Lesson: Emotions and sensations are included in the realm of thoughts and thinking. Just as you train yourself to not chase and elaborate upon thoughts, you also practice not chasing after emotions and sensations. Let us start with sensations in the body: an itch, a hot flash, chills, pain. The practice is to simply just feel the sensation. It is all dharma. Just as with thoughts, when a sensation is present, be aware of it and return to the breath. When it is particularly intense, you can shift your awareness towards it. Just feel: before you name it, what is the feeling of this energy in your body? Meet the sensation directly, without a gap between your experience of feeling it and what you may think about it.
Practice for today: Today, be present to the sensations that are arising in your body. Can you directly experience a sensation? Are you using thinking to move away from so-called unpleasant sensations?
I experience sensations from the body very directly. As they are.
For me the body is a practice tool. I practice through endurance sports. The training generates a higher awareness of my body, its workings, pains, joys etc and there is a clarity that arises from the effort and repetition. An opening. Like a mini sonic boom sometimes. But very silent.
Through this practice I realize that I’m not ‘entangled’ with my body. It does what the body does. Being some-body. It has started its aging a while ago and we all know where it’s going! For me the body is a source of learning about the self and everything else.
Last year I crashed in a race and I was smiling and happy. It did hurt but so what? Pain was irrelevant and just pain. I didn’t have to let go of anything. I let go somewhere before I had to let go. I received another lesson from this situation: after I decided to abandon the race another competitor pulled up to me and offered me the bike part I
needed to continue and maybe finish. Many bows to his generosity and mindfulness. I finished the race. But it didn’t matter it was all the same, going through situations aware and responsive. That day cleared a lot of confusion I didn’t know was there. It changed my awareness in many directions. I don’t mind the scars.
Running, swimming and biking: pretty much what children do on vacation with their bodies! It’s very primal and repetitive and whole — like a mantra for the body. It brings a lot of gratefulness for this body and life. There is also a unique connection with others in endurance events. Being together doing the same repetitive thing. Fast kinhin
somehow! A marathon really feels like a big human stream. All of us part of the whole with our own units that are the same. Sharing the same pain but still smiling at each other and treating each other with amazing qualities of warmth, compassion, kindness, joy of just being there doing that. Just like the brain the rest of the body communicates with me, it’s my friend too. And like any of my friends I try to listen and not engage unless it’s necessary.
The body also inspires quite a good sense of humor. Otherwise whoopee cushions wouldn’t be funny!