2022-01-14 Satipatthana (9) The Clear Seeing of Mindfulness
4:31PM Jan 14, 2022
So continuing this theme of sati Putana. I want to repeat what I said beginning the meditation because it's so important. Maybe say a little different way that this practice of sati Putana is not static. It's it's involves a onward leading journey involves I like the metaphor, deepening a deepening into our practice into ourselves. It involves a unfolding. And just like if you were really tense in your body, and you felt you're running around doing a lot of things, and you finally had a chance to sit down, you might discover that your body begins to unwind and relax, and open up. And that's an unfolding, that's a deepening, that's as part of this journey. The way that human beings are created is that we, we are a dinette dynamic processes that can unfold in all kinds of ways and they can unfold, they can move towards greater and greater attention, strain, which we can feel in our own eyes. You can see sometimes when people are really caught up in something that their eyes are fixated. See, when they're afraid you see it in their eyes. And the anicca unfold in in beautiful ways that can unfold in greater peace and relaxation and openness. And so the sutta Putana is very much part of this dynamic process of life. That sometimes is not understood, when the practice is described in ways, the kind of rhetoric or the way the practice described sometimes even said, just be aware, just accept things as they are and be aware, and don't try to change anything. And it's kind of a good advice. But even if you're not trying to change anything, if you practice that you will change, you can't help but to change, things open up. And so there's their dynamic process of sati Putana. And, and so the journey for each of these x 13, exercise sutta a Putana. Kind of begin with a statement like for, for the beginning it says For the body it says and how does one How does one, how does one observe the body in terms of the body? How does one observe the body in the body. And then it describes the exercise I'm breathing. One knows the breathing, knows the qualities of it, the characteristics of it. One experience is it feels it deeply. And then when and also when experience is the body. When begins experiencing feeling the full body as when breathes. And then one relaxes the body. So the instructions are to know, to feel and to relax. When we really settle and get get gather together get unified, get present, with a breathing, we're not distracted and fragmented in our mind, but really here settled on the breathing. At that point, the practice opens up to disability just observe. And sooner or later, it kind of comes to that because at some point, we start feeling that part of the tension and is the too much doing and meditation, trying too hard to know trying too much to get concentrated, trying too much to relax even. And at some point, we're relaxed and settled enough that it's just a matter of settling back and observing our experience. And then the tech says, Once you go through this process, this is how one observes the body in the body, the body in terms of the body, and now we understand it better what it means this expression. To observe the body literally says, body in the body. But that grammatical form of lock it in means in terms of the body, so just in terms of the body, not in terms of someone else's body. You know, someone else has better hair than I do. We just know our hair for what it is independent of anybody else. Without the judgments and comparisons. We just know our body in and of itself and its own term, not about comparing it to the past or by how body was in the past that was in the future, to ideals of the body to join judgments about the body
to what's fashionable and body types and whatever, just being the simplicity of the body. And, and to experience to to observe the body in terms of the body. And this observing is a kind of a word for it a new passati is kind of an emphatic seeing a clear seeing. And this ability to see clearly to be an observer to watch is some people prefer not to talk about it too much, because it can create a kind of separation, a dualism between our experience and, and being the watcher. But that can be true if we're not really settled in practice in a deep way. And that's why we have to go through the steps of the steps of knowing, feeling and relaxing in a deep way. And at some point, there's no duality and seeing, because in a sense, there's no watcher, there's just observing, and, and observing is cool, relaxed, open. There's no interference, no judgment, no wanting and not wanting, its ability to step back and watch. And the reference point that I keep using for this is the kind of relaxed watching that some people do have, like, watching the waves, so the, in the ocean or watching a flow of a river, the current of the river, some people could be mesmerized, just kind of watching, it's very relaxing, and concerns that a fall away, or there's a kind of, not, the mind relaxes around everything, just watching the waves watching the current watching a fire burn, and some people can watch it for a long time. And, and, or if it's not watching something, or listening to the sound of water, even if you're not watching, so if the emphasis on seeing is is a problem for you, the alternative is to hear to listen. So listening to the listening to the flow of a little creek or river, Listening to the rain falling, sometimes listening to the gentle breeze and the trees, that they can just lay there, just listen and, and the wider world falls away, it's just you and the experience. And it's not even you after a while you don't like thinking about yourself, it's just the experience. The first time I had this in a kind of palpable way, was when I was maybe 17. And it was actually driving I was in the backseat of a car. And, and going for long trips, and just watching out and something inside of me just kind of got very peaceful and quiet just watching and, and it was almost as if time stopped and and there was almost like no thoughts, no wonderful way. And, and, and then I would kind of come to in a sense when something happened with my friends who are driving or they said something. And I realized that I had been just so deeply relaxed, just watching the scenery go by. So I don't know if these examples inspire some reference point that you might have for this kind of observing. So perceiving, so we don't overemphasize the, you know, it's with the mind's eye, the minds ability to perceive. And so this observing is a state as a state where we just allow things to be we're not trying to fix or judge or be with things. But it's doing it at a very, when we really are well established, we could that we can do it. At least that's how it works for me. Some people have access to observing much sooner than maybe I did when I started practicing. And they find that it's so liberating right away, to settle back and just to watch and observe. And some people it's only when the practice is really settled and concentrated, that it makes sense to back off and just observe and and sooner or later. The idea is to is to have this non interfering, non trying to do something, attain anything, just settle back and just observe. Now, this is now this is part of this dynamic process of the practice. It isn't that we we settle back to observe, and that's the end of the story and it's kind of boring.
It's to be settled back to observe and that begins to open up a new way of practicing and being. And that new way is described in the refrain. After each of the exercises, there's a refrain, it's called a refrain. But I don't know if that's really the best way of describing it. It's like, there are many different ways of practicing mindfulness. And they all kind of funnel into a particular set of insights, the deeper insights of insight meditation. And so the, the CO called refrain is this description of what happens when you come into the, you know, everything comes into the common flow. You know, although different streams of mindfulness come into the depth of practice, and they all share the insights, parts of mindfulness. And so we'll start that on Monday talking about the refrain the inside part, how this is onward leading once we are able to observe experience. And last thing I'll say is that don't feel like you have to follow along with what I'm talking about in your own meditation. In the guided meditations, I do. It's partly just to give you a hint, some of you at hint or a sensor of what, what's possible. And the teaching is also to open up the map and the and the terrain of mindfulness. So that as you keep practicing, when the time is right, you'll recognize what's happening and recognize how to go forward. And it's asking a lot to kind of follow along all these steps, you know, as if it's so easy 123 You can just, you know, develop it this way. But I do hope that it's helpful. And so, thank you very much, and I look forward to our time on Monday.