“The whole universe appears and disappears right here, in this body”. This sentence of the Buddha is the starting point of the path proposed by Martin Aylward to guide us, through our lives, through embodied presence. The possibility of a totally free human existence is held back by goals, addiction to stimulation, comfort… “We don't control what happens to us or how we react to it”. Accepting this truth is a great relief. In meditation, there is nothing to accomplish. In an ashram in India, a saddhu, Babaji, taught the author that presence does not depend on a particular experience, but simply on the quality of attention, moment after moment.
We are invited, here, to understand our thirst for satisfaction rather than constantly wanting to satisfy our instincts. We constantly judge our social image or that of our body, according to cultural and family conditioning. Yet there is nothing to obtain, nothing to eliminate. We must welcome and explore our being. To contemplate bodily life, Theravada Buddhism uses six methods: breathing, posture, activity, by becoming aware of the different functions of the parts of the body, by relating them to the elements and, finally, by contemplating our life. in light of our future death.
To explore inward and then outward, until you identify with the entire cosmos, is the full expression of love. Four Pali words qualify the putting into practice of our body of love. Martin Aylward translates them in his own words: put, the love that cares; karuna, love that responds, compassion; mudita, the love that rejoices, the fundamental benevolence; upekha, equanimity, or the heart as wide as the world. Everything we call 'me' and 'world' takes place here, in our physical, affective, perceptual, mental-emotional and conscious experience. "Your body is the universe", concludes the author