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"Q&A: Mind and Body"
Transcript of a talk delivered by Br. ChiSing
Awakening Heart Sangha (Community of Mindful Living)
May 17, 2007 - Dallas, Texas

In our practice we're not trying to annihilate our thoughts. We simply first observe everything just as it is, and as we begin to relax into the vast spaciousness of who we are, we can just observe the thoughts coming out and coming in and going out, but we no longer identify or cling to those thoughts.

From the point of view of the ego, the separate self, we are these thoughts and these stories and we want to, like, "stop." But if we simply dis-identify with that ego separate self and realize that we are this vast spacious awareness, that dis-identifcation automatically slows down the thoughts because the thoughts no longer have a basis for power. Their power comes from our belief in the importance of these stories.

When we realize we aren't even these stories at all, it eludes that power and they automatically slow down and eventually they just stop all together. But we don't have to concern ourselves with trying to stop them. We just simply let go and be who we really are.

And that's what's most important: is to relax into who we really are, which is beyond thoughts, beyond identities, beyond stories, and just pure beingness and awareness. So that's really our practice, just to relax into that which we already are. We don't need to attack the thoughts directly. If we just relax into who we are, those thoughts and stories lose their power and energy, and they just simply rest, by themselves.

And as far as the body is concerned… It's important to try out all of the basic instructions that teachers and facilitators give. Try them out, practice at home. And find a posture that is comfortable to just stay in without moving for twenty minutes. And then, just keep doing that, if it's a reasonable posture. And eventually, you'll relax into just the right posture, as you get to know your own body.

But what I have found that really helped with that process is to go to a five-day retreat. I'm serious. Because it takes five days to relax your mind and body enough to just let everything be as it is. So, if you haven't had the opportunity yet to go on at least a five-day retreat, I hope that you will make that intention that someday you will do this for yourself, for the sake of the world. It's a very wonderful practice. If you're brave enough you might want to do a ten-day, but, five days is good enough. And if you're afraid of doing a five-day, try out a weekend or to. So, just do it. Just do it.

Personally, I like the half-lotus posture and having my hands relaxed right on top of my heel with my back upright, lower back slightly forward, shoulders relaxed back, chin tucked in slightly, eyes half-closed. Breathing from the abdomen in a relaxed natural way. And then just being with whatever pains come and go, and not letting them control me.

Unless of course it's an emergency pain, that's, like, saying, "This is not good for you." But I haven't really found those kinds of pains that much. I used to have it in my lower back, but now it's relaxed. So most of the pain is just in my legs, and now they're just sensations. Sometimes my legs fall asleep, once in awhile. And that's OK. It's not the end of the world. And I can love my feet afterwards, by mindfully massaging them, just thanking them for being there.

Transcribed by Alessandra and Chelsea German

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