Friday, December 16, 2011

Stable Attention

Stick to the body like a shadow. Body is where stability is. Relative stability, of course--in this world, everything, everything changes. But the ground of experience, if there is one, is the body--the flesh and bone and nervous system and biochemical soup in which every perception and experience arises.

We can abide, present in our experience, by alternating and mixing and eventually uniting three increasingly-subtle efforts: focusing, resting, and opening. Focusing means returning to, placing the attention upon, and staying with one aspect of experience: the passing of air at the nostrils, the rise and fall of the abdomen, a visual object in front of us, a sound we make. Resting is resting in that experience: air flow, sensations in the body, color and shape, or sound. Opening means opening to the rest of experience as it rises and falls, while centered and resting with that one aspect of experience: thoughts and emotions come and go while I rest in the breathing body. Focusing, resting, and opening lead to stability that is not narrow or difficult to maintain. With flexible, vivid, resilient, encompassing attention we begin to see the actual nature of what arises.

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