Say the words “flow” and then “pace” inside yourself giving time to experience how your emotions, mind, and energetic body respond to each word.
You probably experienced what most people do:
“flow” felt like a river, felt gentle though constant, and felt bigger than yourself in a beneficial way.
“pace” felt active, maybe hurried or at a rate that felt not of your control. It might have felt bigger than you but not necessarily beneficial.
The third step in The Practice of Living Awareness is Flow. It usually begins its emphasis on the flawless flow of the breath and hearkens to the foundations of meditation that we have been using for the last two weeks. In this meditation, we are brought to an awareness of the felt-senses mentioned above and then into the silent ease of the continuity of breath/awareness/presence. The latter is supported by silence, for the most part.
May our meditations pour presence and awareness into the collective human consciousness!
Each time we incarnate, we create our body. In the Tibetan tradition, one symbol for the body is a precious vase: a beautiful, functional container that holds the inner essence. In the Tibetan tradition, the vase is not like a flower vase that simply holds flowers and water and stands. The vase is simple, small, and has a spout. This indicates that our inner essence is supposed to be poured out constantly to others and into the world.
Our breath flows in and out of the vase of our body and makes possible the vase of our incarnated existence. Each breath comes into the tip of the nose, flows along the breath pathways, and out again. Concentration on the trail of the breath cultivates concentration overall. Concentration brings tranquility; tranquility is a quality of inner essence. Breathing we pour essence into the world.
Breath is the foundation for all meditation traditions. Why? Because it is innate, gentle, and due to breath one is alive. The deeper reason for breath as meditation’s foundation is because inner essence, presence, essential nature is also innate, is gentle, and due to it one is alive.
Breath brings one inside. It calls one to the experience of the moment – no matter what the moment includes. Breath, then, if practiced as a technique for awareness, supports one’s presence, supports one’s participation in truth of moment, presence in the moment, therefore in truth of being.
Step 2 of The Practice of Living Awareness is Tip of the Nose. To focus on the breath is to follow its path. This begins at the tip of our nose. Doing this brings concentration, one-pointedness, and simplicity forward in our mind, quietens mental chatter, and opens the pineal gland. Breath is the bedrock of all meditation because it includes so much.
Though the foundation of meditation is one’s breath, there are myriad ways to engage it. Three brief techniques are offered in this session. Each is short, can be done anywhere, and are easy to repeat. These three considerations are valuable for the majority of our day – which is not on the meditation cushion or seat – as well as supportive of one’s meditation practice.
May your practice support the illumination of all beings through shared consciousness and support your illumination through tranquility and insight.
When one’s meditation is for others, that tends to refine or deepen one’s sitting. Why? Because, if meditation is only about one’s self, that’s a small frame of reference. There is purposefulness in self-examination, self-illumination, self-clarification, and self-compassion but the self is interdependent and interconnected with all beings, therefore, the greater benefit to one’s self and increase of efficacy in one’s practice will come when one includes others in the reason one is meditating.
This might take the form of a simple statement as one sits down to meditate: “May this meditation benefit all beings.” or as one settles, “for the well-being of all beings.” It also can take the form of a meditation that is focused on others.
This meditation begins with a contemplation of what you and I enjoy in our life. We acknowledge that with gratitude. It could be sightedness, a warm home, to be able to walk, friends, and so forth. Then, all the happiness and sources of happiness are wished toward all other people in the world.