embodied practice: four foundations of mindfulness

3jewels.winterimmersion.faith1As sangha opened the 2016 Winter Immersion series last week with the 5 Spiritual Faculties, I pointed back (as I often do) to the Four Foundations of Mindfulness to anchor us in the spacious awareness of body, breath, emotions, and mental formations as we develop and strengthen Concentration and Diligence/Effort.

Here are a few resources on the Buddhist discourses on the Mindfulness of Breathing (Ānāpānasati Sutta) and the Foundations of Mindfulness (Satipaṭṭhāna Sutta). This list was originally compiled for a previous post on the wisdom of the exhale.

3 Jewels Yoga

Bhante G

Gil Fronsdal

Updated 15 February 2019

Perspectives on the 5 Spiritual Faculties

image

The Five Spiritual Faculties are a vital part of my personal practice — invoked as a mantra, they are an aspirational reminder to ground and center myself in these noble attributes. When we water the seeds of Faith/Trust, Discernment/Wisdom, Mindfulness, Concentration, Diligence/Effort, these skills blossom into indelible powers that strengthen our capacity to transform our unskillfulness and protect ourselves against unskillfulness of others.

READINGS

Indriya-vibhanga Sutta: Analysis of the Mental Faculties by Thanissaro Bhikku

The Way of Wisdom: The 5 Spiritual Faculties by Edward Conze

The Five Faculties by Gil Fronsdal

Spiritual Faculties by Ayya Khema

The 5 Spiritual Faculties via Wisdom Through Mindfulness

*The photo above is my rendering of an image found on the Wisdom Through Mindfulness website.

embodied practice: aum + amen | wisdom of the exhale

Early in my asana practice, I encountered difficulty with taking the oft-instructed “deep inhale.” It felt forced and counterintuitive to my body’s wisdom and capacity to draw air into my lungs. What resonated more with me was to develop an intimate understanding of my breath (rather than changing or controlling it through pranayama, specific yoga breathing exercises) as I’d learned through my Buddhist practice of mindfulness. 

Spending quiet time witnessing my breath, I came to understand how it moved through my body and how my body, heart and mind responded to the movement of each breath. I experienced the multidimensional aspects of breath: the nurturing, energizing, and replenishing qualities of my inhale; the centering, soothing and relaxing qualities of my exhale; and, in the nearly imperceptible pause between the inhale and exhale, where breath organically and effortlessly transforms, I discovered the sensations of steadiness, equanimity, and surrender.

The more I relaxed into the rhythm and flow of breath, the more I came to cherish the cleansing, clearing power of the exhale. It, in fact, created space for my inhale to arise completely without restraint. A deep sense of ease prevailed, bringing with it the wisdom of the exhale–to soften all forms of gripping (muscles to bones, ideas, feelings, thoughts) and to release whatever did not serve me in the moment.

Embodied Practice: Touching the Wisdom of the Exhale by Chanting Aum or Amen

Sit with the breath,
Noticing the exhale arising from the pit of the pelvis.
Invite its embodied wisdom to permeate every cell and fiber—
It is the vehicle through which we release 
the toxins/waste products of oxygen,
So too let all tension/toxins of body, heart and mind be released
Upward and outward with the cleansing,
clearing flow of the exhale.

Hear and feel the exhale take shape
as the seed sound Aum or Amen.

Chant it out loud three times, enjoying the pause in between and the sweet sensation of its release.
Abide calmly in the deep and expansive wave of relief.

Related

Here are a few resources on the Buddhist discourses on the Mindfulness of Breathing (Ānāpānasati Sutta) and the Foundations of Mindfulness (Satipaṭṭhāna Sutta).

 Bhante G

Gil Fronsdal