stay away from the baits
in meditation we're deliberately focusing the mind, training it, avoiding the bias that snag our attention and pulls us away from present awareness
—the smaller the area of our awareness, the more compelling the bait
—for example, a fish swimming in a fish bowl would be less successful avoiding bait that a fish swimming in a large lake
—likewise the wider we make the mind, the less alluring and visible are the baits
1) pondering the imponderable. what do other people think about me?
2) what will happen to me in the future?
3) what really happened to me in the past?
4) what is going on between people when i'm not there?
5) what will be the outcomes of dramas at work or with other people
8 worldly winds we attach to for happiness
—attaching to sensual pleasures we become distraught when they stop working for us; —the same for money, fame, approval from others. the world shifts gear and blows us the other way, or we become acclimatized to the money and fame, needing more and more to "fill us"
but simply telling ourselves "these aren't skillful" isn't enough to keep us balanced, from jumping outside of the body into the world
the intention is not trying to figure out what cannot be solved, but moving towards the alleviation of stress and agitation by staying disentangled from the causes of drama in life
—the mind by its nature loves drama, so much of the practice is training it to work against its innate mischievousness
—insights will happen, but as a byproduct
filling the space of the body
so we keep the mind much larger than the thoughts that snare us via kayagatasati, or filling the body with awareness
its a procces of fully filling the space were sitting in
—only practicing awareness during meditation, but then getting snared in dramas and fantasies in the rest of life is undermines our progress
—so we stay awake in the space, not drifting somewhere else
—we practice focusing on what we're doing now, not carrying around lists of "to dos"
—we maintain awareness of breath, body sensations, feelings as they arise in the body
we train ourselves in a simple way:
—i'm really here, present, breathing in this moment, the body has this texture,
—is it tight or clear or light or vague
—the emotions that are expressed in the body through muscle contraction, using the sitting position as an anchoring point for our reference.
patience and kindness
we're developing not only focus, but patience compassion, as its accomplished friendly patient way
—just come back to sitting, again in again, in as patient
—this in and of itself can be enough, like training a dog to heal
when difficult events occur we feel what needs to be felt, the little morals will become clear later on, when we speak with wise friends and practitioners
tool one: releasing the mind into the body
the mind will probably remain chewing (upadana) on a story and pulling away from filling the space.
—as they say, when we cling to a belief or a fear we get dragged by it
we're staying alert for the gaps of body where we think we're aware, and we're also becoming aware of where we think the "edge" of the mind is, the artificial dividing line between mind and body
we're encouraging the release of the mind's separateness into the body, like placing a baby into safe arms, we're giving the mind to the body,
—after all, the body has been keeping us alive for years
—the body safeguards us when we're asleep
we can view the process of the awareness expanding downwards, filling the body, rather than dropping down
its important to use our practice as way to chip away at its localization in the head, behind the eyes, between the ears
—this localizing comes about because we're normally receiving the dominant, complex sensations from the eyes and ears
—people who are blind have differing conceptions of spatial localization (where they are in a room) and where we are in the body
the localization keeps us too close to the baits and dramas which snag us into suffering
again and again we're creating a comfortable, safe place for the mind to relocalize itself
the body becomes a safe port in the storm
often these worldly winds become like storms, we lose a lot of money, or a relationship, and suddenly we're shaking, looking for the solution out there… give me more money, or another relationship, or let me win the old relationship back…
the good news is that these storms are in the mind, but they don't have to be in the body.
we start by relaxing the breath (we note in endings of inhalation of and exhalation, the mind becomes clearly aware of where the breath stops and turns), then soften the belly, drop the shoulders, acknowledge and release the gut feelings.
dropping the mind into the body is a wonderful practice, like paddling back to a secure inlet during a storm.
when a storm moves into the mind
the mind agitates and develops intentions and thoughts that will pull us away from a meditation, to try to fix the dramas in the world… the moment we notice them, relax, let the fall away, don't fight with them
—the mind really wants to succeed and win and get back with the good winds
—just hand the mind over, let the breathing do its work
—this is the way we break up the edges that keeps the mind separate from body sensations
part of the practice of letting go is simply saying "this is happening now" there really is a bad storm going on in the mind, or difficult people, or bad news at work, etc.
—we don't go out while the winds are blowing too hard in the mind
—we stay inside, safe in the body, waiting until the mind is less agitated
when things have subsided, we start planting good seeds again: gratitude, positive appreciation, compassion with ourselves, etc.