using the arrow buttons.
by clicking on the page.
the page around when zoomed in by dragging it.
the zoom using the slider when zoomed-in.
by clicking on the zoomed-in page.
by entering text in the search field, and select "This Issue" or "All Issues"
by clicking on thumbnails to select pages, and then press the print button.
displays sections with thumbnails and descriptions.
displays a slider of thumbnails. Click on a page to jump.
allows you to browse the full archive.
about your subscription?
Lions Roar : March 2007
MINDFULNESS OF BODY, the foun- dation of mindfulness, is connected with the need for a sense of being, a sense of groundedness. To begin with, there is some prob- lem about what we understand by body. We sit on chairs or on the ground; we eat; we sleep; we wear clothes. But the body we relate with in going through these activities is questionable. According to the tradition, the body we think we have is what is known as psychosomatic body. It is largely based on projections and concepts of body. This psychosomatic body contrasts with the enlightened person’s sense of body, which might be called “body- body.” This sense of body is free from conceptualizations. It is just simple and straightforward. There is a direct relationship with the earth. As for us, we do not actually have a relationship with the earth. We have some relation- ship with body, but it is very uncertain and erratic. We flicker back and forth between body and some- thing else—fantasies, ideas. That seems to be our basic situation. Even though the psychosomatic body is constituted by projec- tions of body, it can be quite solid in terms of those projections. We have expectations concerning the existence of this body; therefore we have to refuel it, entertain it, wash it. Through this psychosomatic body we are able to experience a sense of being. For instance, as you listen to this talk, you feel that you are sitting on the ground. But your sitting here at this point is not actually very much a matter of your body per se sitting on the ground; it is far more a matter of your psychosomatic body sitting on the ground. You are somewhat involved in sitting per se, but at the same time you are not. Mind is doing it; concept is doing it. Your mind is shaping the situation in accordance with your body. Your mind is sitting on the ground. Your mind is taking notes. Your mind is wearing glasses. Your mind has such-and-such a hairdo; your mind is wearing such-and-such clothes. Everyone is creat- ing a world according to the body situation, but largely out of contact with it. That is the psychosomatic process. Mindfulness of body brings this all-pervasive, mind-imitating- body activity into the practice of meditation. The practice of meditation has to take into account that mind continually shapes itself into bodylike attitudes. Consequently, since the time of Buddha, sitting meditation has been recommended and prac- ticed, and it has proved to be the best way of dealing with this sit- uation. Mindfulness of body plays a very important role in this technique. In this case, mindfulness means that when you sit and meditate, you actual- ly do sit. You actually do sit, as far as the psychosomatic body is concerned. You feel the ground, body, breath, temperature. You don’t try specifically to watch and keep track of what is going on. You don’t try to formalize the sitting situation and make it into some special activity that you are performing. You just sit. And then you begin to feel that there is some sense of groundedness. This is not particularly a product of being deliberate, but it is more the force of the actual fact of being there. So you sit. And you sit. And you breathe. And you sit and you breathe. Sometimes you think, but still you are think- ing sitting thoughts. The psychosomatic body is sitting, so your thoughts have a flat bottom. Mindfulness of body is connected with the earth. It is an openness that has a base, a foundation. A quality of expansive awareness develops through mindfulness of body—a sense of being settled and of therefore being able to afford to open out. Mindfulness of body means just trying to remain a human being, an ordinary human being. The basic starting point for this is solidness, groundedness. When you sit, you actually sit. Even your floating thoughts begin to sit on their own bottoms. There are no particular problems. You have a sense of solidness and groundedness, and, at the same time, a sense of being. Without this particular foundation of mindfulness, the rest of your meditation practice could be very airy-fairy—vacil- lating back and forth, trying this and trying that. You could be constantly tiptoeing on the surface of the universe, not actually getting a foothold anywhere. You could become an eternal hitchhiker. So with this first technique you develop some basic solidness. In mindfulness of body, there is a sense of finding some home ground. ♦ Adapted from “The Four Foundations of Mindfulness,” from The Collected Works of Chögyam Trungpa, Volume Three. © 2003 by Diana J. Mukpo. Published by Shambhala Publications. SHAMBHALA SUN MARCH 2007 63 Mindfulness of Body CHÖGYAM TRUNGPA says that mindfulness of body—of our real body, not the mental version we usually experience—is what stops our spiritual practice from spinning off into fantasy. The asana of meditation: one of the five lohan (arhat) statues, which Chögyam Trungpa considered outstanding examples of sitting meditation posture. LUOHAN,CHINESE,(907-1234).THENELSON-ATKINSMUSEUMOFART,KANSASCITY,MISSOURI.PURCHASE:NELSONTRUST,34-6.PHOTO:JAMISONMILLER