The masters of meditation tell us to practice, practice, practice. The reason is not so that one gains. Rather, the instruction is to enable the facades that one holds through the day to dissolve. As one master said, “Follow the out breath and dissolve with it.”*
In fact, one of the primary challenges that meditation faces in its modern expression is the attitude of gain within the practitioner and in the “press” about meditation. I have contributed to that obstacle, but have done so with the bodhi-aspiration that if someone is brought to a practice, soothed in the beginner blues that can happen, and led toward experiences that are pleasant, that serves meditation and the practitioner in the long-term reason for meditating: deconstruction. If people knew that almost everything held dear, desired, and sought after would fade in importance and relevance to that person, how many people would begin or sustain a meditation practice?
For these reasons, we are invited to Soften and Open. Doing so, a more vibrant sense of now comes forward – as if the present person, moment, or circumstance were magically and spontaneously unwrapped. In the experience of Soften and Open, for example, I can feel myself being tight or worried or happy or chasing a craving or listening with my heart and mind to someone. Luminous Perception is an invitation also; to become aware of the simplicity and clarity of awareness yet again. Why? Because awareness -by fact of being awareness- is always simple and clear.
Cognizance: the ongoing factor of knowing and of registering bits of data is what common awareness is. You aware of the clothes on your body, of when a bathroom break is needed, of hot being hot and cold being cold. Awareness/cognizance is not mystical, nor is it conjured. We are simply aware; and … awareness can’t be turned off.
The fact that cognizance cannot be turned off becomes an advantage with a meditation practice. Though cognizance is constantly going out from itself to experience something/anything, it also is aware of its own hyperactivity. A sitting practice highlights the hyperactivity that is one’s foreground in order to reveal the actual ground: vibrant wakeful awareness, common daily presence and awareness.
As the foreground fades in importance or relevance, ground awareness can be experienced. Repeat daily.
*Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche in The Path of Individual Liberation.