Tag Archive | Acceptance

The Essence of Meditation

Fragments from imaginary dialogues

“What is the essence of meditation?”

“Haven’t we gone through this already?”

“We’re going to keep going through this until I manage to implement it.”

“There’s five aspects to it:

Intention-Setting

Focus-Point

Meta-Awareness
Response
Return

Intention-Setting is essentially Priming. This is how you initiate the practice. You can set the intention ahead of time (eg I’m going to meditate immediately after I wake up), or in the moment (eg I’m going to perform this action as meditation).

Focus-Point refers to choosing one point of focus and trying to maintain your attention on it. I say ‘trying’ because your attention will INEVITABLY wander.

The last three combined form the core of the practice. Thinking in terms of rep(etition)s, like in physical training, combined they constitute one quality-rep – or beautiful-rep, as I like to call it.

Meta-Awareness refers to noticing that your attention has wandered.

Response refers to managing your reaction to it. The keys here are Non-Judgmental Acceptance, and Loving Kindness.

Return refers to gently bringing your attention back to your focus-point.

A beautiful focus-point is the breath. But it can be the sensations in your body, an emotion, or anything else. You can choose any item in your environment and focus on it.

These are the purely technical aspects of the practice. Consistently perform quality-reps of it and you can get great benefits. However you can upgrade [<link; short] it by turning it into a spiritual practice.”

“How?”

Make every single meditation a Loving Meditation.

You’re thus imbuing the practice with Meaning.

Love is a meta-practice.

Using the macro/micro model, we might think of Love as the macro focus-point, and of your chosen point of focus as the micro focus-point.

Or, using the foreground/background model, we might think of Love as the background, and of your chosen point of focus as the foreground.”

Moment-to-moment Checklist

Fragments from imaginary dialogues

“I’m (re)learning to get in touch with my BodyMind and my emotions. I’ve been reading a lot about it lately. It’s challenging, after being disembodied for so long, but I’m making progress.”

“What does your practice look like?”

“The main practice is a moment-to-moment mental checklist I created for myself. This is part of a bigger practice which I call Loving Awareness. The checklist consists of four self-checks:

Breathing: How’s my breathing? Am I breathing through my nose or my mouth?
Posture: How’s my posture?
Expansiveness: Am I expansive or contracted?
Relaxation: What am I feeling? Where in my body am I feeling it? Where am I holding tension?

A beautiful idea I know from Dan Brulé’s book Just Breathe is the two fundamentals of Breathwork – the process of mastering your breathing: Breath Awareness and Conscious Breathing.

He calls Breath Awareness ‘Being the breath’ – ‘The breath breathes you.’
He calls Conscious Breathing ‘Doing the breath’ – ‘You breathe the breath.’

I’d read a lot about breathing, and everyone spoke only about the latter. From Dan Brulé I learned the beautiful practice of just being with (and savoring) your breath, without trying to control it in any way.

Expansiveness refers to physical expansiveness – how much physical space I’m occupying –, and attentional expansiveness – how wide my field of awareness is. I noticed I have a tendency to collapse my field of awareness, especially when under the influence of unpleasant feelings. This check is meant to counter that.

Relaxation is essentially a body scan, with the scope of eliminating all tension. As I notice tension, I embrace it with Loving Acceptance and let it go.”

Spiritual Reps

Flow with whatever may happen, and let your mind be free: Stay centered by accepting whatever you are doing. This is the ultimate. (Chuang Tzu)


Fragments from imaginary dialogues

“How can I deal with these negative thoughts?”

“What’s within your control?”

“I can’t keep them from appearing, so that’s outside my control.

I guess what I can control is how I respond to them.”

Always focus on what you can control.

Don’t resist them. Flow with them.

Accept and appreciate them, for they are manifestations of the Inner Obstacle.

Every encounter with the Inner Obstacle is a Beautiful Opportunity, an aspect of the Beautiful Practice. You could call them spiritual rep(etition)s.”