Synchronizing Mind and Body

I am working on my assignment for Shambhala Training II. I have to write one page answers to five questions. The first question is:

What does it mean for mind and body to be synchronized? Give an example. What does this have to do with meditation practice?

I reread the chapter of Sacred Path of the Warrior by Chogyam Trungpa called Synchronizing Mind and Body. Here’s my answer:

Synchronizing mind and body is the way a human being uses his sense perceptions correctly and effectively. Synchronizing the mind and body also implies working with the universe, being connected through our bodies (senses) with the world.

The two stage process of synchronization begins with looking, listening, and touching. These are our first projections, the initial impressions of our senses.

If we hold our awareness and focus we can move to the second stages, which are seeing, hearing, and feeling. We begin to see, hear, and feel more of our world. Our apprecation grows and so does the richness of the world.

In 2003 I visited the Guggenheim Museum in NYC to see the James Rosenquist retrospective. Several times I passed one particular painting with only a brief glance. The painting was visible from the circular ramp but seemed too busy for me, even if it was strikingly huge. Stowaway Peers Out at the Speed of Light is 46 feet wide and 17 feet tall. Rosenquist used to work as a billboard painter and it showed in this painting.

On my way out I stopped on the ramp where I could look again at the painting. The swirl of colors was confusing. Even from the walkway I was too close, maybe thirty feet.

But instead of turning away from the disconcerting jumble of color I continued to look. I looked at all of it I could. It resembled graffiti. I mentally noted any details I could. It was made up of several panels. The color red was prominent. The left side was painted with large circular strokes. The right side was covered with short strokes and a variety of colors.

The longer I looked the more I saw in the mess of colors. The short strokes on the right side also created longer straight lines leading to the center. The large circular lines on the left side were being threaded by long straight lines, also leading to (or from) the center.

My heart beat faster and I cried. By focusing my attention I was able to synchronize my perception of the painting with my awareness of the painting. There was so much to see.

In meditation practice, I focus my attention on my breath. In the first stage I listen to and touch my breathing. I notice my chest expanding. I hear the air rush through my nose. I feel the coolness on my nostrils when I inhale. As I breathe out, I feel the warmth on my nostrils and my chest collapse.

When a thought arises I practice touch and go ?. I touch the thought by noticing how it feels, what it concerns, or how it is similar/different from other thoughts.

Then I let the thought go ?. I label it thinking ? and bring my attention back to my breathe.

Breathing and thinking are fundemental human activities, an inextricable part of life. By looking at these activities I am able to see the richness and beauty of life. Meditation synchronizes mind and body, cultivating apprecation and connectedness.

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