Opening or Collapsing to Experience

Luang Por Pasanno • June 2013

As we apply our practice to the circumstances in which we find ourselves—whether we are working in the kitchen, out on the trails, or in the office—we apply mindfulness to the present moment while also connecting and establishing our continuity of mindfulness to the posture of the body. There’s a natural tendency, as we engage in our work, to move forward and hunch. We can make this habit conscious, re-grounding and reconnecting with the body by opening up the chest and breathing comfortably. We are not trying to strut around with a military posture—we can open the body, the chest, and the heart base by expanding our posture. Another way to see it is opening up our presence to how we engage with the world around us.

With the habit to collapse in and slump forward we can try to continually bring in that sense of an expanding and spacious presence. We can pose little questions to ourselves as reminders: Am I present? Am I here? If we do this, we end up acquiring a continuity of awareness that is then brought into our sitting meditation. When we are sitting in meditation, if we are slumping and collapsing our posture and not really putting effort into the present moment, we tend to collapse in the mind as well. Ajahn Chah put a lot of emphasis on continuity and steadiness in practice and training. This is shown in the little things that we do and not in some sort of major heroic activity. We continue to place our attention on the body and the present moment with a sense of opening. It’s an important attitude to carry into our daily practice.