I continue to flip through Reginald Ray’s Touching Enlightenment: Finding Realization in the Body after completing it several weeks ago.
Ray is a Tibetan practitioner in the lineage of Chogyman Trungpa Rinpoche, the founder of Naropa University. His book on the connection between somatic awareness and meditation is one of the finest I’ve come across. It’s apparent from his descriptions about sensing the body and reading its many subtle messages that his writing is based on experience. The book offers innumerable insights, descriptions, and examinations on the body/mind connection. In short, he’s nailed the topic.
Too often, meditators attempt to control mind, to somehow cage and silence monkey mind. We get caught in the parade of thoughts and busy ourselves by engaging with them. Coming to know the body and achieving an expansive, peaceful sense of self is not about control; it’s about surrender. During meditation, give in. Sit quietly. Breathe. Observe. Feel. No need to get anxious about whether what you’re doing is right or wrong. Breathe fully. Invite breath into the entirety of your lungs and into your belly and pelvis. The body takes it from there.
Here’s a quote from his chapter, “The Body’s Own Agenda:”
The body doesn’t just know us flawlessly; the body is – as we shall see – nothing other than our own totality. It is our deeper self calling us home, and it knows exactly how this journey needs to unfold….
This, and innumerable other lines, paragraphs, entire chapters, are the sorts of reminders Ray offers. With great sensitivity to language and felt experience, he shows us how to embody ourselves, how to abide in spacious awareness, and how the experience ties into Buddhist practice. I highly recommend this book to beginning and advanced meditators and somatic practitioners.