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No body, no mind

Every month I like to have an overriding mantra to work with and this month it's "no body, no mind". Now this might sound like crazy talk, but it's a pointer on ways to go deep, even if I don't actually get there. It seems obvious that we have a body and a mind but the world is full of mirages and we might like to entertain the idea that this is one of them - think of a rainbow.

So then, how to see these things for ourselves. If we sit still for long enough, then the awareness of the body gradually disappears - the body vanishes. When this happens we have arrived somewhere interesting; namely that there is the physical body, and then there is the awareness of it - the mental impression of it. It's this mental impression that causes the body to vanish.

Now, we might go further and explore other mental impressions or perceptions that arise and pass away. If we sit with it long enough, then we might scare ourselves into the thought "that nothing is real" - we just think it into existence. Scarily (or thrillingly), we might realise that even the mind itself is just one these - a perception, or mirage.

Perhaps we might not walk around with this in our thoughts all day long, but sometimes it is interesting to try and get to grips with these things - who are we really?

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It all starts with the body. Your body is your greatest asset.

Take a seat somewhere. Go inside your body and take a relaxing breath. Become aware of your body. Start at the feet and then expand from there. Sense your awareness of the body growing - become aware of the feet and legs; then feet, legs and torso; then feet, legs, torso, arms and hands. Have a sense of energy growing through the body.

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During the day: try it standing up, or in everyday situations. Notice what undermines your attempts to do the practice.

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1. Find somewhere quiet and comfortable.

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3. Your mind will wander off.

4. Cultivate a laissez faire attitude to what is going on. Let things come and go. Return to gently to your object.


Do this for 10-15 minutes to begin with. Observe any relaxation that may occur: your body giving way, the mind calming.

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