Wednesday, October 27, 2010


Enlightenment practice methods can be as diverse as the practitioners. But two principles seem to always apply.

Practice first to quiet the mind. That is essential. If your mind is busy with racing thoughts and emotions, it is unrealistic to expect any progress. This can be done through many methods including meditation, contemplation, chanting, and mindfully engaging in any activity or what is referred to as one pointed attention. What I advise you to be cautious about is engaging in any of these activities, especially meditation, for the purpose of achieving temporary heightened states of consciousness. These can be wonderful and compelling and even temporarily transforming but they are not enlightenment. They are ultimately mind objects like all else. Too many of us meditate to experience these states and then, sometimes smugly, declare ourselves at a higher level of consciousness. That, sadly, is merely boasting by the ego. Remember from the earlier postings, the goal is emptiness, that formless pure awareness, that is most closely experienced in deep dreamless sleep. Again, I call your attention to the earlier postings where these ideas are addressed in detail. Without an understanding of the vocabulary, this can all be easily misunderstood.

When the racing, distracted mind is finally restrained a bit, then practice throughout your day by constantly reminding yourself of the screen metaphor and see everything you experience, including your thoughts, as projections on your screen of awareness. Every object, person, thought, emotion, feeling, all arising on that screen, that stage of awareness. Some practitioners have used a video camera metaphor as if their life is being filmed and recorded. It sounds artificial, even silly to some, but it gently moves you toward what the Buddhists call the Witness, which really is what we are talking about. You begin to experience the realization that you are not just that mind and body that has consumed your awareness from your earliest moments. You start to truly feel that you are instead that formless awareness in which all objects, even your mind and body, are arising. This practice method begins to break our compulsion with subject and object. It allows you to step back and experience much needed detachment. Try it in everything you do. It can even be enjoyable.

Please also review my earlier posting where I describing the specific steps ton achieving insight. You should instantly see how the two practice methods above fuel that process.

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