9a. Get to know your mind

All along the way in The Practice of Living Awareness, the practitioner is asked “to notice the usually not noticed,” and experience his or her moment, its sensations, as well as the comings and goings of breath and thoughts. As a result, the practitioner has become increasingly aware overall, both on and off the cushion.

1988054_origStep 9 adds another set to notice, but – in truth – it has been being recognized since Smile and Breath. The set is the three primary qualities of mind. In order to engage the three states or qualities of mind, we must first define mind. In a meditation practice, mind is comprehensive and includes:

  • all thinking processes
  • all emoting and sensing processes
  • all sense of self and identifications that go with that
  • all awareness and its proceses
  • therefore, basically, all of a human being’s range of awareness, interactions, and realizations are mind.

The three qualities that run through all of these are:

  • contracted: experienced as exacting, limiting, focusing, tight, analysis, contracting, extracting, and detail orientation
  • expansive: experienced as open, open-ended, loose, wide, connecting, appreciating, wondering, contemplating, big-picture orientation
  • empty as in void of projections, of labels, of constructs or concepts.

We’ll expand upon this as we move through the week.


Downloadable podcast: Get to know your mind

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