It is easy to forget the role that posture plays in meditation. If you are not sitting comfortably, restlessness may arise. If you don’t notice that connection, you finish meditating and conclude, “Gee, my mind was really restless.” But was it actually the mind that was restless or was that feeling there because the body was uncomfortable? Start to pay attention to body and mind; we have to meditate with both of those things.
There is the potential for meditation to turn into a cerebral process. We think too much about what we should or shouldn’t be doing as meditators. It is quite helpful to bring attention to the body—relaxing the body, softening it, energizing it, paying attention to it. Mindfulness of the body is the first foundation of mindfulness. The body is the most solid material element that the Buddha instructs us to be attentive to—at least the body is in the present moment, which is a big thing!
So often our minds wander off into the future or back into the past, or spin around in the present. We want to anchor attention in the body: “Okay, here I am, sitting in meditation. This is what I feel like right now. This is the bodily experience in this moment. This is the posture I am in.” Actually, attention to the different types of postures is one of the foundations of mindfulness. We know when we are sitting, standing, walking, lying down, moving, talking, going through the calls of nature, whatever. There is attention to the bodily experience of what we are actually doing.
This reflection by Luang Por Pasanno is from the book, Don’t Hold Back, (pdf) pp.27-28.