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Mindfulness of body (movement)
February 25th, 2016 (February 26th, 2016)
Mindfulness of body (movement)

   Many people confuse 'mindful' and 'slow'. This is funny because most of them already know that the mind 'processes' phenomena much faster than the body does, and yet… ask them to eat or walk mindfully and they'll do it at snail pace!
   When deliberately slowing pace, people think they have more time to process each sensation, while in fact they have the same time per sensation (17 thought-moments per physical moment, according to Theravāda Abhidhamma: gplus.wallez.name/J8JC1gjXwHF) to process more 'related' sensations! And while the sensations are related, e.g. various tastes linked to the same 'bite', impermanence is still present: the sensations are related but not exactly the same…

   Among the people most mindful of their bodies, we can find olympic athletes. They're the opposite of 'slow' or 'measured', and yet they perceive tiny variations in their own performance. They perceive tiny stretches, they adjust to minuscule changes in the (rather controlled) playing field…
   Of course, one doesn't need to be at olympic level before the benefits of practising some physical activity (to cultivate paying attention to bodily sensations, to increase mindfulness) to kick in!

   And, interestingly, physical activity might be useful when it comes to not  'isolating', not  'separating' the body from its environment. Mindfulness practice, done properly, is a gate into realising 'selflessness': the body is not, and cannot be, separate from its context!
   In seated meditation, if one concentrates enough, one might access a jhāna  or even attain, beyond the highest arūpajhāna "neither perception nor non-perception", the "cessation of feelings and perceptions" (nirodha-samapatti).  Now, such a concentration wouldn't separate the body from its context (even if moving up the jhāna started up with mindfulness of breathing…), as the context is no longer perceived but the body is no longer perceived either!
   So concentration is supportive of some insight into selflessness… but it's not necessarily the same insight when non-separateness is realised while  perceiving the body-context unity.
   The insight from concentration into selflessness does not combine well with realising the impermanence of all conditioned phenomena (or with realising how dukkha  is associated with all conditioned phenomena) because the phenomena temporarily 'disappear': whatever disappears is neither permanent nor impermanent, it's just absent! On the contrary, the insight from mindfulness into selflessness does combine well with the insight into impermanence, since the impermanence is then perceptible. [This explains why the Theravāda tradition tends to present jhāna  practice as helpful but not sufficient to attain Liberation. This is however a point of controversy and, to this day, there are people who maintain that jhāna  or nirodha-samapatti are 'liberating'.]

   So, what activity can one do, which not only requires a minimum of stability in focus (concentration) but also combines awareness of body and of the environment?
   "Walking meditation" certainly is in the list… "Mindful eating" is too… But they easily lead to the confusion I started with: slowing down by thinking that one has more time to process, while one only has more to process. So today I'll suggest: play a musical instrument, dance tango (while refraining from stupidly showing off), do some art, craft wood, make earthen pots, practice iaido, aikido  or kyudo…  and/or practice yo-yo! Maybe not the yo-yo just going up and down (although one has to start somewhere…), but some serious yo-yo!

   And if you want to combine having the right tool for your yo-yo practice —because there's no way you can progress very far if your yo-yo is poor, e.g. imperfectly balanced and vibrating— with supporting another meditator (their producer), consider acquiring one of the sengoku yo-yos (www.sengokuyoyos.com).


#Buddhism   #fundraising
If you think the "Sengoku team: dream on"  3'31'' video attached is still too slow yo-yoing, you can always check out Yugo Nishimura with a Sengoku (sold-out) "Nobunaga" model (1'43'' youtu.be/kB_6mKBYMRo).
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Senogku Team: Dream On