What’s Most Ordinary

Ajahn Sumedho

What’s Most Ordinary

Now for the next hour we’ll do the walking practice, using the motion of walking as the object of concentration, bringing your attention to the movement of your feet and the pressure of the feet touching the ground.

You can use the mantra ‘Buddho’ for that also – ‘Bud’ for the right, ‘-dho’ for the left, using the span of the joṅgrom path. See if you can be fully with, fully alert to the sensation of walking from the beginning of the joṅgrom path to the end. Use an ordinary pace, then you can slow it down or speed it up accordingly. Develop a normal pace because our meditation moves around the ordinary things rather than the special.

We use the ordinary breath, not a special ‘breathing practice’; the sitting posture rather than standing on our heads; normal walking rather than running, jogging or walking methodically slowly – just a relaxed pace. We’re practising around what’s most ordinary because we take it for granted. But now we’re bringing our attention to all the things we’ve taken for granted and never noticed, such as our own minds and bodies.

Even doctors trained in physiology and anatomy are not really with their bodies. They sleep with their bodies; they’re born with their bodies; they grow old, have to live with them, feed them, exercise them, and yet they’ll tell you about a liver as if it was on a chart. It’s easier to look at a liver on a chart than to be aware of your own liver, isn’t it?

So we look at the world as if somehow we aren’t a part of it, and what’s most ordinary, what’s most common, we miss because we’re looking at what’s extraordinary.

This reflection by Luang Por Sumdedho is from the book, Mindfulness, The Path to the Deathless, (pdf) pp. 59-60.