Advancing meditation techniques include methods that foster neutrality and equanimity of mind. This is necessary because since birth, we have been instructed identifying characteristics such as red/blue, tall/short, as well as personalizing such as like/dislike, hope/fear, and more. Robotically and without thought, these color and thereby condition a human being’s response to anything, anyone, and any moment. From a meditation point of view, all of this is delusion and part of the dream-state of being that we humans call life.
Neutrality, impartiality, and disinterestedness are developed on the meditation cushion through:
- watching the breath and truly being present to breathing. One would not count the length of the breath in or out, nor describe breathing to oneself. Instead, the effort applied is to be the breathing, to experience breathing as it is without commentary. The effort is two-fold until this practice is stabilized – which is its own neutrality: a) the effort to stay with the breath as the only object of meditation, and b) the effort to let go and let be, so that one becomes the breathing. This sounds like an oxymoron and it is. With practice and in time, effort releases into the gentle perfection of breathing. A smile at any point will ease the efforting.
- using the idea of the mirror of the mind, which includes that a mirror has no perception of what parades in front of it or appears due to it. This practice requires the effort of attention. In this case, attention is on nothing but the inner space of mind. Whatever is occurring within the mind-space is considered as a reflection in a mirror. This practice is more contemplation than meditation for quite some time (months or years). One might even remind oneself that a mirror has not sense of perception. The mirror sees nothing. This practice slowly erodes the autonomic mind-less habit of reacting overall. One begins to feel the blankness of the mirror within one’s mind. Thus disengages the hyper-time “normal” response to this and that and everything else.
Now, one might ask, “Why do this? Why unravel the way we perceive? Life is beautiful, love is joyous, perceiving is how one navigates and engages life.”
One will never know the moreness within any moment, or person, sunset, or flower as long as the hair-trigger of emotion/perception is how that moment is lived. For all the beauty, joy, and delight that one experiences, the labeling and identifying creates just as much disappointment, projection, craving, clinging, sense of loss, self-criticism, and judgement of others.
In time, such techniques reveal the natural clarity and purity of Awareness-mind and, at the same time, incrementally divests daily reality of the smallness that the personal mind creates about reality.
As Tilopa said to Naropa, “Look into the mirror of the mind.”