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#756581 - 04/12/12 04:26 PM Mini-Review - The Posture of Meditation
Lisa - Buddhism Offline

BellaOnline Editor
Parakeet

Registered: 12/16/08
Posts: 1185
Loc: Los Angeles, CA
Occasionally I post 'mini-reviews' here in the forum of books that I like but don't necessarily want to devote an entire article to reviewing. Today's book is The Posture of Meditation: A Practical Manual for Meditators of All Traditions by Will Johnson.

This is a little book (just 100 pages) focusing on three components of any meditation posture - relaxation, alignment, and resilience. It connects each of these to states of mind, for example, exploring the parts of our body that tense when our mind is busy, and the ways correct alignment aids a natural relaxation. The premise is really that by working with these three aspects of the body, one will discover a natural state where all 3 are balanced, and in this state, the mind is also balanced. This is the entrance point into deeper states of meditation. The author also discusses phases of meditation, and how as new things surface during our meditations we can notice a corresponding reaction in our body, and work to release it there. He offers several exercises for working with these themes.

The book does not give detailed guidance on specific meditation postures from different traditions, i.e. lotus vs. zazen, etc., or guidance on meditation techniques. Instead, it is really focused on ways to discover these three components of relaxation, alignment and resilience in any meditation posture, and on how to use this in tandem with working with the mind. The book also does not put forth a particular spiritual perspective, although I would say it is more Buddhist in its perspective than any other tradition.

So for beginning meditators, this is really a book to be used alongside formal meditation instruction or another book on the meditation. But it is a book that I think anyone meditating within any tradition will find something to appreciate and use.
_________________________
Lisa Erickson, Buddhism Editor
Buddhism Site
Teaching and Private Session Website: Enlightened Energetics
Blog: Mommy Mystic

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#757113 - 04/15/12 12:20 AM Re: Mini-Review - The Posture of Meditation [Re: Lisa - Buddhism]
Lisa - Buddhism Offline

BellaOnline Editor
Parakeet

Registered: 12/16/08
Posts: 1185
Loc: Los Angeles, CA
I decided to add some passages to this thread from the book, as I think they have a lot of value. Here's the first one I think will be very helpful to people:

"In many spiritual traditions the body is presented as an impediment to attainment. Attachment to, and identification with, the body are seen as one of the major obstacles to experiencing the goals of the practice. One of the unfortunate consequences of this understanding, however, has been to bring a great deal of tension and holding into the body as an unconscious strategy to break one's attachment to the body by blocking out awareness of it."

I have seen this happen a lot with meditators in the early days of their practice. I think it is a particular problem with Westerners because we tend to think of spirituality as philosophical understanding - as something based in the intellect or in mental 'beliefs'. So there is often an approach to meditation as solely as 'mental' activity.

There is so much value in truly experiencing mind and body as just different aspects of energy on the same spectrum, and as working together. Particularly when it comes to posture in meditation, when you find a position with an alignment that is natural for you, there is a corresponding natural relaxation that occurs in the body, and that relaxes the mind also...
_________________________
Lisa Erickson, Buddhism Editor
Buddhism Site
Teaching and Private Session Website: Enlightened Energetics
Blog: Mommy Mystic

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#759643 - 04/27/12 06:14 PM Re: Mini-Review - The Posture of Meditation [Re: Lisa - Buddhism]
Lisa - Buddhism Offline

BellaOnline Editor
Parakeet

Registered: 12/16/08
Posts: 1185
Loc: Los Angeles, CA
I wanted to share a another passage from this book, as I think it will help many meditators. I have been experimenting with some of this author's exercises in the meditation classes I teach, and many people have been amazed with the results.

One exercise anyone can try - whether you sit in a chair or floor meditation posture - is gently rocking back and forth once established in your meditation posture, and gradually making your rocks smaller and smaller, attempting to 'feel' your perfect posture from the inside, rather than attempting to mimic perfect posture from the 'outside', based on an idea you have in your head. Particular areas of your spine to check for alignment are your pelvic bowl, ribs, and chin, as we tend to either contract back or extend forward at these three areas, all of which cause pressure on our spine.

Here the author talks about the natural feeling of energy moving upward that occurs when you achieve alignment - your mind will naturally settle more easily also, which is the whole point...

��if a human body is able to come to balance not by exerting unnecessary muscular effort, but by establishing a predominantly vertical structure, then that body can begin to liberate [the life] force�.When through a gesture of profound relaxation, this force is activated, it may initially cause chills in the body, or the body may tremble or quiver. Sometimes it may feel as if you are being drawn up by some mysterious force analogous to the force of gravity, yet opposite to it in its direction of pull and influence."
_________________________
Lisa Erickson, Buddhism Editor
Buddhism Site
Teaching and Private Session Website: Enlightened Energetics
Blog: Mommy Mystic

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#759712 - 04/28/12 12:59 AM Re: Mini-Review - The Posture of Meditation [Re: Lisa - Buddhism]
loong Offline
Gecko

Registered: 03/09/12
Posts: 417
Loc: Mt Tremblant,quebec ,can
To Lisa,

Thank you.

Respectfully yours

_/\_
loong

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