Sacred geometry

Guided Meditation - Cittamatra

This retreat was jointly taught by Rob Burbea and one or more other Insight Meditation teachers. Here is the full retreat on Dharma Seed
Please note that these talks are from a 4 week retreat for experienced meditators. The talks and meditations can be listened to in any order or individually, but as they progressively unfold different levels of understanding of Emptiness, they will probably be more fully understood and the practices more easily developed if taken in series
Date2nd February 2009
Retreat/SeriesMeditation on Emptiness 2009


[0:00, guided meditation begins]

Allowing the awareness to settle into the body right now. And taking a few minutes to just nurture a sense of calm and resting in calm, in whatever way, whether it's with using the breath or the mettā, or whatever you like, to allow a sense of calm to begin to pervade the body.

Letting the awareness settle in that calm.

Really feeling into the body and the sensations of the body right now, however that feels. Really filling the body with awareness, filling that space of the body with awareness.

Is it possible to have a sense of stillness permeating the body? Sensing the stillness of the body. And staying connected to, sensitive to, the sensations of the body, the sense of the body, the stillness of the body. Letting the awareness open out, in a very spacious way, to listening. And just receiving sounds in a very open way. Sounds from nearby, sounds from far. Awareness opening out and receiving them all. No need to label sounds or figure out what they are. Just notice their arising and passing. Receiving, awareness open and spacious and receiving. Aware, too, of the silence between sounds, around sounds that arise and pass. Listening also to the silence. Possible to have a sense of the sounds arising out of the silence, out of the ground of silence, and fading back into silence. Letting sounds rest in the silence.

[8:03] Really allowing the mind, the awareness to be open, receptive and open and spacious. The mind, the awareness like the sky, the clear sky, open sky, vast, clear, bright. You can even let yourself imagine the awareness or the mind like that. And within that clear open sky, sensations in the body arising, passing. Sounds appearing, fading. Thoughts, images perhaps, like fireflies, like shooting stars, perhaps like clouds that drift in the sky. Phenomena live, and then they fade into the sky.

So letting it all come and letting it all go, no need to struggle with any phenomenon, with any experience. No need to get entangled, just disentangling and letting it be, letting it be part of the sky. Rejecting nothing, no need to reject anything. In the openness of awareness, there's plenty of space for everything. Just seeing that, feeling that, sensing that. No need to control or interfere with anything at all.

[15:07] See how everything that arises is embraced in the spacious nature of mind, of awareness. Whether it's lovely, whether it's ugly, it doesn't matter. It's embraced. And the space of awareness remains undisturbed, like the sky, by whatever appears, unaffected.

Phenomena, experience, arising, living, floating for a while in the space and then fading back into the space. Letting it all be.

Whatever arises, not getting entranced by it, mesmerized by it, seeing how everything is held within awareness, within the space of awareness, naturally, effortlessly. Letting things arise and fade, phenomena, sensations, experiences, sounds, letting it all belong to the space, belong to awareness, letting it belong there.

[21:49] Phenomena arising out of that ground of awareness, floating for a while, then melting back, dissolving back into the space of awareness, into the vastness of mind. Remaining aware of the underlying spaciousness and clarity of the mind, of awareness, less pulled into phenomena, more in touch with that underlying clarity and spaciousness.

Is it possible, perhaps at times, to see, to get the sense, that everything that arises, all phenomena, are nothing more than impressions in awareness? Impressions in awareness, like reflections on the surface of a lake. All experience, just an impression in awareness, an impression in awareness, an appearance in this spaciousness. Sounds, even the seeming solidity of body sensations, thoughts, images, all just impressions in awareness. So just as the silence actually pervades all sounds, silence is present and permeating through all sounds, so the stillness and spaciousness of awareness permeate, pervade, everything that arises, everything that's present. All these appearances, just the play of awareness, the same stuff as awareness.

So, whatever arises, whatever is present, is it possible to see it as just an impression in awareness? Just an impression in awareness, all things, all experience.

That can include the sense of self, the self-sense. So right now, whether that's a very solid sense of self or a very light sense of self, however it is, that too, just an impression in awareness, nothing more than the substance of awareness, waves on the surface of a great ocean.

[38:57, guided meditation ends]

Do you have a sense of enough to play with with this practice for today? Yeah? Yeah. I'll talk a little bit about it tonight. There are actually a couple of different slants within it you can take, which I'll go into tonight, but maybe just to throw it out today. One is kind of getting a sense of this space and the kind of imperturbability of it, the space of awareness. It's just like the sky. No matter what comes, it's just imperturbable. It's just not bothered by what arises and passes.

Another piece is getting a sense very much of the insubstantiality of experience, of phenomena, all experience, them being, as I said, just an impression in awareness. It's almost like they're just of the same substance as awareness. They're not really different. They're just slightly different aspects of this.

So you will find, you should find, that as you do the three characteristics practice, it lends itself to this kind of opening out very nicely. It should move in that direction. And as you do this practice, the three characteristics also become more obvious, more easy. So you can use them to kind of feed each other. Yeah?

You can do this eyes closed or eyes open. It might be quite interesting, and miraculously we have some blue sky today. Rest of the country, it's snowing, apparently. Interesting to do it with eyes open and actually get a sense of space. Actually look at the sky or get a sense of visual space -- can be very helpful. If you're doing walking meditation, you can also do it with the sense of space as you're walking, so you're walking in space. Or if you do standing meditation or stand at the end of your path, again, you're standing in space. Eyes open or eyes closed, space is the same, awareness, the space of awareness is the same. Okay?

Yogi: You used a couple of images. One was the sky, and something about water? A few of them are very useful. I just want to remember.

Rob: Sky is definitely one.

Yogi: Beginning -- it's more the beginning. Something about water, or ...

Rob: You can see things like waves coming out of water. In other words, it's all just one, it's one substance moving. It's one thing of awareness moving and taking different forms. But also, you can use the image of the sky, either during the day and sort of clouds coming -- they're not really taking away from the sort of pristine nature of the sky. Or you could use the night, like totally black sky, you know, totally black, and then you've suddenly got like fireworks exploding there, sudden, or a shooting star, or fireflies, you know, flickering, flickering in the night and then disappearing back into that. Ça va? [laughs]

Okay. We'll talk a little about it tonight. And play with it today. But it's very much part of the three characteristics. It's just like taking it a little stage further. Okay? So play, and we'll talk tonight.

Sacred geometry
Sacred geometry