This week, we begin a series of posts on the theme of Bright. Here, Chris Yeomans explains how the adjustment of bodily postures, helps us to maintain a bright mind, even in the midst of grief.
There often occurs in the teaching the injunction to ‘sit with a bright mind’ and I find myself wondering what we can do to help ourselves to embrace this. And this is particularly relevant at a time when we are all feeling such sadness that we have, this week, lost a great teacher and a friend with the death of a dear monk of our Order. How to be bright and sad at the same time without devaluing our mourning?
What I have found helpful is to remind myself that body and mind are one and indivisible. If we relax the muscles of our face, we can manage a small smile. If we open our eyes a little wider, perhaps lift our eyebrows, then we do indeed feel brighter. It helps to ‘walk tall’ or, on the bench, to sit tall. And to feel an openness in the chest and back, which enables our mind to be more accepting. These are all little things which I was also taught to do when fighting sleep during the meditation and which I have found really do help.
In my experience, this does not diminish the sadness. But it allows me to hold it, as it were, in the circle of my arms, with a lightness and a tenderness that no longer pulls me down.
Brightness is a part of our practice and we can look for those things that help us, both in ourselves and in the world around us.