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Clips / Experiencing the Body in the Body

Thich Nhat Hanh

The Pali expression, “kaye kaya anupassana”, the body in the body, contemplation of the body in the body. And you do that right in the beginning. When you begin to practise mindful breathing, don’t consider your in-breath as something outside of your mind. Experiencing my in-breath, I breathe in; experiencing my out-breath, I breathe out. You become one with your in-breath. You become one with your out-breath. You don’t stand outside. So during the time of breathing in, you don’t stay as an outside observer to observe your in-breath, no. You don’t recognise, “This is my in-breath, and this is me observing my in-breath”. That’s not correct. You have to be one: experiencing my in-breath, I breathe in; experiencing my out-breath, I breathe out. And when you come to the body, you do the same: experiencing my body, I breathe in. So, you become your body. And because your in-breath and out-breath have become calm, more peaceful, your body will become naturally calm, more calm, and peaceful. And you don’t have to do anything. You don’t have to force your breath. You don’t have to force your body. So, the expression “working on our breath” is not correct. It’s not working on our breath just being with our breath. And mindfulness will do the thing that you wanted to do.

It’s like the sunshine. The sunshine does not seem to do anything at all. But the sunshine is just there with the vegetation, embracing the vegetation. Not trying to do anything. And then there is a transformation, starting with the vegetation. The chlorophyll is being made, just because of the sunshine. So mindfulness is the same. Mindfulness is like the sunshine; when mindfulness is there embracing, participating, everything will change. Not only the feelings and emotions will change, but your body will change also.

There is the practice of deep total relaxation proposed to you by the Buddha, and this is like scanning the body in the lying position or in the sitting position. You use the ray of mindfulness in order to scan your body. Experiencing my eyes, I breathe in; smiling to my eyes, I breathe out. And during that time, mindfulness is holding your eyes, recognising the presence of your eyes. And you begin from the top of your head and go down to the toes. And it may take 30 minutes scanning the body with the ray of mindfulness, and you recognise every part of your body, smile to it, and allow it to relax. And when you come to an organ, a place that is ailing, you are advised to stay longer. Embracing the part, the ailing part of your body, with the energy of mindfulness, holding, participating. And mindfulness is the energy that can relax, that can heal. And you can stay with that ailling part of your body as long as you wish; recognising it, embracing it, and understanding of that will come, and the healing will come also. Of course, you may like to use some medicines, but mindfulness is a very wonderful energy that has the power of recognising, embracing, healing and transforming. There is a Sutra, a scripture, on the topic of the contemplation of the body in the body.

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