The foundation is to practice experiencing sensations, feelings, and thoughts without shutting down, without being overwhelmed, without reacting from confusion or habit. That's shamatha (calm abiding).
So don't regard difficult experiences as contaminating the meditation; they are what we practice with.
As we experience sensations, feelings, and thoughts without grasping, fighting, fleeing, or freezing, we see more clearly the actual nature of experience. That's vipashyana (insight).
Here are some of the ways things are:
- Not solid.
- Not independent of causes and conditions.
- Vivid and unceasing, but empty of solidity and permanence.
- Embedded in conditions, but malleable to influence.
- Intention affects our experience and our interactions; look into grasping and generosity, ill-will and kindness.
To know what leads to suffering and what leads to balance and peace and freedom.
To free ourselves and others from the suffering that arises from confusion and turmoil.