Meditation on Perception (pp. 59-64)
The Healing Process with Perception of Impurities
When we meditate on the parts of the body, we see the body as it is, neither attractive nor unattractive. This is called “seeing the body with the wisdom of equanimity.” We still care for our body as before but now with a realistic perception that what we are taking care of is constantly changing.
By seeing the body as it is changing, we also realize that we are and will continue to experience the changes of aging – gradual loss of function be it strength, balance, vision, or hearing. We can view this with equanimity because our body is not our “self.” “When we relinquish attachment to our body, our suffering decreases and we become calm.” P. 64
Having taken care of our stress and anxiety about the deterioration of the body, we can use mindfulness and concentration to pay attention to these changes to effect healing. It is known scientifically, that when the mind is in a state of happiness, certain chemicals such as oxytocin are released in the brain which can cause healing. (Buddha’s Brain by Rick Hanson and Richard Mendius. p. 127).
Joseph Goldstein cites a classic Buddhist reflection that addresses the truth: “That which is subject to illness grows ill. That which is subject to aging ages and then dies. And I am not exempt.” (Inquiring Mind Spring 2015 p. 43)
“Sometimes it is possible to focus our mind on a defective part with a strong power of visualization and accelerate its healing. However, when we diligently understand the body and its parts, we are not overly emotional and upset if healing does not occur and remain calm even at the thought of death.” Page 64.
- Reread this talk daily. Try focusing your mind on a part of the body that is not functioning well. What do you experience?
- Keep the reflection in mind: “That which is subject to illness grows ill. That which is subject to aging ages and then dies. And I am not exempt.” Can you see the freedom in this?
- During your meditation practice, allow for some time to meditate on impurities to keep in perspective about what the body is and isn’t.