Meditation: Reflection on the body

Level: Intermediate practitioners who

  1. understands why craving creates unhappiness and wish to get a hold of it
  2. practice loving kindness (including loving oneself)
  3. appreciate the preciousness of their human existence

Purpose

This meditation is a cure for self attachment. I tend to do this meditation when I become “careless” and take life for granted. Being overly “intoxicated” with life.

It is meant to lessen our craving and attachment to our body and self. For example, when one is overly attached to one’s physical apprarance and beauty.

Alternatively it can also benefit people who are prone to self depreciation or self conciousness on their “shortcoming” in light of media “mis-information”. For people who feel that their body is imperfect, example too thin, too fat in contrast to media standards.

Objective

This meditation should result in a peaceful and appreciative acceptance of our physical body.

  1. conditions inherent to our physical body – devoid of conventional “beauty”
  2. preciousness of our physical body – provide us human experience that is constuctive for spiritual practice that leads to enlightenment.
  3. Simplistic joy and acceptance of ourselves (no judgement, we are as we are)

IMPORTANT

Foremost it is important to know that Buddhism does not teach us to hate ourselves.

Practising this meditation should not cause the mind to swing into the opposite direction of adversity and self loathing.

How to practice

  • Find a suitable place to settle your mind into a peaceful and calm state. Preferably in meditation posture.
  • Bring your mind conciousness to your own body.
  • Reflect on all the hairs on your body. The hairs are part of our body. Mentally imagine that your hairs (including body hairs) fall off your body into a heap. That heap of hair imagined to be placed in front of you in a pile. (just like how the barber or hair stylist would sweep your hair into a heap after a hair cut)
  • Imagine the nails on your hands and feet drop off into a heap too. Whether you have nail polish or not, doesn’t matter. It drops off into a heap. not exactly very appealing now. One heap of hair and one heap of nails next to it.
  • Imagine your teeths drops off next. No more beautiful smile. Teeths are just teeths. They now form another heap. So one heap of hair, one heap of nails, one heap of teeths. (In these way, we use our imagination to deconstruct ourselves and place our body parts into heaps and mentally imagine these heaps in front of us.
  • In the same manner, various body parts will be taken apart mentally and place in front of us. The following sequence is how I deconstruct myself using my imagination.
  • Skin on the body. (Yup, its kinda of getting gross as you go on. If your start to experience fear or any adverse mental condition, do not continue. Otherwise, this is simply a mental exercise like dissection in biology – BUT using imagination only)
  • Brains
  • eye balls
  • tongue
  • heart
  • lungs
  • intestine
  • sex organ
  • blood (imagine its in a jar)
  • mixture of body fluid ( fats, mucus, urine etc in a jar – a gooey mess)
  • flesh
  • bones and skull
  • At this point, you would have imagine your physical body in piles of different parts in front of you. Mental imagery created with imagination. Mentally regard these body part as they are. Neither good nor bad. They are just as thay are. Once deconstructed, the “beautiful” self that we are so attached to is just like that. Peacefull acceptance. This is truth. The conventional idea of beauty, deconstructed. The conventional idea of self, deconstructed. At these point, there should be a peace and relaxed mental state, since you let go the burden of self. (If not, nevermind, don’t force it. That mental state will come gradually, maybe next time)
  • Then for “recovery”. Just bring awareness of self back to your physical body. All “parts” in front of you had disappeared and assembled theselves into you again. Mentally reflect,
    • This precious human body is hard to obtain, it is as it is.
    • When there is birth, there is death. All is impermanent
    • May I be well and happy.
    • May I be enlightened in this life”

Feel appreciation and joy of your self and body, precious human existence. Accepting yourself as you are.

  • That ends the meditation.

I find this meditation useful to me and I hope you like it too. Last but not least, remember to practice in a balance manner. (middle path approach)

 

 

 

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