There’s nothing theoretical about meditation. Do it, and the benefits result – pretty quickly too. We are in Step 9 wherein we observe and experience three fundamental qualities of mind: contracting, expanding, and spacious. We are encouraged to notice these off-the-cushion during our day as well as use them during our meditation sitting.
All three are necessary qualities and capacities of mind. Each leads the practitioner to actually experience the range of emotions, thought processes, and activities that occur through one’s day. One will quickly notice the habitual use of two of these qualities or states of mind (or maybe one) within daily functioning: contracting and expanding. Then, with that observation and sensorial experience, one now has options. “Noticing the usually not noticed” is the key.
For example, anxiety, stress, worry, anger, envy, impatience, stubbornness, and aggression are contracted states of mind or emotions. All of these limit one’s experience, one’s options, or even the thought that one has options. Yet, if one calls upon the meditative techniques of smile, breath, feel yourself breathe, then a natural expanding starts to happen. And if one supports this expanding or opening for a few moments through the techniques of smile, breath, and coming into the tactile sensations of breathing (even for only 5 seconds), the moment will change. Benefit will result.
- Anxiety can open into perspective.
- The deadline or responsibility that is causing stress can ease due to the acknowledgement that one is doing what one can.
- Anger can give way to its underlying source – you can about something and want that understood.
- Envy can turn into happiness for the other person.
- impatience can be recognized as small-minded selfishness – and one’s heart can step in with a smile.
- And stubbornness can be recognized as one’s attempt to control due to an underlying fear or feeling of insecurity. The deeper understanding will open one to the possibility of alternative solutions.
Step 9: Mind uses the explorations of sensation that have been cultivated thus far through the other steps of The Practice, and now uses them as components of an insight process. Doing so, the off-the-cushion and in-the-life emphasis of The Practice is matured one more increment – and you are too. Insight is an ongoing observation of in-the-moment truth of self. Insight reveals how much one contracts into a tight ball of few options and also that there is little empowerment or joy in that state. Furthermore, insight (observation and self-truth) reveal that options are at hand (feel the breath, feel the flow, feel the centered path of the breath) because a human being is not a contraction, not an envious, impatient, stressed out bundle of projections. Human beings are amazing beings of heart, awareness, and creative possibilities!
Downloadable podcast: Experience the range