2016-06-30
The term "mindfulness" stresses the importance of the mind in meditation-- but as Johnson points out in this cogent, if slightly repetitive, book, the body is just as important for successful meditative practice. Proper meditation demands that the body be aligned, relaxed, and resilient. The body must fully participate in order to "create a condition in the mind that is naturally awake, aware, and mindful." Johnson first discusses the sensations that are everywhere present in our bodies (though often silenced), and then moves on to suggest techniques for cultivating "embodied mindfulness"-including exercises that call attention to one particular finger, or the scalp of the head.

Johnson compares the posture of meditation to a stool with three legs, which are alignment, relaxation, and resilience. Alignment and relaxation encourage the realization that the body is fluid, not solid, while resilience allows for the body to engage in "free and unhindered motion" during meditation--a far 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.



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