Recently, there was an interchange on a mindfulness listserve about the appropriateness and/or usefulness of movement during meditation (rocking, swaying, etc.). John Astin of the Baumann Institute offered this very important insight to practice:
Apropos this whole discussion about rocking during meditation and what it might mean, I thought I would share the following…
Whether the body is relatively still and motionless or whether it is rocking and moving about, awareness is present as that which knows both stillness and movement. And the same for “mind” – i.e., whether it is still and in a state of relative quiescence or the mind is filled with restlessness and agitation, awareness remains as that which knows all mental-emotional states and experiences, regardless of their description or label.
Based on my own experience and also my observation of many others involved in various contemplative practices, we can often, even unwittingly, end up equating awareness or mindfulness with particular states (such as bodily or mental stillness). However, no matter the meditative approach we may take up, from my perspective, the crucial point is to recognize the stable, ever-present nature of awareness itself, the light of consciousness which effortlessly illuminates all moments, regardless of how those moments may be defined. For whether we call what we’re doing right now, “meditation” or “non-meditation,” each moment is pervaded by awareness.
For me, meditation or any other practice we might take up is not so much about finding awareness but rather recognizing its inescapability.
John Astin, PhD, Executive Director
The Baumann Institute
1770 Post Street, #185
San Francisco, CA 94115