Using the Body to Heal the Mind

By Luangpor Thong Abhakaro

The body and mind are in partnership.  Everybody in this world must have body and mind.  No one can survive with mind or body alone.  They are inseparable from each other.  If they are separated, that means we are dead.  Since we are alive as human beings, we have body and mind.  We should use the body to heal the mind and we should learn how to make good use of having them together.  But if we don’t have a good method or a right method, we may misuse the body and mind or the body may be unable to heal the mind.  Therefore, once the Buddha discovered the true method, he then taught us how to heal the body, how to use the body to heal the mind and use the mind to heal the body.

Some people have normal body but he mind is abnormal, some have normal mind but the body is not normal.  These two things (body and mind) are co-existing but function unevenly, unequally.  If we knew or understood the method to heal the mind and the body as the Buddha had taught, we would see the body, we would see the mind.  As we heal the body, we also heal the mind.  Therefore the Buddha taught us to know or to catch up with our body, to catch up with our mind by developing awareness of our body.  If we have awareness of the body, we will have awareness of the mind too.  So the Buddha taught us to observe our body, to be aware of our body and all our bodily movements.

Awareness (Sati) is the feeling at the moment that we are moving or as we are working; we are just aware.  That is awareness (Sati).  Most of us forget our body and cannot see our mind; we forget our mind.  To put it simply, we are living with Moha (delusion), Avijja (ignorance) and unawareness.  Therefore, the Buddha and the wise one told us to live with Panna (wisdom).  Without Panna, we cannot see our body, cannot see our mind.  If we have Panna, we would know how to heal our body and mind, then they would be together in harmony and without conflict.

 But most people have conflicting mind and body.  If we understand or we have awareness we will not have conflict with ourselves or with others.  Then the body would be able to heal the mind and would not cause trouble.  Our mind would not be in trouble either.  Whenever we forget ourselves, whenever we are deluded or whenever we lose awareness, we will have conflict in ourselves.  Then, when we cannot do something we want to do, we will feel upset (uneasy) and have tension in our mind and body.  It affects both systems.  So, the Buddha taught us to see body and mind and to use the body to heal the mind, then use the mind to heal the body.

The Buddha urged all people, not only Buddhists, to walk on the right way.  Every human being can walk on this way —can use the body to heal his or her own mind. When that person has to go anyplace or stay in any society, he will remain happy because his body and mind can get along well —they are in a normal state.   

There are no surroundings that can influence or destroy our body and mind, since we live with Panna (wisdom), with knowing and with understanding.  We do not get into any trouble and do not interfere with others.

There is nothing else, the Buddha told us.  There is only one thing —that is just having Sati (awareness).  Nothing else can heal our body and mind unless we cultivate the awareness of our body to the mind, because the mind never stays still —it moves all the time.  So we will know how to handle or catch up with our mind.

 We may say that it is the world of thought.  We are getting into thought, playing with thought and living with thought without Sati (awareness), Samadhi (attention) and Panna (wisdom).  This makes us suffer and unable to find the way out.  We will be attached to thought and dragged away by thought.  Then we will get into confusion and trouble, and be unable to get out.  But if we have awareness of our body, it will protect the mind and we will not forget our body and our mind.  Or we may say that our body and mind are in a normal state.  They will be peaceful body and peaceful mind, which is what everybody, wants.  But we don’t yet know the way or the method to find it.  There is only one way, to be aware of our bodily movements.

The method I’m suggesting is the one I can guarantee or certify.  It is for one who wants the true thing or the truth.  Because it is the real thing, which really exists in every life, the true thing that we can prove for ourselves, we do not have to prove it for others or let others prove it for us. We must prove it for ourselves.  The Buddha challenged and encouraged everybody to prove his teaching for oneself.  That was more than 2,500 years ago and nothing has changed, it’s still good, it’s still in use, and it still exists.  Although the world has been developing materially, this truth will never change, will never be lost.  I, myself, am doing the duty for the Buddha.  I dare to guarantee the truth the Buddha taught.

This truth does not belong to any particular religion; it exists in human beings, in lives.  To have this truth, it is not necessary to have religion.  It is only necessary to want to know the truth.  The truth is within oneself.

Now we forget the truth and go looking for something outside of ourselves.  Therefore both body and mind are hungry and cannot heal each other, cannot get along well with each other.  Although we run searching for it, we will never find it if we don’t come to look for it inside ourselves.  We cannot pray for it or ask for it from someone or something else.  The invisible thing outside us has no essence.  Both body and mind will be weary (seeking for it) and unable to heal each other.  Therefore, other things (outside us) are not real, they are unnatural.  They can delude us and make us attach to them.  If we can see our body and mind, they will be a shelter for each other.