The richness of an interlude is apparent through meditation. Is meditating not an interlude in and of itself? As we meditate we detach from outer activity – from rushing to and fro, from responding to life’s daily demands, from planning, from reminiscing, from tasking. Meditation offers an opportunity to go within, to observe and explore inner activity.
As we learn to still the body, emotions, and mind, we become at once receptive and generative; receiving all that the present moment has to offer and generating equanimity, balance, and peace. Establishing ‘peaceful abiding’ has been our goal thus far. It lays the foundation for access to the Higher Mind which includes aspects of creativity, intuition, insight, revelation, and illumination.
On this Interlude meditation we practice peaceful abiding and enjoy the fruits of our labor. Happy meditating!
Changing one habit for another is an ongoing human endeavor. The goal is to have the new habit be a better one, better determined by the benefits it provides. Transforming habitual patterns for in-the-moment Awareness and recognition is a process that can be powerful unto itself, however, the results are where the lasting benefits lie.
We, once, again engage the quality experienced immediately upon beginning the meditation session. We do so because it IS the direct experience of a quality of Awareness itself and, if one can habituate to abiding alertly in it, then one is habituating to Awareness as it is. With time, repetition, and openness, one will begin to experience the same quality of Awareness during one’s daily life.
We are beings that perceive through the lens of duality. Even if a person says that he or she believes in soul or higher nature, that same person will most likely live from the habits of the personality through the day. One of the benefits of meditation is that is cuts through the various ways by which human thinking and concepts superimpose a reality onto Reality.
One way to address how a practitioner lives duality, often unaware of how fully so, is to use the factors of duality within one’s practice. As we continue with the primary focus on the sublime qualities that are immediately present as we begin our sitting, we add how to use duality as the habit of distraction arises in the mind-stream.
In Wild Awakenings, the Dzogchen Ponlop Rinpoche writes, “Pointing out may also be understood as being introduced to the reality of mind’s nature. …. In all of the Buddha’s instructions from beginning to end, the basic techniques are shamatha and vipashyana.” … “Shamatha is sometimes translated as ‘tranquility’ or ‘calm abiding’ … In (the) context of Mahamudra, shamatha … is defined as ‘the natural pacification of the coming and going of thoughts.’ This means that the mind comes to rest in its natural condition, which is a state of bliss, clarity, and non-thought.” Wild Awakenings, pgs. 85-86 by the Dzogchen Ponlop Rinpoche; Shambhala Publishing, Boston, 2003.
In the current cycle of Intermediate meditations, the emphasis has been to notice and recognize the immediate quality and experience that is present as the meditation sitting begins. It is a pure expression of the quality nature of the mind. Until one is aware of this, one moves on quickly from the quality and its simple immediately present experience to doing something that has been part of meditation training. But, at some point, the training in withdrawal and coming inside, the acclimating to the inner landscape of arisings, interpretation, adopting (chasing after) or repulsing (pushing away), all must give way. When the practitioner realizes that all – ALL – is the landscape of the mind, then that which is perceived can take on a new purpose: to be recognized as the display of the nature of the mind. It is the display of Awareness.
The current set of instructions has been to notice and recognize the very first quality that is present as soon as one begins. It will be either luminosity/clarity, or vibrancy, or the experience of stable continuity. Variations on these themes such as brightness, sharpness, dynamism, scintillating, or even/smooth are still the same basic qualities mentioned. And, they also are the qualities stated by the Ponlop Rinpoche.