The term "mindfulness" stresses the importance of the mind in meditation--but as Johnson points out in this cogent, if slightly repetitive, book, thebody is just as important for successful meditative practice. Propermeditation demands that the body be aligned, relaxed, and resilient. Thebody must fully participate in order to "create a condition in the mind thatis naturally awake, aware, and mindful." Johnson first discusses thesensations that are everywhere present in our bodies (though often silenced),and then moves on to suggest techniques for cultivating "embodiedmindfulness"-including exercises that callattention to one particular finger, or the scalp of the head.
Johnsoncompares the posture of meditation to a stool with three legs, which arealignment, relaxation, and resilience. Alignment and relaxation encouragethe realization that the body is fluid, not solid, while resilience allowsfor the body to engage in "free and unhindered motion" during meditation--afar cry from hours spent aching in the full lotus position. Throughout,Johnson comments shrilly on how our culture's dependence upon telephones,televisions, and the Internet has led to a profound loss of embodiment. Readers may wish to skip over the diatribe and begin with the practical exercises, which do help set the stage for mindful meditation.