One of the functions of this week’s meditations has been to provide the experiential contrast between focussing on the senses and not, while at the same time experiencing fully what the senses are always providing. Truth is, if one is present, then one is present to the array and wealth being provided by all the equipment of Awareness AND is in the state of awareness. Yes And.
The desire with this week was to offer you the experience of experiencing! If that included a lurching or bump which made clear to one’s self how checked out one is at any given moment, then this week met its goal. Likewise so if you felt a smooth continuity of Awareness and awareness, sense-driven experience and the mother source of them (innate conscious Present Awareness).
Life is yes and. Love is yes and. Tastes are yes and. Meditation practice is yes and. In other words, all that we experience and all in existence is a non-two: a tantric (woven) and intimately connected, interdependent whole of parts that are wholes with multitudinous parts, on infinitum. For example, I’m typing with one hand because my friend’s cat is lonely and has fallen asleep against my other arm after copious petting. The friend is away. Yes, I’ve become allergic to cats; and he’s lonely. Yes, there is cat fur in the tea, trail mix, and on every inch of my clothes, and he’s lonely and now feels not alone.
In meditation practice, in relationships, in preparing food or eating it, even in setting the water temperature for a shower, there are two primary factors in play: emptiness and phenomena. Emptiness is possibility, phenomena are what we are currently aware of. Emptiness is openness of mind, phenomena is what we hold to as real or true or known in the ways they seem to us. Emptiness is spaciousness, phenomena fill space and time. Emptiness is clear, transparent, translucent; phenomena are opaque. Yet, these two factors are always dancing, always in play.
Almost three months ago, this online meditation practice began an experiential and contemplative exploration of the five senses, the sixth sense of the mind, and of consciousness. Now we are sitting with no agenda, just sitting: a purposeful yes and.
If one steps back and thinks about the big picture, the essence of activities, aspirations, practices, regimens, and even the food one prefers will come into view and an essence or overarching character will stand revealed. For instance, some people are travelers, easily bored or restless, and who enjoy a variety of people, tastes, and occupations through life. If one steps back from the specifics, activity or movement plus an engaged curiosity (thus boredom when not engaged) pervade this person’s life.
With spiritual Path practices and meditation training, there can seem to be myriad methods and techniques. For example, Patanjali’s Sutras encompass four “books” or sections, each with approximately 40-50 sutras. Are they all different? Buddha Shakyamuni is said to have given 84,000 teachings as antidotes for the myriad emotional and personality-derived afflictions that beset a human being and, included in that number are diverse practices, insights, orienting instructions, and statements that remind us what is truly true. Are they all unique unto themselves? That could be confusing!
The great masters (male and female) of the spiritual traditions of the world realized compassion and wisdom not through merely memorizing scriptures or instructions. They found Truth of Being within themselves and within all beings, circumstances, and phenomena by looking for the essence in practices, people, karmic propensities and events. Soften and open is one such essence.
Soften and open will serve when worrying about something, in relationship, when sitting for meditation practice, or doing a workout or yoga. Soften and open will help us feel that we are not hungry when a craving arises, not angry when passion fires up, not bored when there is a pause in activity. Soften and open is an essence that runs through life; it encourages us to be present through being soft and open, to feel how contracted much of our thought is, how reactive and richoceting our emotions tend to be which is due to not being soft and open.
On the cushion or anywhere through our day, if we are soft and open Awareness is in its seat. If Awareness is in its seat, then compassion, wisdom, kindness, respect, and creative truth of Being is present and forefront. Without softening and opening, none of them are. Soften and open is an essential teaching that runs through life and all practices.
You are awareness. That is the fundamental nature and essence of being of you and me and everyone we know. That is so of animals and maybe plants; it is so of Mother Earth, this planet. But, we humans are more often unaware than aware, and this displays most obviously with our senses.
Right now as you are reading, there are myriad other things in your visual field. To what extent are you aware of them? Right now as you are reading, and your sense of touch is experiencing standing or sitting, the in and out of breath, the breeze or the texture of your clothes. Are you aware of them while you are reading? During reading, smells are in the air, sounds are everywhere, and there is a taste to the atmosphere that has nothing to do with your mouth. Are you aware of these? And are you aware of them all as they are happening in their simultaneous plethora each moment?
Probably not; we humans are checked-out most of the time. We are in a constant state of distraction and don’t know that, don’t recognize distraction in its ongoing manner.
Please use this podcast as an experiment. Have fun discovering!