"New York, 1942" © Erwin Blumenfeld
“New York, 1942” © Erwin Blumenfeld

They awaken, always wide awake: Gotama’s disciples, whose mindfulness, both day and night, is constantly immersed in the body.

—Dhammapada, 299 

In the ultimate gesture of presence, the Buddha, fighting off Mara’s armies of temptation, reached down to touch the earth, calling upon it to bear witness to the lifetimes of struggle that had led to his imminent enlightenment. It was with a physical gesture that he signaled his intention to be free—fully embodied, fully human, liberated from the delusive fictions of mind.

In sitting meditation, it often occurs to us that our bodies have been the last things on our minds; we’ve been living in a prison of thought, fantasy, of plans for a future that never happens. Settling into our practice, we may begin to experience our embodiment as if for the first time. It becomes clear to us that the body—in whatever condition we find it—is our primary anchor of awareness, the seat of our liberation. ▼


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