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Descend into Your Body and Wake Up

A number of articles have appeared here on IDP, in recent months, on the topic of Mindfulness of Body. Last month, Kate Johnson published a thoughtful piece called "Mindfulness of Bodies." A little further back, in November, I published "You Are Not a Brain on a Stick (Or Are You?)".

In that piece, I wrote:

"...We modern people have become tragically disembodied, alienated from the most basic level of our own experience as human beings.... Most of us have lost the felt sense of what it is to be embodied, to experience the world in and through the medium of this material and energetic body into which we have been born.

"We think about the body a great deal, sometimes obsessively, but this is not the same as being in and with the body on its own terms. Our allegiance to thinking about everything -- mediating and managing our experience and our lives through the conceptual thought function -- is the very root of our disembodiment in the first place. For the most part, we think of our bodies as mere tools (and sometimes obstacles) to serve our ambitions and our ego's goals of attaining happiness and comfort; we rarely descend into the darkness of the body itself and witness, without an agenda, the naked experience that arises there."

As Reggie Ray says in his book Touching Enlightenment, it's not simply that we can find realization and awakening in the body -- there is actually no other place to find it.

But it would be just like us (wouldn't it?) to sit here in cyberspace and chit-chat and theorize about Mindfulness of Body, without actually doing it. So -- enough talk. Below is a link to a simple, 20-minute guided meditation on Mindfulness of Body that I led about a year ago at Nalandabodhi New York. You can download the MP3, or listen in streaming audio online. Close your Facebook and Twitter windows, silence your mobile phone, sit down in a comfortable meditation posture, click "Play," and explore the mystery of being alive in a human body. There is a world of somatic experience unfolding in your being at this very moment -- just waiting for you to notice it.

To listen to the guided meditation, CLICK HERE.


21st-Century Buddhism is a biweekly feature exploring the issues that Buddhists and other spiritual practitioners face in our time and our place. Follow Dennis Hunter's other writings on Twitter, or visit his web site.

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As Reggie Ray says in his

As Reggie Ray says in his book Touching Enlightenment, it's not simply that we can find realization and awakening in the body -- there is actually no other place to find it.

Blog Commenting Service

Thank you

You're right that there has been a lot of talk lately about the body, and I'm personally very grateful for it. The first foundation of mindfulness is, in fact, the body, but we are often eager to move on to the other stuff - feelings, thoughts, etc - that we neglect this extraordinary vessel all these feelings and thoughts are carried in.

I look forward to the guided meditation, thank you.

Thank you

Thanks, Eduardo. As I mentioned in my comment on Kate's article, I think this kind of body-based meditation practice is something that we disembodied, cerebral Western students of Buddhism need a lot more of. Hopefully we'll keep seeing more teachers focusing on this. Hope you enjoy the short guided practice.


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