Feeling and discerning the body like Buddha taught is not that easy and simple, though it might sound like it is. Obviously, there is no enigma or mystery in the words “Feeling and discerning the body,” yet, many people found it almost impossible to master this task. Many people are only able to discern their body to the chest; anything below that is invisible for them. Some might be able to know the belly but then they lose connection and awareness of the upper body.
The proper way to discern the body is to clearly know and notice all of the body from head, abdomen, to toe. However, in the beginning, if the practitioners force themselves to “know it all,” it will create a lot of strains and stress to their brains. Thus, new practitioners are only encouraged to discern the bodies up to chest and belly to get their minds used to that pattern. Only by discerning that (to the belly), the mind will start to calm down and become more concentrated and ready to expand the awareness to further parts of the body.
But why do practitioners have to clearly discern their bodies?
This is the extraordinary discovery of Buddha that science will have a proper explanation one day. As a matter of fact, the brain and the body are closely connected and related. When practitioners are mindful and aware of the body, they will also strengthen their cognitive ability and their mental mindfulness and tranquility.
Interestingly, the Brainstem is responsible to concentrate and calm the mind in meditation. Located in the back of our head, it is the connection between the spinal cord and the upper part of the human brain. This very region is responsible for basic human function, such as breathing, heartbeats, eating, and consciousness (eating or sleeping). More importantly, the brainstem is also in charge of regulating brain activities (regulate the central nervous system), this function is highly used in meditation to calm and regulate thoughts. Damaging or swollen to this part of the brain will make people lose the ability to control and regulate their thoughts and mental activities, which leads to the dangerous level of stress, anxiety, and could potentially lead to suicide. Recent research indicated that the abnormalities in Locus Coeruleus, the part of the Brainstem that is responsible for stress and panic reaction, is closely related to depression and anxiety disorders.
There are many reasons that lead to the swollen of the brainstem. According to many Eastern schools of medication, when the inner vital force does not dwell in the lower part of the body but flowing up towards the head, the brain stem will be swollen. The arrogance and egotism also make the brainstem swollen.
When practitioners discern their bodies, with focus on their lower body, their inner vital force will dwell down there, which helps to keep the brainstem healthy and contracted. Contracted brainstem helps to turn off all the aimless thought and disturbing activities of the brain. Thus, discerning the body in meditation, though can sounds very simple, is actually a perfect wisdom of the Buddhas and the key to all of the miraculous results in meditation.
– Breathing in, I am discerning and feeling my whole body.
– Breathing out, I am discerning and feeling my whole body.
Furthermore, Buddha once said that “There is not a single spot in my body that is not filled with the transcendent mindfulness.” Only a person that has attained the absolute wisdom and enlightenment could say such words, that their bodies are filled with the brightest kind of mindfulness. But, if every single spot in His body are clearly discerned, then even the sensitive areas (genital) are discerned too?
The answer is yes, but ones should understand that every single spot in His body is absolute pure like a driven snow and solemn like a holy land. This is the result of countless previous lives, He had refused the mundane lives and sexual pleasure. Thus, when he became the Greatest Saint of the Universe, his body is filled with light and purity.
In the topic of discerning some sensitive areas, there is the interesting spot in the body called “Hui Yin” spot, or perineum in English. Many people actually called this spot a Million-Dollar point because of its benefits to the health. It is a soft spot between the anus and the external genitalia of the body. Many people consider it a very end and the lowest point of the body since the feet are only parts of the limbs. When ones’ awareness has reached to this Hui Yin spot, their brainstem will become extremely healthy. That will help them to concentrate their minds much greater during meditation. At a higher level of meditation, this is a great spot to dwell practitioners’ mindfulness in. They will see their breaths in and out here; their thoughts arise and end here. Just by dwelling to Hui Yin, ones could observe and discern all of their bodies and minds. However, even then, practitioners shall not forget to pay attention to the upper part of the body and the whole body.
Overall, this is the higher step for practitioners when they reach to the Right Mindfulness stage. Before practitioners discern their bodies through sensitive parts (like genital area), they must have the strong foundation in cultivating the sexual abstinence so they are still able to remain calm and stable when paying attention to those areas.
Furthermore, when the mind becomes calmer and brighter, most practitioners will have the illusion that the belly is inflated bigger than it actually is. When going through this, practitioners should carefully and skillfully remain their awareness at the actual skin of the belly; never let the consciousness and awareness leave the actual skin and body because of such illusion.