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The Body as a Vehicle of Awakening

What is the body, really?

Despite living in our body for many years, we may know very little about it from a Dharma perspective. Through Dharma practice, we can learn to see the body in new ways that go beyond attraction, judgment, and using it as a tool to get things in the world.

Classical Buddhist meditations and contemplations of the body can support both healing and the deepening of mindfulness and wisdom in surprising ways. It is a vehicle for integration, processing of present-moment experience, and liberating insight.

Here are some simple practices you can try:

  1. Sit quietly, close your eyes, and direct your attention to one of your hands. Let the idea of “hand” fall away and just be with the changing sensations in that region, such as heat, pressure, pulsing. Do this for about five minutes. Can you sense more subtle sensations than you did at the beginning?
  2. Reflect and explore: Is there anything constant in this body? What do you learn from doing this investigation?
  3. Do something to take care of your body for three days in a row this week, such as eating healthy food, getting sufficient sleep, or exercising outside. What impact does this have on your meditation?