September 28, 2011

Minding Closely: Observing the body as the body internally

Welcome to your body—it might be a bit different from what you had imagined! This is a powerful refrain throughout the Buddha's teachings on the four close applications of mindfulness to the body, feelings, mental states, and phenomena. In the Satipatthana Sutta, he says:

One dwells observing the body as the body internally, or one dwells observing the body and the body externally, or one dwells observing the body as the body both internally and externally.

In this practice, observing the body as the body internally means directing awareness reflexively toward our own body in order to become familiar with it in the immediacy of experience. Our goal is to observe what is actually presented versus what is projected. Bare attention pervades the body like sheet lightning, simultaneously illuminating the whole field and emergences of solidity, fluidity, and so forth. The vipashyana investigations focused on the body are designed to gain a very clear sense that none of these internal organs are imprinted with "I, me, and mine," which is a very transformative insight.

Excerpted from
Minding Closely: The Four Applications of Mindfulness by B. Alan Wallace. During the month of September, in partnership with Snow Lion Publications, all Tricycle Community Members can get this book at a 20% discount with free shipping in the US*, plus free e-book for instant download. Get the book now.

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