Awareness of Awareness: A Smooth Transition from the Space of the Mind
Summary: This morning, Alan said he would squeeze out every drop of knowledge he had left about this first method of Awareness of Awareness, so if you listen to the previous episodes on this stage of practice you will be extremely well rounded! Alan starts by detailing an all to common problem: thinking that we are doing the practice incorrectly when we are actually doing it correctly, and reacting by tightening up our attention and trying harder, resulting in fatigue. This is followed by explaining how to gain satisfaction from stability, relating it to visualization practice, and setting our expectations correctly. From there, we briefly explore the possibility of achieving Shamatha within Vajrayana instad of using the practices that we have covered in this retreat, and while it is certainly possible, the difficulty is quite high and there are many pitfalls. As a final point before the meditation, Alan shows how this practice is a very smooth transition from the Settling the Mind practice from yesterday (Monday), talking about visual space as nothing other than mental space, and showing how to glide from attending to space to attending to awareness itself. He briefly gives some different ways of doing the oscillation (which by now you should be very familiar with, refer to the first episodes otherwise), which are suited for different people, and then we jump in! After the meditation, Alan talks about his first Shamatha retreat back in 1980 and squeezes a few more drops out of using too much strength without relaxation and stability. Enjoy! This sky picture is a part of a great set taken by Malcolm.