Joseph Goldstein divides the subject of Mindfulness of the Body as it is described in the Satipatthana Sutta into four sections. Last week, we considered the first of these sections, Mindfulness of Breathing. Joseph discussed details of breathing in a mindful way such as noticing whether the breath is short or long, sitting erect and alert, establishing mindfulness ‘in front’ of us, experiencing the whole body, and calming the urge to move.
This week, Joseph teaches the second section, Mindfulness of Postures (link to audio is here). He urges us to follow the Buddha’s instructions regarding posture—“when walking, one knows ‘I am walking,’”—and to apply this approach to all body positions. This practice will strengthen continuity of awareness and reveal our state of mind. Focusing in this way increases our understanding of the three characteristics: annica (impermanence), suffering (dukkha) and selflessness (anatta). Joseph continues to emphasize that diligent practice of even one aspect of the teachings, such as the Mindfulness of Postures, will illuminate the whole dharma.
1. How has your posture revealed your mental state?
2. How have you used your mindfulness of posture to calm your mental state?
3. Can you describe an experience of ‘being walked”?
4. How does movement mask dukkha for you?
1. Examine how your posture conditions your mental state.
2. Examine how your mental state conditions your posture.
3. Use your mindfulness of posture to overcome an unskillful mental state.
4. Practice observing the continuity of changing posture.
5. What assignment would you give yourself to better understand Mindfulness of Postures?