathing and doesn't require this higher order, attention or functioning of the mind to stay focused as memorization does. And so it's a way of training the mind to be present. And its present for them for something that's very important for human beings, and central to who we are our body. And, and to be aware of these different parts of the body, with the same naturalness and, and I don't know if the attachment non attachment is the right language, but the absence of attachment or absence of aversion, and but in Marvel and just watching the naturalness of these beans and seeds, same thing, just being with the body that way. And this for some of us, human beings, is a radically different way to relate to our body. Human beings, maybe because of social conditioning, maybe because it's built into our, almost our DNA to do this are very concerned about our attractiveness and our non attractiveness. And, and we spend an ordinate amount of time some people with caring for that, and some people spend a lot of money of concern with their physicality and how they look, some people spend an inordinate amount of time being critical, embarrassed or ashamed for some parts of their body and how they are. And there's a kind of a higher order self consciousness and valuation that a lot of it's learned from our society. You know, there are trends, social trends, and what kind of body types are considered attractive or appropriate or not appropriate or something like that. And then we buy into these social constructs and ideas. And, and there's a tremendous amount of pain that goes along with it then, and distress around, you know, this completely natural thing like maybe we don't see the beans being upset about being a certain kind of recede certain kind of shape is different shape. They're just they're, they're allowed to be who they are, the trees around, have all kinds of same species tree kind of all kinds of different shapes. And generally, we don't look and say, you know, that's not appropriate shape to have that branch shouldn't be coming out in that angle. It just like all part of the natural world, so. So how to shift our attention from this more complicated, socially conditioned way to be concerned or a body kind of, from a kind of an image based, you know, external image and how would we project ourselves on to others, to a very different way of being with a body, I think is we're we're not inclined to look at ourselves or others, as in physical terms as being better or worse than anyone. There's no hierarchy, no judgments of people just oh, this is all you see at the kind of naturalis and ease of all the different ways it can be.
And so this exercise begins with four or five of the external IP things that we human beings tend to be most concerned with and Maybe when they start getting a teenager or you know, that's when this self consciousness around looks becomes more and more market sometimes earlier sometimes later depending on the social situations we're in and what is valued and all this. And so, so the text goes like this at practitioner reviews or visualizes considers this body from the soles of the feet a body up from the soles of the feed down to the down from the here, the top of the here. So anyway considers his whole body in both directions kind of reviews, it visualizes it in this way, in this body, there are head hears body hears nails, teeth, and skin. How many of you have been preoccupied with those things, maybe even spending a lot of money to adjust them and fix them. So they're this way or that way or, or upset that embarrassed or ashamed or shy about, you know, this and, you know, our society creates a tremendous amount of suffering and imposes that we project concerns like your skin color, for example. I mean, it's heartbreaking what we do around this. And but here just being reviewed, visualize considered, like we would look at this bag of beans just not negative, not positive. But, but maybe a dry bag of seeds. The seeds themselves, because they're dried, are unappetizing. And so, not not ready for us. They're just there, but they have their value and importance. So starts with these external, then it gets more and more deeper inside. Maybe the first two places, which were kind of neutral about managing the ancient world, people didn't have a really clear sense of what these organs were these things were. So then it goes on. flesh, send news, bones, bone marrow, kidneys, heart, liver, diaphragm, spleen, lungs, intestines, mess injury. So these are all you know, if any of you have ever had a chance to look inside of human body, I've done that. Going to cadaver labs. And there can be kind of an amazing beauty to it all. But also, it's not a beauty that's exactly attractive, or, or aversive. It's kind of like just wow, what it is like looking into the Grand Canyon, and wow, that's quite something. It's a natural Marvel to see it. But then it goes on to things that maybe some of us, you know, would consider a little bit unclean, not attractive, maybe a little bit repulsive, repulsed, even. So it goes from what we would maybe be attracted to or maybe to what we may be most he commonly repulsed by some of us, the contents of the stomach, feces, bile, phlegm, pus, blood, sweat, fat, tears, grease, spittle, snot, oil of the jaw, joints, and urine. So in some ways, what what way, can we look at all these different parts of the body? equally, what stands what approach can we visualize, get focused review step by step they get concentrated, have the mind become still and free the mind from its reactivity for or against these different parts of the body? To the degree to which the body is a preoccupation our own body, other people's bodies, our preoccupation for less than whatever we might have. Is there some way that appropriate and freeing way beneficial way to see all these different parts of the body? The ones that were attracted to the ones were repulsed by or not? And to find a, a, an equality to all place of, maybe enough neutrality is the right word. It seems maybe too passive, but maybe a kind of appreciation. With no attachment
and no aversion. Just watch the naturalness of it. That frees us from the social conditioning frees us from the self consciousness frees us from The preoccupation settles us and allows us to be settled and intimately connected to this amazing naturalness. This natural wonder, marvel of who we are and physically free of attachment and aversion. If we go inside and feel our body from the inside out, that's what the body really appreciates. I think our body appreciates that best, just being allowed to be the body without the overlay of all the projections, and values and, and ideas that the mind lays on top of it, to allow the naturalist and maybe the natural beauty of who we are, be that which radiates from the inside out. Free freeing ourselves from the particular constructs of a particular society and times that we're part of. And that way, our body, our hearts from the inside out, will sing. We're just saying and beats, play a song of its own naturalness and be free. So thank you, and then we'll continue this series tomorrow. Thank you very much.