The Basic Meditation Practice.

  1. Cultivate a calm, settled, present mind either through a broad focus, perhaps the sensations of the body, or of sounds or a slightly more specific focus, for example, the breath within the whole body. Recognise positive emotions when they arise – calm, contentment, ease e.t.c. Recognise awareness whenever you notice you’re present.

  2. When awareness feels more stable open up to experience arising through any of the sense doors. Settle back into a receptive ‘knowing’ of the experience. Let the ‘objects’ of experience change but awareness stays increasingly steady. When thoughts arise just recognise them as thoughts. If noting or labling is helpful you can initially use a soft mental lable (‘hearing’, ‘seeing’ etc) and with the mind sense ‘thinking’, ‘planning’, ‘remembering’ etc. Cultivate curiosity and a sense of play and a desire to understand intuitively and directly the processes of the mind.

After a couple of days shift to a stronger emphasis on vipassana aspect of practice.

  1. Notice if Right View and Right Attitude – another way of talking about ‘wise attention’ (yoniso manisikara) is present or not by:

  1. Recognising the quality of the awareness (we can also call this the meditating mind). How are you relating to your experience? Mostly this will be wanting or not wanting something – craving/aversion. Allow this quality of the meditating mind to become an object to be aware of. Get to know how it feels and thinks. What happens when you bring awareness and interest to it? Notice when there is acceptance and ease with whatever experience is there – this is Right Attitude.

  2. Notice whether you are relating to what is happening as an ‘object’ of experience or as something personal i.e. “My thoughts/frustration/pain” or “I want something to happen”. If you are identifying with experience as something personal there is no need to change that, just notice it from the perspective of Right View by. recognising that you’re identifying with the mind state or train of thoughts. Look at that identification objectively – what does it feel like in the mind and body?

  3. You might naturally begin to recognise the mind that is aware or ‘meditating’ mind as distinct from the ‘objects’ in experience. What does that aware knowing feel like? Notice the qualities of the awareness and allow them to become more continuous.

Outside of formal meditation.

Continuity of awareness is very important to give strength to the awareness. Whenever you remember notice awareness. Once you’ve remembered mindfulness will automatically be there. It can be very helpful to remind yourself of your intention to remember awareness or to be present. Pleasure and enjoyment will help awareness flourish.

If you’re on retreat or doing a fair bit of formal practice after a couple of days you’ll naturally notice awareness arising at times during activities or sitting in the garden. You can keep an ‘anchor’ in the breath or sensations of the body. Let awareness accompany daily activities such as eating, teeth cleaning, walking e.t.c. From awareness grounded in the body notice what’s happening in your mind and how you are relating to each moment of your experience.

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