All through the day, quality is expressing. Realizing the qualities as they express is an aspect of awakened awareness. Happiness or sadness, jealousy or delight, impatience or ease are the surface noticings of qualities. Registering the karmic feeling in a meeting or relationship, or acknowledging the sensations and intuitions in a location are further examples of an awareness of qualities. Yet, these acknowledgements are only the surface of the range and depth of qualities that lie within the ones mentioned.
Regarding the qualities of mind or awareness, there are various frames through which to perceive these qualities, and I have written, spoken on this subject before as well as have offered meditation retreats on some of those frames including The Physics of Awareness, the Continuity of Consciousness retreats, and teachings on the bardos.
There are three basic qualities to mind-awareness:
- contracting: oriented to the details of life, specificity, and exacting. When lived to excess (even for a short time), this quality can produce a richoceting of energy experienced as intensity, as restlessness, or agitation. Ultimately, this quality of awareness-mind is the quality of precision and the pristine nature of Awareness itself. To quote, “unstained, yet not separated from stains.”
- expanding: open, soft, malleable, adaptable, adjustable. That which has no end or is limitless. Appreciation, higher emotional states, equanimity, wide-mindedness, wonder, value, creative thinking.
- empty: continuous, smooth, devoid of labels, concepts, projections or preferences. It is empty like the space in front of you or like the sky which is empty even when clouds are passing through it.
Multiple traditions of the world have discovered and thus have taught that the nature of thought, of passion and desire, of awareness, and the nature of our fundamental existence or reality is empty. It is void of the ideations, the labels and names, the avoidances and preferences that we consider to be reality.
As a practitioner of meditation and/or life, as one begins to notice quality, one discovers that these qualities not only exist in their plethora of presentations but that they are inseparable. For example,
- in noticing expansion one equally can notice clarity. This is so within an emotion, a thought process, or a relational moment, just as it is of the sky.
- Where there is detail orientation, there can be clarity regarding detail and usefully so, but with the emphasis on a part, the energy of the moment and of the clarity could lack radiance. We experience this in our routines which are detail oriented but autonomic and, generally, mindless.
- Then there is the continuous quality to notice. It is experienced when something is smooth, and non-interrupted in its natural state or quality of expression.
These primary three qualities (in all their derivatives and synonyms of expression) are always with us, and are our current state. Therefore, where you find one, the others – or at least one other – is easily found. For example, when we are in details and clarity is getting muddled or overwhelmed in the details, we simply have to lift our eyes to the sky, take a breath, and expansion will loosen the contraction of the thinking and the agitation in the emotions.
The meditation is one of long silences and simple training providing a non-interruption of the techniques highlighted before the long silences. Have a luminous meditation.
Downloadable podcast: The Inseparable Pervasive Three Qualities of Awareness-Being