Mindfulness of body postures #2 – selflessness

Continuing the study and notes from Joseph Goldstein’s book Mindfulness, Chapter 8, the second half.

Mindfulness of postures can support the understanding of the three characteristics.

  • Impermanence, anicca
  • Dukkha, suffering
  • Selflessness, anatta

Under selflessness

Who is walking?  Who is lying down?
We can begin to explore the impersonal nature of existence

An important stage of insight called Purification of View:
The deep realization of the selfless nature of all phenomena
This is called namarupa

Mind and matter or mentality and materiality.
At this stage of meditation, we see that whatever is happening is simply the process of knowing and its object

The sensations of the body sitting and the knowing of them
The sensations of the body standing and the knowing of them

We see that there’s no one behind this process to whom it is all happening
Only the pairwise progression of knowing and object rolling along.

We see that the mind and body condition each other.  Sometimes the body moves because of an intention in the mind, sometimes a bodily experience conditions a mind state of enjoyment or aversion.  This is the body conditioning the mind.

Continuity of mindfulness of changing postures ensures the continuity of our awareness of impermanence, which in turns helps free us from identifying with the body as being a permanent self.

Buddha taught Rahula:

This not mine, this is not I, this is not myself.

Even though we often privilege the sitting posture in our meditation, the path of awakening is clearly not limited to any one posture.

For example, Ananda, Buddha’s cousin and attendant
Got full enlightenment as he went from walking to lying down.

Mindfulness of postures is one way to bring the intensive practice of retreats into our daily life.

And then comes the refrain:

  • Contemplate the postures internally, externally, and both
  • Contemplate the arising and passing away
  • Contemplate the posture’s impermanence
  • Stay mindful of the postures to the extent necessary for bare knowing and continuous mindfulness
  • Abide independently, not clinging to anything in the world.