I remember that I struggled a lot with the word “embodiment” of the practice or the slogan “bringing it into the body”. Some people talk about a purely mental recognition in contrast to an embodied one. This always puzzled me because: Isn’t there just one recognition of the natural state?
The distinction between body and mind was really bugging me. It felt like another concept to look out for: “What if my recognition is only mental and not embodied?!”.
Until I began to realise the true meaning of the body. I always thought that body meant bodily sensations. So I assumed that there need to be bodily sensations for a practice to really be “embodied”. It was this conceptual understanding of “body” which was the reason for my puzzlement.
What I realised to be the real meaning of “body” is simply direct, nonconceptual experience. The body - through all sense doors - is a gateway to direct perception. So it’s much more than just physical sensation. It’s the inner aspect of all sensation, the non-conceptual immediate experience of something.
The body itself possesses the trantric tripple meaning of outer, inner and secret.
The outer meaning being the conceptual structure of the physical body with it’s parts, organs and senses. That’s where I was stuck with my concept of “embodiment” as merely bodily sensations. I took the label to be the real thing.
The inner meaning of “body” is the direct experience of all phenomenality. Direct in the sense of not conceptually structured. The pure quality of experience without labeling or pre-labeling.
The secret meaning of “body” is the Dharmakaya, the nature of mind. When we recognise the secret meaning, we are beyond conceptual and direct experience, bathing in the unified empty essence of both.
So like always in effective Tantric practices, “bringing the exercise into the body” means, not to just think about it but really FEELING it. Directly, however it is right now. Going deeper than ideas about something, into the direct experience of it. Feeling and hearing the mantra instead of just repeating it.
By dropping into the inner meaning of the body, it’s way easier to recognise the secret, empty essence of the mind and phenomena. It’s the same 2 step process that you find in most Mahamudra manuals. First you recognise non-conceptual experience and then you realise the nature of that non-conceptual experience. Shamatha and Vipashyana.
Thinking about it > Feeling it > Seeing through “it”
That’s great because it means that the essence of Shamatha (non-conceptual perception) can easily be pointed out so that practitioners can realize shamatha without having to stabilize shamatha. We don’t need to artifically stabilize direct perception because it’s already stable. We just have to recognise it and then use it as a doorway to the nature of mind.