OPEN WHAT IS CLOSED
We spend much time in lost thought, in judgment, and daydream states. We pay little attention to the direct experience of our senses, the sights, sounds, smells, and taste sensations in the body. When our attention is scattered our perceptions become clouded. As awareness and concentration become strengthened through relaxation and meditation, we spend less of our time in thought.
We would like to experience the free-flow of energy in our body. As we direct our awareness inward, we begin to experience in a clear fashion the accumulation of tension and contraction, even uneasiness of our body. With this mindful practice we begin to distinguish what the innate wisdom of our body is saying to us through our feelings, our pain, our joy and our discomfort.
There is no need to judge ourselves for being resistant. Let us all recognize the patterns of fear, apathy or whatever, remembering it is another possibility – the one of opening and becoming more mindful. Rather than close off, lets soften ourselves, soften the mind, to become receptive and allowing, more gentle and relaxed.
BALANCE WHAT IS REACTIVE
Our minds are reactive; liking and disliking, judging and comparing, clinging and condemning. Our minds are like balancing scales, as long as we’re identified with these judgments and preferences, wants and aversions, our minds are continually thrown out of balance, caught in the whirlwind of reactivity.
Through the power of mindfulness we are able to come to a place of balance and rest. Mindfulness is that quality of attention which notices without choosing, without preference; it is a choice-less awareness that, like the sun, shines on all things equally.
Relaxation and meditation is a journey within self through every aspect of our experience. Our practice is to explore the totality of who we are. This takes a tremendous amount of willingness. — Relaxation and meditation is about settling back into the moment and opening to what is there. This balance of mind where there is no preference, no attachment, no clinging or condemning, rather being present for whatever arises, makes possible a connection with a deep inner rhythm. This inner rhythm is reflective of the breath, sensations, thoughts, emotions, feelings, images, sounds, even our heart-beat.
When we are nonreactive, when we are open and notice what we notice is happening in each moment, free of holding, gripping, or pushing away – we begin to find this inner rhythm. To find your inner rhythm, a great effort is needed to pay attention to the perfection of the moment – then the state of ‘becoming’ and ‘being’ shifts.
EXPLORE WHAT IS HIDDEN
Relaxation and meditation reveals what is hidden, the true nature of our experience.
The truth is what is hidden. One way truth is camouflaged is through our identification with and tendency to be lost in concepts. We confuse our ideas for the experience itself.
An essential part of meditation is going from the level of concept to the level of direct experience — confusion between concept and reality? Consider a “hand” — the eye sees color, form, light, shadow; the mind jumps in and puts a concept on the perception. “A bell rings” you hear sounds, vibrations, the mind names the bell. We confuse the concepts of the thinking mind with the reality of direct experience. Why is this important?
The distinction between our concepts and the reality of experience is crucial in terms of understanding where the practice is leading, because concepts cover what is true.
Meditation goes from level of concept to the level of direct experience. We begin to experience the nature and process of thoughts and emotions, rather than identifying with their concepts.
Detaching from attachments and de-conditioning our conditioned minds’, helps develop clarity of vision. The mind is less inclined to grasp and cling, when we have a clear vision. To detach doesn’t mean turning a cold shoulder to the world, or a sense of indifference, rather lifting oneself above the ebb and flow of life releasing the need to be attached to anything.
EFFORT AND AIM
If there is effort to aim the mind, then mindfulness, concentration, calmness, wisdom and compassion shall follow. For example, we sit and make the effort to aim the mind toward the breath, either the in and out-breath or the rise and fall of the abdomen. If there is enough effort, and the aim is correct, then we connect with the sensations of the rise and fall or the in and out; we become mindful of the specific sensations and how they’re behaving. Concentration grows and our understanding deepens from mindful practice. All this is best accomplished with a sense of lightness and willingness with an interest in discovering what is true.