Meditation is such a science, and the components of meditation are revealed through the insights born from experiencing the ripening one’s practice. Through the diligent practice of meditative techniques, consistency of application, and the enriching experiences of the results of doing so does one’s meditation practice evolve and mature.
As a teacher of meditation for decades, I observe that practitioners derail their potential excellence and experience in two ways:
- mediocrity in diligence or attentiveness which produces inadequate faith in meditation itself,
- or through a general passivity, that is to say waiting for such and such to happen within one’s meditation sitting.
Both of these disallow meditation to stabilize and cohere into a true practice. As a result, the practitioner is compromised as are the potential experiences of greater Awareness, insight, understanding, and spiritual maturity.
Each round of The Practice of Living Awareness for the last six years online, I have emphasized seemingly new components or facets of meditation and technique. In truth, the same fundamentals are engaged each round, yet fostered through re-languaging or a new lens through which to perceive how to use or experience the technique. This round is no different.
As said before, shamatha is the only ground in meditation. Accomplish it (at least minimally but repeatedly), and all furthering of meditation practice – up to the most advanced – is yours. Without the foundation of tranquil clarity and attentive detachment combined with non-personalization and integrated embodiment of body, mind, and spirit, there is no meditation nor a meditative path. Aware of this, my heart-mind sought to clarify shamatha once again to all practitioners. This is being done through encouraging practitioners to experience what is being experienced for the fullness and insight that it contains or offers. Three components are our current focus:
- the quality that immediately is present as soon as one begins to meditate. It will be either luminosity (clarity, brightness, or a glow of Being), dynamism (vibrancy, vibration, a scintillating feeling, or an alert readiness), or continuity (smoothness like velvet, tranquility, the feeling of stability or regal steadiness), or some combination of two of the primary three.
- behind the above direct experience is energy. Each of these manifestations or phenomenal experiences are expressing a quality of energy. As perception becomes more “pure”, one is able to discern the energy quality behind the experience or manifestation.
- the creative imagination in all its capacities and forms. This human attribute is what underlies all forms of perception. Perception of the subjective and subtle is the awareness the inner processes in meditation. Subjective awareness is also experienced through each day’s thoughts, beliefs, preferences, avoidances, likes, dislikes, cravings, attachments, fears, hopes, and dreams. Perception of the objective and external is commonly called reality, though – of course – it is simply a collective set of perceptions.
Remember Step 9 in the Entry practice? It highlights the naturally occurring three qualities of mind (or three common mind-emotion states). They are: exacting or contracting, opening or expanding, and empty, void, or infinite. What is being explored in the new round of the Intermediate practice is simply a further explanation of these three manifestations.
- The naturally prominent initial quality in one’s sitting is exact. It is the experience of a specific attribute of Awareness-Being.
- To ascertain or intuit the energy quality behind that initial experience requires softening and opening or expanding into the subtlety of the energy. This, at the same time, undoes the personal relationship to the experience which is necessary for both discernment and maturing of one’s practice.
- The creative imagination is itself continuous. It is just as operative for a buddha as it is for the common person on the street. Perception and the determining of reality (relative, absolute, or any combination thereof) are possible only because of the creative i-magical capacity of being human and of Awareness.
This was emailed to me after the sitting was complete this morning: “Donna – Wonderful meditation this morning. That “touch stone moment”, my gateway to freedom and unity. Great insights from a teacher who pays attention. Thank you, thank you.”
Anyone is capable of insight into or an understanding the science of meditation. With those insights, one can experience the art of meditation and the ceaseless gifts it offers. Paying attention on and off the cushion is how one starts!
Downloadable: Inter: Sustaining the foundational quality