Synopsis: “Be mindful, there is a body, to the extent necessary, for clear knowledge, and continual mindfulness.” Joseph urges us to make a simple mental note, “there is a body,” to ground us in meditation. Thinking of the body is a way to allow us to relax in awareness, to settle into the simple fact that one is sitting. We strive to connect the the felt sense of the body sitting, not the concept of the “self.” This connection to the felt self provides a grounding framework, through which we can be aware of everything arising within it. Like the skeletal frame of a house being built, we can see through it, and see everything inside of it.
Within the framework of the body, we are aware of the breath coming and going, of sounds coming and going, of sensations appearing and disappearing. This framework can help keep the mind in a state of balance, allowing for the arising of these sensations, but without the mind “zeroing in” or focusing on a particular object. Our mind need not interfere with the breath or attempt to control sensations as they arise. There is no striving or struggling, we are simply aware and alert. To the extent necessary for us to be continuously mindful, we are present with whatever experience arises within the framework of the body.
I like: I appreciated Joseph’s laser-like focus on the body as a basis to greet what arises.
I wish: It would have been interesting to hear his thoughts on how thoughts are embodied also, in addition to sounds and sensations. Since our minds are embodied, we can connect our thoughts to our physicality in addition to our sensations.
More about the Speaker: Joseph Goldstein has been leading insight and lovingkindness meditation retreats worldwide since 1974. He is a cofounder of the Insight Meditation Society in Barre, Massachusetts, where he is one of the organization’s guiding teachers. In 1989, together with several other teachers and students of insight meditation, he helped establish the Barre Center for Buddhist Studies. Read more at www.dharma.org/joseph-goldstein