Intermediate: Shamatha – Alert Openness

new-round-2016-002Each moment is the experience of myriad energies collecting, combining, demonstrating, and always present. For example, the experience of craving is actually a hint of the energy quality of voidness. We experience a desire for something because the energy quality of voidness is unfamiliar, therefore it is experienced as a lack or as discontent. Yet, if one allows the craving to pass by sitting with the intensity of its energy, one discovers that the craving was a masked arising of something quite profound.

Human beings pounce. We pounce on things, ideas, and experiences with the need to identify them, label them, and concretize them somehow in our mind. Doing so, human beings are constantly clutching, grabbing, and being aggressive in ways quite unrecognized as aggressive, for example chewing food. Clarifying or defining are other examples of how surreptitious and pervasive aggression as a quality of energy is. The sharpness of these mental processes belies the energy quality behind them.

These examples illumine that there is much more to each of us, and to each experience in each moment, than is usually recognized. The energy qualities that flow through our day are … energy qualities. Imagine learning to recognize them for more of what they are? Then imagine what one could do with that wisdom.

Shamatha is the only ground in meditation practice. It can take years to accomplish a sustained few minutes of true meditative tranquil acute presence. To acknowledge that is kindness to oneself as well as encouragement to never get disappointed or give up. However, tranquility on the cushion will be impossible if chaos rules one’s life. Inner peace will never happen if one’s day is an ongoing roller coaster or stress wheel. The experience of smooth uninterrupted luminous concentration will never arise if one chooses distractions throughout the day.

The on-the-cushion and off-the-cushion relationship is flawless. Our inner and outer lives are inseparable. They are one life stream. And, one consciousness (yours or mine) is the only one flowing through the one life stream of experiences on and off our cushion. Knowing this mathematical relationship gives oneself a tool of wisdom. With that wisdom –and moment by moment practice–, shamatha, harmony, Awareness, and ease in one’s life will result.



Downloadable: Inter shamatha – alert openness

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