Medidation Group - Session #1
5:09AM Feb 9, 2021
Instant instant pews, right? Hey, everybody. Welcome to our new meditation track here. So hey, I'm doing this really geeky new thing for me, I want everybody for just a second to turn on the cameras. So that I can see who I'm talking to. Otherwise, I'm all by myself. It's so lonely over here. It's just me and Andy and my computer screen. And since it's all about me, it's helpful to know that there is a you. Oh, that's great. Excellent. A makes me happy. Cool. Good deal. So yeah, this is our that's really terrific. This is the inauguration actually of this new track. Really, by kind of by demand in a sweet way, a lot of people over the last several months have been saying, Can we get together and do something every week meditation, which is really kind of funny, because meditation is actually the art of doing nothing. So people used to tell me, where they used to ask me like, you know, what do you do at your meditation center, right? And when I'm feeling playful, I'd say, Well, you know, we do nothing. But we do it really well. It's not easy to do nothing. Well. So we're gonna, we're gonna get together once a week to do nothing together. Isn't that fantastic? It's so it's so perfect, actually. So the aspiration are really by a number of requests for playing requests of people saying, geez, let's do something together. We've been promised it promising it. So we're finally going to do it. And so I I will be having way these little sessions will be structured is I will be doing the vast, vast majority of them. But there's some really talented people, meditation instructors, certified instructors, that I know that I'm going to invite in on certain occasions, that I believe are really gifted meditation instructors. And that's of some importance, I believe, because they're, you know, anybody can put up a shingle with this sort of thing. But I think it does help to have some training around this, I was actually went through the whole training thing, decades ago, had the whole testing thing, literally written exam, oral exam, certification thing. And so I will be bringing along some of my meditation friends to assist on some occasions, to offer some practices that they may have some more expertise than myself. And so I'm excited about that open embrace as well. And so the fundamental aspiration here really, is to support our journey, diurnal or nocturnal? meditation is really the heart of the whole thing. And I'm writing a couple books now very specifically about practices. Beyond mindfulness meditation, we're going to start with mindfulness Shemitah. And that's what we're gonna do today. But you know, when I look at virtually everything I've written, taught about for quite a number of years now it all centered or circumambulate, this meditation thing. It's really the core is the core of the whole thing. And so the way these sessions will go, as I will be limiting my comments, just to give you know, preparatory statements, when necessary instructions, sometimes rather pithy, sometimes more extended, when I first introduced a practice, I will do a more extended instruction. And then that will be archived in the nightclub platform, so people who come in a little bit later that may want a little bit more extended meditation and structure can come back and refer to that kind of recorded archived collection. But there are a number of reasons why this practice of meditation, of course, is so incredibly important. And one is, you know, using this pedagogical approach that every every program I do, I always talk about these three
kind of wisdom tools, which are prevalent throughout Indyk thought all together. It's not just Buddhism that has this. And so many of you know these already. These are the three wisdom tools of hearing, contemplating meditating, here, ingest, digest, metabolize, and this is really important because that's what separates the material, the teaching material, everything that I present, it really that the wisdom traditions altogether present from like a universe. The course right, where it's not just didactic information that's left at the level of hearing, we want to get these teachings into our system, make them less conceptual and more embodied, more incorporated literally, with, you know, brought into the soma. And so the meditation trajectory is really an important one that also serves as a kind of filtration purification system. And by that what I mean is the level of hearing, that's what we're doing now. Or when you read, you know, that's conceptual. And being conceptual, it's limited, it's important, but it's limited. It's really, in a certain sense, stained by conceptual ality, when you contemplate your reflect, you start to digest that a little bit purer, because it's more embodied less conceptual. And then the final step, of course, is full bodied incorporation, which is meditation, bringing it fully into your system. This is where the filtration, purification is complete. It's non conceptual, it's fully embodied. And so it's really as I say, it's transforming cerebral data into somatic fiber. So the teachings almost literally become you. I mean, they really just become part of your your being. And you can feel this and people who have done the work. In fact, the Tibetan name for His Holiness, Dalai Lama is Kundun, K, u n, d, and there's a movie by that title 15 years ago, or so, literally means presence, presence. And so with people who have done this work, there's a quality of presence around them, they were the teachings. And interestingly enough, you know, deception cannot follow you into your body. This is the basis even for lie detectors, your body speaks a deeper truth than your conceptual mind. And so, we use this to really attain the deepest level of truth which is fundamentally within us. Conversely, what happens is when you leave your body and bodily experience and bodily knowing and kind of spin up into your head that that filtration purification purification system is turned upside down were then initially pure experiences stained, polluted, despoiled as it runs back up into the arena of the conceptual mind. So deeper truths are revealed in the soma in the body. And this is the main reason why we do these. So another one, of course is, especially with the nocturnal meditations, the practice of meditation itself is designed to introduce you to diurnal daytime correlates to nocturnal nighttime states of mind. So nocturnal is, you know, in my languaging is a code word for subtle nocturnal meditations or subtle meditations. And one of the main reasons we miss them Miss lucidity at night, is because the gross mind kind of steam rolls over these subtle domains. And so by working with these subtle dimensions of mind during the day, just what happens, we start to recognize them at night. I mean, how can you meet, let alone recognize something at night that you haven't met in the full light of day. And so this is why really Many studies have shown in my informal polls show that, you know, meditators have more lucid dreams, categorically. Advanced meditators have a lot more lucid dreams. And in the mind of a meditation Master, all their dreams are lucid, there's no such thing as a non lucid dream, in the mind of a meditation master.
So this is, you know, pretty darn important. I'm not going to get too kind of doctrinal about this, because in some of the earlier webinars, probably Well, probably over a year ago at this point, and maybe we can start to highlight those and kind of slot them in for you. I went through three or four or five part webinar series talking about meditation. So I don't there's no need to reiterate a lot of the material I covered there, we will send up some of the numbers and links for those webinars if you're interested in some of the more kind of I was gonna say theoretical, but it's not really theoretical. It's only theoretical, because we may not have experienced it yet. So what we do of course, here is in that sense, we bring theory rhetoric into reality. So what I will be doing then is introducing these these practices We will do them together. And I will allow opportunity for offerings questions discussion at the end. And if possible relegated exclusively towards some meditative related topics. We have other venues and forums for other questions like the Thursday gathering the book group thing on Tuesday nights, if there are no questions around meditation, then we can entertain other kind of broader topics. But I want to keep this this track, relegated, devoted, dedicated to this particular topic. And so what I will be sharing with you, then, who knows how long this goes, probably a fairly long period of time, I'll be sharing with you quite a number of meditations. And I want to share just a little bit about this, where this comes from. It's a little bit what I'm writing about. Now, when when I did my three year retreat, which really was a five year retreat, I was in one year, out in the world for a year back in for a year back out. And so during the course of this five years, I was you know, doing a retreat is like going to a meditation University. It was an unbelievable opportunity. And in fact, one of the really skillful means of having the year out is you know, there's so many practices that were given, they come rather quickly. That's even in a in an intense environment where I'm, you know, completely secluded, no outside contact, practicing, you know, virtually 14 hours a day, even with that intense level of work. It's still difficult to incorporate it because there's just so much and so the year off helped me digest incorporate also helped me prepare for the next year. And but I share this with you because I was introduced to 5060 different types of practices. And so when we talk about meditation, you know, what, what type of meditation are you talking about? meditation is like sports. I mean, there are hundreds of sports. It's the same with meditation. So meditation is a catch all term, mostly people associated with mindfulness. But there, there are dozens and dozens of practices. And over these next months, years, I will share as many of these as I can with you. And I'm excited about that. I mean, it's kind of a cool thing. Some of them will be extremely short, some of these kind of what I call emergency meditations really pithy, like on the spot, applicable things you can do in the midst of your daily life, others will be a little bit more systematic, that will require a little bit more unfolding. They may actually take some weeks, if not longer, maybe even months to really unpack because they're so nuanced. They're so subtle.
So from the day to the night from really short to really long, from somewhat over the counter to almost prescription strength, meditations. The aspiration in this journey is to introduce you to just this magnificent array of skillful means these wisdom technologies that are really quite remarkable. I mean, in the in the tradition I follow the most which is Tibetan vegetariana Buddhism, that's my kind of path. synonym for badgering Ghana is rupiah IANA Yana meaning vehicle rupiah meaning skillful means. So Tantra, same as virginiana, semi synonymous Tantra. virginiana, is also rupiah Yana, the vehicle of skillful means so many different meditations to work with every aspect of life. And so with that said, let's get going or let's not get going. Let's, let's stop. And so the meditation I'm going to do today if, if you have a meditation cushion, again, you can do this sitting in your chair, I'm going to do it that way, for obvious reasons. But if you have a cushion and want to take your seat on that cushion now feel free to do that. If you're sitting in a chair, I will guide you through this first foundational practice. This is the practice of Shama TA, sh a ma tha Shemitah in Sanskrit means tranquility, peace. I like that. Even that term I like you know, Oh, honey, I'm going downstairs to practice peace. It's beautiful. So, in Tibetan the word is Shinae. Somewhat connected to mindfulness it there's some very technical specific things that maybe we can get into later. shamatha is is mindfulness is part of the shamatha journey. It's actually Including in what's called the fourth stage of Shama, there are nine stages of the progression of this meditation. And I will give you references and texts for support if you're interested. Mindfulness has cultivated most particularly in the fourth of these nine stages. And I'll say a little bit more later, more specifically about the correlation between Shama Tai, and mindfulness, they're very deeply connected. But for now, I will guide you through this. We'll do it for a little while. And I will try to allow 15 minutes of time for q&a, we run a little bit over, we can go a little bit over. But again, the essence of what we do here is is practice together, say less, do nothing more. So I close my eyes when I do this meditation, there are pros and cons to doing it with your eyes open or closed, I close my eyes, because I do get a little distracted with all the lights and everything that's happening. So unless I'm spacing out and looking straight up, when I look right into the camera, it's a tad bit distracting for me. So I close my eyes. But you can do this practice with your eyes open or closed. It's helpful on one level to do it with your eyes closed, because that helps kind of gather the mind. That's an advantage. But it's actually a little bit more advanced. To do this practice with your eyes open, because fundamentally, what we want to do is mix meditation with post meditation. In other words, mix the meditative mind with life. And unless you're blind, most of us probably lead our lives with our eyes open. So I was trained from day one to practice with my eyes open. And so I will return to how to work with your gaze. But the first thing we do is we take our seat on the chair or the cushion. And I articulate this practice in three stages, body stage, kind of a speech or breath stage. And then a mind stage. So body, speech and mind, body, breath and mind. And even though the articulation is somewhat linear and progressive, from body, breath to mind, they are also
interdependent. So each stage supports the other. And you'll see more of this as we go along. And so right at the outset, even though we start with body, there's also a kind of attitudinal posture. It's not just physical posture, there's an attitudinal posture, a posture of attitude. Which really here means one of dignity, strength, immutability. And you can even say, regality there's a real noble quality, noble attitude and so that that mental attitude, that posture of mind actually helps us inform the posture we take with our bodies.
And so, this deep connection between body and mind is in fact deep and profound in a number of different wisdom traditions, including the work, believe it or not, of Spinoza what he called his double aspect theory of mind and body you could say, mind is very subtle body. Body is very gross mind. So we're going to use body and mind to support each other to lift each other into wakefulness.
So, therefore, in many ways, this first phase of body is the most important. First foundational foundation of mindfulness is mindfulness of body.
trunk were mpj once once so far as to say that by simply taking the proper posture, Sooner or later you will find yourself meditating.
I often invite just a brief kind of experiment here to show you how powerful the connection is by simply noticing the texture of your mind without judgment for the next 20 seconds, just simply witness your mind without changing anything.
Notice how the following extremely minor modification of posture will change the posture of your mind. Smile just raise the corner of your lips a few millimeters and is it not the case that your mind also smiles as your body smiles.
So we use this interconnectivity, body and mind to invoke qualities of mind. And by this I mean an attentive posture. As we'll see, dignified, upright, awake, attentive posture. that invokes invites a correlative quality of mind.
So if you're sitting on a chair like I am, there is some formality here, feet are planted squarely gently but firmly on the ground.
hands resting passively on your thighs, not too far forward, not too far back, kind of a middle way theme, which we will see frequently in the upcoming weeks.
And if you are sitting on a chair, the invitation here is to pull away from the back from the support which represents the quality of independence that I can do this without leaning on anything. I can do this on my own.
Feel your connection to the chair to the seat or to the meditation cushion
which invites a connection to the gentle sanity of this good earth.
Your body is your personal Earth.
You come from this earth and you will return to it so we enhance our connection to this good earth.
As we work our way up your back, your torso is upright, but it's not stiff. Again, it's a dignified, stable posture. Where the strength of the spinal column represents a masculine quality of fearlessness, immutability and movability strength
And yet this is balanced by an open heart center. A more feminine quality of gentleness, receptivity, openness and accommodation.
You can accommodate anything without being moved by it.
So these postural qualities of gentleness and fearlessness will be extended into our relationship to the contents of mind. Gentle but fearless relationship to our mind and heart.
Shoulders are pulled back and upright. It's very common these days for the shoulders to collapse is the type of character armor to protect the heart.
So for many people, the invitation is to pull your shoulders back.
And I have discovered that if there is one central hinge instruction, posture, really it is to open your heart, reveal and expose your heart center.
It's almost as if every other aspect of the posture kind of aligns itself around that central instruction.
Which makes total sense because in both Pali and Sanskrit, the word for mind and heart is the same Cheetah, Cheetah
so we're learning how to open our heart mind to ourselves and then to others.
As we continue to work our way up the head is aligned above the spinal column. Above the heart center, which is a gesture of aligning head and heart, intuition and intellect.
For many people in the West, me included we lead with our intellect with our heads which results in the head tipped forward, inviting a quality of lordosis or curvature of the spine which is not so healthy.
which often has us heading in the wrong direction. So we have to rein in for many rain in the intellect the head bringing it back in harmony with the body in the heart.
which at first may seem a little bit too tight, a little bit too drawn back, but if you had someone take a photograph of you from the side you would be quite surprised how forward caved collapsed, most of us tend to be
few final modifications. Tongue rests on the back of the upper teeth, which reduces salivary flow.
lips are ever so slightly parted.
And if your eyes are open, the gaze is down
six feet or so in front of you.
It's an unfocused, open, receptive visual field.
The second phase is all about breath relating to the natural movement of your breathing.
You simply bring your awareness to the natural movement of your breath.
You don't imagine it, you don't visualize it, you simply feel it.
Which when it's done fully becomes a rather sensual experience meditation is actually very sensual experience.
Because there quite literally brings you to your senses,
which can only operate in the present moment, you literally cannot see the past or hear the future, the senses grounds you in the present moment. So we use that.
So with these two phases, we're simply sitting and breathing. That's it.
Do not let the simplicity below the profundity because this simplicity will in fact defeat the complex modern mind which has to surrender to this simplicity.
Complexity doesn't stand a chance against simplicity.
third phase of course is all about mind establishing a more heightened sense tentative relationship to the contents of your mind heart.
The instruction here is that whenever anything distracts you thought, image fantasy. Sound regret doesn't matter. whenever anything steals your awareness
which by the way, is itself a moment of non lucidity.
You gently but precisely acknowledge that your mind has strayed
by saying to yourself mentally thinking and then return to body and breath.
Thinking back to body and breath.
Labels label thinking is not a reprimand it's merely an act of recognition that your mind has strayed.
Thoughts are never the enemy, never the problem.
The problem is inappropriate relationship to thought, grasping, pushing away.
The genius of this technique is that the status the stability of body and breath acts as a kind of Canvas.
A new contrast medium that allows you to see things you haven't seen before.
Things that are normally camouflaged by the relentless activities of our lives.
sitting meditation removes the camouflage and allows you to see as never before,
which is precisely why many initial meditators often complain meditation is making things worse. I never had so many thoughts before. Yes, you did. You simply never saw them.
So this practice is simultaneously diagnostic and prescriptive.
It will diagnose the relentless activity of your mind and how you get hooked into it.
And it's curative because it prescribes the practice of letting go
It's always recommended that when one transitions from meditation to post meditation that one does so slowly.
It's very interesting to observe how quickly the movement of the body ignites movement of mind. And how readily we lose the meditative mind when we start to move.
This is one reason in upcoming weeks and months, we will be doing different types of meditations in different postures and also movements meditations as a way to extend the qualities of the meditative mind that are nurtured in this very necessary kind of incubator.
So I always recommend slow kind of movement of the joints turning of the head.
It's actually said in the classic texts, that when one is meditating,
relaxes and opens, and one. And when one transitions into life post meditation, one tends to tighten, in other words, heighten one's can kind of qualities of attention, because once again, very often as we start to move, we lose. We get lost in motion.
So for the rest of this time today, if there are questions, offerings, comments, specifically about meditation, either written or Andy can call you if you raise your hand. Now's the time we can have a discussion. Other questions on different topics, they can be relegated to our other venues. So most welcome, please.
let you know if anything comes in. Oh, Kathy raised her hand. I said bringing Kathy.
Hello. Hi, I'm sorry, little dark. outside. I'm sorry. Thank you and endure. I just had a question. I'm like really curious about the nature of falling asleep like either, you know, full on falling asleep at night, or we're meditating. And we're kind of falling asleep? Because I understand that the nature of mind is being self aware. Right. And obviously, we're not really self aware. It seems that when we're like falling asleep, so is it that the awareness is like actually not working? Or is there like just a disconnect between the absolutely, absolutely, that kind of self aware versus like what we're conscious of? So I don't know. I'm hoping the question. Yeah,
yeah, it's the latter, there's a disconnect, because the awareness is, is actually always there. And this extends acquired across quite a spectrum. On one level, very subtle dimensions of awareness, complete self awareness with a big ass, not a little less. That type of awareness is actually 24. Seven, that type of constant awareness never actually turns off that's always on. And so what happens with us is to greater or lesser degrees, just like you were saying, we disconnect from that, we stray from it. When we're sitting in meditation a little bit more specifically, if I'm hearing you properly. Especially Well, I should say, either long sitting, sitting meditation sessions or when we're lying down, to go to sleep. Because the mind is so habituated to associating kind of activity with clarity when the mind when we start to settle down, especially when we lie down. You know, the kind of ingrained default is to become mindless to kind of just lose that awareness. So when you're in meditation, one way you can work with that if this is part of what your question may be, is if you start to feel kind of soggy, heavy, and losing it a little bit, there's a number of things you can do. thing is check your posture, put your shoulders back up, tighten, raise the posture a little bit. You can also open your eyes or if your eyes were open, you raise your gaze you look directly head, you can take one or two really slow, deep breaths that oxygenates the system tends to ventilate, raises both the inner and outer winds to uplift a little bit. If you're still feeling a little heavy and soggy, you can take a little meditation, transition into walking meditation, literally get up off the cushion. walk around the room for five minutes, we'll do this a little bit more formally down the road a little bit. But walking meditation helps to infuse a little bit of energy along those lines. And if you're still struggling, then I usually recommend people just take a short nap, because otherwise what can happen, you can develop this kind of adversarial relationship to that mind, I need to stay awake. toughing it out. So, I'm going to pause for a second because I want to make sure I'm addressing exactly what you're asking. But that's kind of what I'm hearing.
Um, can I reply? Yeah, it is. I mean, I don't have like a lot of problem with falling asleep in meditation. But I'm like, in general, just really curious about this thing about meditating while sleeping. And I know maybe this is not exactly what we're doing right now. Maybe at some point, you could talk about that. Because that sleep yoga, and that's just so hard for me to just even like get even a little bit of it. Because I watched two YouTubes. One is by minko, rimba, Shay, and he said, Okay, before you go to sleep, just have the intention that you're meditating, you're mindful. And then you go to sleep. And then when you wake up, you're kind of like coming out of meditation. So it almost seemed like you he was making it just like, if you even just have the intention. Even if you go unconscious. It's sort of constituted as a meditation. Yes. That like is like okay, well, I guess I'm meditating every night, but I'm really not aware of it. Yes. A little hard for me to deal with, you know,
right. So yes, that's a yes. What Major mpj is referring to here is that that sleep is what's called a variable mental factor. There There are wholesome, wholesome, unwholesome, positive, negative and neutral or variable mental factors. Sleep is a variable mental factor. And so it means remember Jay is talking about there's a really wonderful common teaching for dreaming sleep yoga, where this is my languaging. But what you want to do is setting by setting that intention you perfume, the night, you sit, you try to make that domain of experience virtuous, by setting that intense, intense, literally etymologically the word means to stretch towards. So you're stretching the the conscious mind towards these previously unconscious domains. And therefore you're perfuming the sleep and dream state with this virtuous intent, and therefore, it actually makes your sleep more likely, in fact, to be virtuous, especially if you do it just before you go to sleep, using the laws of logic called proximate karma. There are several laws of karma transitional laws of karma that take place when we fall asleep, or when we die. In one of these laws is the law of proximate karma, which means the state of mind that that approximates that is closest to the state of death, or in this case, sleep and dream, actually associate you know, colors perfumes, marinates, succeeding states of consciousness. So it can get a little bit subtle and technical here on one level, that's a magnificent thing to do on another level, you know, maintaining this kind of constant lucidity consciousness that perhaps manger mpj can do to a pretty remarkable degree, His Holiness Karmapa, the great awakened ones, they can do this 24 seven, they, this can kind of pave the way for literal meditation throughout the night. And we will talk more about that later. Like why it is that we lose it. There are a number of reasons why we lose it, which we'll talk about later. Why, in fact, can we not attain sustain mindfulness awareness, as we turn the dimmer down there? There are reasons for that, but I'm going to save that for a future discussion. So one last final thing around this is that this is a little bit more philosophical, but it can be of some interest. Philosophers talk about the difference between Access Consciousness and phenomenon. Consciousness. And by this, this is important for us, because what it means is you can have a phenomenal experience, like meditation in the sleep and dream state or even a lucid dream and not remember it, that's what's called Access Consciousness. So you can actually have an experience and not have access to it. And so that's another very interesting thing to play with that, you know, there could be the subtle domains, for instance, like lucid dreams, even glimpses of lucid sleep that you're actually already having. But you're not accessing them to memory. That's a difficult thing to you know, assess. But it's very, it's a classic kind of philosophical doctrine that really applies to what we do with especially these kind of nocturnal practices. So something like that.
Yeah, thank you very much. Super. Appreciate it.
Next time, you can come out of the dark.
I am so sorry. No, don't be sorry.
It's kind of symbolic. Actually. I like it.
Thanks, Kathy. Okay, we'll bring in Wendy next, and then I have some chat questions. Okay.
Hi, Andrew, I want to just really express appreciation that you're doing this.
I love the simplicity of this first meditation is really powerful for me.
And if I have a question, it is,
is the meditation enhanced by the fact that there are a group of us doing it at the same time?
It is actually it is? That's a good question. In my retreat, you know, we did, I did my three year retreat in a group, they were eight, eight, many women in a number of the llamas that came in to train us to teach us these practices, you know, because a lot of people like me included, I didn't want to practice, you know, we we, we practice in our little cubicles, we had tiny little rooms. And then we did one group thing every day. And then there were several months, which I found absolutely excruciating. Where we practice for months on end all day long with each other. And the Lamas knew that this was challenging for all of us. And they and it's classic teaching it in the text that you you actually magnify the power of your practice by the number of people that are doing it. And that and that's interesting, because on one level, it doesn't it's not limited by space and time. So we're all over the place. Some people may even be in different countries doesn't matter. There's, you know, there's a deeper underlying connectivity that is not actually limited to space and time. So what you're saying is absolutely true. That there is definitely more power to collective practice, which is one reason, after a little bit of my resistance, I said, I think this could really be a nice idea to strengthen the community to strengthen the quality of practice the kind of group mind, because it's exactly as you say, it really is, we kind of support each other. You kind of lean on each other even though we may be 1000s of miles apart. So yeah, absolutely. Thank you so much. Welcome. Alright, I'll read some of the chat questions. And then we'll get to Eric is live question. Okay. This is from Nancy. Any advice on how to approach tension in the body, shoulders or your jaw while meditating? Mm hmm. Yeah. Yes. Well, first is celebrate the recognition that you are feeling in knowing that tension. I'm not kidding. That's very often we're completely unaware of how frozen intense we are. I'm, I'm big into this right now. Some of you may know I'm writing this entire book on contraction. intention and how it really goes down to the cellular level, where you know, samsara is based on contraction, so our body is riddled with contraction. That's basically the somatic analog to runaway thinking. They're two sides of the same coin. While discursive, runaway thoughts and somatic tension are directly related. So when we open to ourselves through these types of meditations, again, we start to see and feel things perhaps never seen or felt before. Very often, this can be this kind of de icing process where you know, it's a little bit like, I ski a lot, right? I go sometimes when it's super cold, my feet get frozen. I don't even know they're frozen until I step inside, and it's like, Whoa, I can't even feel that I can't even feel right and then what happens right, start to warm up starts to thought it hurts like crazy. You start to feel all this stuff dying. So the tension is is actually a good sign, it means that you're starting to access These levels of contraction which will continue either way, you will notice further and further levels of tension. several ways to work with it one is befriended, make friends with it, don't try to fight it, breathe into it. Later, we'll be talking about what are called reverse meditations beyond the scope of today, where you actually have techniques to go directly into the tension. But for now, in conjunction to what you're doing, with your formal meditation, I really recommend bodywork yoga, Qigong, Tai Chi, Lu, john, we'll be doing some of this together. Because you have to bring the body along sooner, sooner or later on the meditative path, you are going to run into your body, right? There's no way to avoid it. So I recommend to support this in advance of your practice loosening, opening, yoga exercises, the I'll be referencing a ton of books to help you support this journey, the work of Reggie Ray, original Ray, he's written for quite good books on this topic. All four of them are really skillful. And I think it's in
either the practice of pure awareness, or the book called somatic descent, where Reggie talks quite quite great length about tension, and working with it. So if you are really deep into this stuff, Reggie is pretty savvy with the way he's developed his system here, I appreciate what he's done. But for now, feel into it, breathe into it, be curious, Oh, geez, that's really interesting. Go into it, explore it, but don't, you know, don't entertain yourself with it. That's the other thing, right? Because then you'll just use that as a little distraction therapy, you'll actually go into that, you know, get lost in it. So you want to acknowledge it, but not entertain it. If you're really sore, intense, you can actually you know, lie down, do a little stretching to open it up and come back to this ending posture. But this this, you know, cutting body mind thing is going to be a colossal part of our journey together. That's why I you know, most of what I started today was what body instructions? A lot more coming up. But that's what comes to mind for now. All right, yeah. This is from quilly. Just wondering, where do you suggest watching the breath with this meditation? Were watching the run? Yeah. I'm not entirely sure I understand the question clearly. But you know, it's not so much witnessing again, you're not really watching it, you're feeling it. So you're not you're not creating this kind of distance witnessing. It's, it's a somatic experience, you feel it. And so when you actually feel that you're not witnessing it, you're not watching it at all, you you are it. So in this case, you know, you're not trying to witness it, you're actually trying to be it. So just simply feel it, there isn't really a witnessing perspective, you may think that there is, you know, we have, interestingly enough, studies have shown that the sense of self is is located about three inches behind the eyes on the forehead Center, which is connected to vision, connected to our brain associated with identity. So when we do meditate, even meditations that are designed to work with visualization and witness awareness, almost by default, and most people don't really think of it until they're asked to look at it, we associate it from witnessing position here. That's not what we're doing with the breath. There's no instruction to watch the breath here. There's instruction to feel the breath to be with it. So you're not really watching watching it. Clearly. You're actually just feeling it. Okay, that if that's what your question is, yeah, I just saw Callie's hand go up. So let me bring it out. Bring her on.
So I understand what you're saying. But still in the belly, in the heart, at the nostrils.
That's what I said. Yeah. Good question. I see what you're saying. Thank you for clarifying that. Now. I see what you're saying. Yes, at the last rules at the last rules. There are other you have to
start over because I did it at the heart.
Oh, it's all it's a total waste. It's a total waste of time. Yeah, you know, there are there are other there are other ways where like when we do have a lying down meditation, then I will invite you to actually put your hands on your belly and pay attention to your respiration through your belly breathing. And there's certainly nothing wrong with what you did right? tongue in cheek, but here the invitation really is just to feel it. through your nostrils and through the kind of larynx pharynx oral environment. Okay, I think I'll read this next chat question and then we'll bring in Eric. This is from Maura. Could you please discuss intuition regarding meditation and the open heart? How can we know its intuition and not habitual patterns of response? Yeah, great question. Sometimes it's tricky. One way to suss it out is to pay attention to the affective somatic first thought. So Trump mpj talking, Alan Ginsburg, first thought best thought, which doesn't on one level really relate to thought it's more like first hit, best hit. So one way to suss out intuition from like habitual, whatever is, is to pay homage to that very first felt sense. Before literally, that's the way Eugene gendlin talked about it a very, very sophisticated body worker felt sense. Where are you? That's pre conceptual, actually. And so on that level, that's, you can be pretty sure that's pure, that's clean, that's that non habituated aspect of your being. And so this is a wonderful question. And also a wonderful invitation for honesty, because very often what happens, we will, in fact, have these intuitions in tune with it in tune with body all the time, frequently, you know, whatever, communicating messaging, cancer consequence of opening. And in that very first instant, before second thought before commentary before the Spin Doctors come in, you want to stay down with that you want to stay with that felt sense, because that's pure, that's pure, again, non conceptual, that's pure. So you stay with that, that affective that somatic sense. And then what you will notice that's also very interesting how quickly, it squirts it contracts. And then you start to think, right, you start to think it double think at second thought, whatever, then you're off, you're already off. Then you're downloading that into your chatterbox. It is going to come in, and it's just going to stain it. So that's what I do. And sometimes it takes courage because sometimes the intuition is actually not what you want to feel. It's not what you want to hear. And so very often the mind the conceptual thinking mind comes in lightning fast to edit it. Oh, that's not really what that was about. Now, it's this that's already stained. So it takes some sensitivity, encouraged to stay with that first thought best thought first field first hit, best hit. That's what you pay homage to, because that's, that's when you're in tune with it. That's where the intuition strikes, so to speak. Okay.
All right. And next, we'll bring in Eric.
Andrew. Hey, bud. Um, so my question is on following the breath at the nose. I typically breathe through my left nostril. dominantly. Like almost always, yeah. And I'm wondering, like, what's going on there, like physiologically, cuz you're supposedly can switch Li the physiologically and or like subtle body level, right? So you know that this starts to have an impact? I don't really know what's Yeah, what's going on? Yeah, I mean, first of all, a couple things. One is if that's the presentation, don't change it. Just be with that. So that's probably the most important thing. Secondly, yes, what you're saying is, you know, from an inner yogic point of view, the winds do shift between left and right. You know, channels. And you will notice this, I mean, you know, I noticed it quite frequently, especially in meditation, all of a sudden, you know, what, my nose isn't plugged up. All of a sudden, one nose just opens right? Like, where's that coming from? What's that about? So that's part of the inner rhythms of the subtle body, which parenthetically, are deeply connected to the Zodiac and astrology, this stuff gets so profound, you know, it really, you know, the whole system of external astrology and I can't speak a lot about this. I'm not that kind of astrologer. But what I do understand is really interesting that it has subtle body correlates as these winds in energies move within the body. So I guess that's all I can say about that, that I wouldn't really force it unless you have a broken nose and need to see an EMT which I don't think You know, we all have eosin kradic patterns. Sometimes they don't follow the so called textbooks, but that doesn't mean we're somehow deficient or lacking. It's just our particular kind of style. And one large part of meditation is, is the Swami. Kripalu said, you know, highest form of spiritual practice is self observation without judgment, where it doesn't matter, tension, blocked nostril crazy mind. You know, you just witnessed it, observe it at this level, there's further to go. But he's called he's cultivating and talking about that type of witness awareness, which is actually very helpful. So that's what comes to mind. But around that, unless there's something else, I'm just curious if there are any kind of like pranayama practices in Buddhism, I never really see that talked about much. Oh, it's huge. Yeah, you know, then we don't really use the word pranayama. But there's nine breath purification practices, there's, you know, variations of what's called vas breathing. The whole inner yogic system is based on the movements of wind and breath. And so it's a vast literature with many practices. I supplement these with classic, you know, kind of Hindu pranayama things. And so you can learn that maybe later. In fact, I'm sure later we will do I will introduce to you kind of mindful old purification practices that actually involve a variation of pranayama opening and closing nostrils, literally. But again, that's a little bit down the road. So you know, if you're into that, and I think it's fantastic. You may actually want to look a little bit more over the counter accessible is actually the Hindu, Hatha Yoga pranayama type practices. The Buddhist stuff tends to be a little bit more cryptic, secretive. But I'll share some of these things a little bit farther down the road. But yeah, pranayama is an awesomely powerful practice to do. I mean, breath is so powerful that the word spirit isn't spirituality comes from a root that means breath. Yeah. So breath is, you know, is a huge deal. And we'll be doing some called windhorse. Raising practices later, where we work with these winds a little bit more directly, but that's a little bit farther down the windy road. Great. Thank you very much. Appreciate it. Windy, windy road. Welcome. Cool. Thanks, Eric. We've got nothing. Nothing else lined up with him. Nothing is the best. Finding the moon sorry. I'm sorry, one came in to came in. Oh, crap. We didn't cut it off in time. Just kidding. Please, more than welcome. That I think this is a question from Laurie. I think this is a question for you. Let me read it off the cushion? Do we keep the sensation of the breath in the background of our awareness? Or is that not necessary? Oh, that's a really good question, Laurie. At this point, it's not necessary, because
later, yes, later, when we will do what's called vas breathing, that's different than you can do that. But for now, what you do, and this is why we'll eventually be doing walking meditation. When you when you're out and about in the world, you drop the reference of the breath. And the reference becomes whatever you're actually experiencing. So you don't really walk around worried about your breathing. And I wouldn't say worried, mindful of your breathing, unless that happens to kind of capture your mindfulness. You're simply bringing your awareness to the present moment, whether it's walking, you know, feeling the water as you're washing the dishes, feeling your feet as you're walking, feeling the wind. So it's a little bit more open, freestyle. And that's usually why we end up losing it. Because there's, you know, so many options for that, that it's easy to get lost in that. But in short, when you leave the meditation, as we're doing it, now, you release the reference to the breath. And you basically bring your mindfulness awareness to whatever is actually arising. Usually, you know, sense faculties, right? Pay attention, be mindful of sight, sound, taste, touch.
Okay. And let's bring in Evelyn, next.
how are you?
Hi, um, sometimes when I meditate, I feel like I'm connecting to other people's energies. So I might think of a person and then I'll feel something that I feel like isn't mine. And often when I say like, I call this person afterwards, I'll say, you know, I was just thinking about you in my meditation or I was feeling sad for some reason, thinking of you or I was feeling happy thinking about you. And then they'll say something that sort of confirms that. And I was wondering if there's a way to not Like to, cuz sometimes I feel it almost like, like, failed polling. So like, it's like, oh, I'm breathing in synergy. And if it's particularly heavy or negative, it's just like stuck. And then I don't really know, how do you really?
Well, you know, again, this begs an interesting question is, there's a number of ways to relate to it. The issue is, is not mixing different practices together. And by this what I mean, is that one of the, the one of the strengths of this tradition and all the meditations that are presents, that's a really, that's a beautiful strength of all these practices. And they'll say how that relates to what you're talking about. One of the kind of near enemies of that is, we can actually become discursive in our different meditations. Right? So instead of paying homage to just this pure sitting meditation, we go, Oh, I'm getting bored, whatever, I don't want to do that. So I'm going to do a little tongue land. Oh, I'm getting bored of that. Let me do a little vase breathing. Oh, that doesn't work. Let me do a little liminal dreaming. I think you get what I say. Yeah, so one important ingredient of an honest meditator is being honest to the practice. So in this case, what that means is, when you're doing this practice, the instruction, the strength comes from its simplicity. If you have the sauce, if you feel these thoughts, don't indulge them. If you want to do that in a different setting, that's a different story. But you know, you feel it, you acknowledge it, you let it go, you don't feel it, entertain it, go into it, and say, Oh, I need to call this person, right. I'm not saying that's bad at all. I'm saying that's just a different table, that's a different kind of arena of relationship. The strength of this practice is, is you don't mess with it, you know, you let it you let it you surrender to it. So if something like that arises, you gently label it thinking, it doesn't matter. It doesn't have to be thought you still label it thinking, it can be a feeling, it can be whatever. If you get sucked into it hooked in your a little bit off your body and breath, label it, come back, simple as that, label it, come back. After that, say, Okay, I want to do this for 10 minutes, set the time, do it for 10 or 20 minutes. And then you say, you know what, I want to go back into that space for another 10 minutes. And I want to maybe connect and work with exactly what you're talking about. Now you have a new platform. And now you pay you can play with it a little bit more freely that way, this is actually a tad bit important. Because ego is very subtle, slippery, sophisticated, it will do all kinds of things to kick you off, from, you know, the kind of the straight line track of just staying with these practices. So that's a really important point that we'll probably be hearing, you know, 100 times, as we go through these different practices together, you don't want to this is not salad bar approach, right? You don't want to, you don't want to just take a little bit here a little bit there. Keep it simple, keep it pure, you'll find your meditation strengthen if you do that, otherwise, you're gonna dilute it.
So I'm just to clarify, when I feel as if a felt sense was just lingering, it's probably because I'm clinging on to it,
well, then I can't say for sure, that may or may not be the case. I mean, you know, you may be a sensitive so to speak, you may have these kind of Shimano qualities or whatever, where you can really tune in, that's a really beautiful quality. So I can't say with total authority, that that is in fact that you're just discursive mind is hooked into that and you're running with it, maybe? I would say probably, but I can't say for sure. I mean, sometimes these felt senses come pre conceptual. And it may not be you. But it's still,
that's how I experience it.
Yeah, but it's still being registered in your awareness. And so it could very well be something transmitted communicated that is, in fact, not coming from you have a little bit like the support question earlier that you know, we are not separate from each other. And the more open and transparent we come, be we make ourselves towards ourselves. The more pores open, transparent, we are to others. And you start to have you start to you know, Intuit more, you start to feel more to the point where you get so open, you read other people's minds. I mean, this is classic, you just become so open. You know, you can read other people's minds. So I mean, I'll let that go for now. But yeah, it could very well be something pre conceptual that is not coming from you. But that's something that you kind of have to maybe suss out and play with a little bit.
Thank you. Okay. Yep. Thanks.
You bet. All right. Are we good, Andy? Yeah, it seems so. Okay. Hey, thanks, everybody. This is our inauguration. We should have some champagne. We launched this meditative track. We've been talking about it for months. So this is the sort of thing we'll do. I'll probably, you know, say less than less, give us a little bit more time for practice. And then emergent design, which means I have an idea of where I want to go with this. But a lot of it is just dancing with you, your aspirations, your desires, the feedback I get from your questions, but I'm kind of jazzed about introducing this new dimension. And because we had so many people here, it seems to be resonant with ul. So thank you so much for joining me. Tomorrow book study group. We got cool things happening a lot these days webinar on Wednesday, weekly gathering on Thursday movie night. I mean, almost every day of the week. Thanks to Andy here so pleasant evening. Pleasant dreams everybody. See you tomorrow or next week.