Sacred geometry

The Space of Awareness - Impermanence (1st Guided Meditation)

Date9th September 2009
Retreat/SeriesUnbinding the Heart


Okay. Now for something completely different. As I said last night, two practices. And we're going to work with a spacious awareness, quite an expansive awareness. Already with the breath, we've been working with rather than a focused awareness, say at the nostrils or the abdomen -- which is fine; we're just exploring different things -- we've been saying, when I say "spacious" with the breath, it means the body. When I say "spacious" now, it means really big, almost without limit -- as spacious as awareness can be. And we're going to explore different angles and different flavours, different ways of approaching, working in that spacious awareness. We'll do that every day at this time.

This sitting's an interesting sitting because it's the first one after lunch. It's often the time of the great nodding that happens. [laughter] So if you have a sneaking suspicion that that might include you, take it as a standing meditation, or take part of it as a standing meditation. If you want to start this standing, go for it, if that's okay for your body. If you want to start it sitting, please respond to what really feels best and stand up, okay? So sitting up, standing in the middle is fine. Or do the whole thing standing.

The angle I'm going to explore today is within the spacious awareness, and it's focusing on impermanence. This is all kind of leading somewhere, which I'll hopefully tie together. But the angle today, the sort of lens, is impermanence within a spacious awareness.

Okay. So, why don't we start? Anyone going to stand up? [laughter] Please do if you feel yourself tired. The Buddha talked about four postures: sitting, standing, walking, and lying down. It's an equally valid posture as all the others.

[2:33, guided meditation begins]

Okay. So again, settling into your posture, establishing yourself in a posture of alertness, of receptivity. And again, connecting to the intention, seeing it as kindness, connecting to that flow. Kindness to oneself, and practice as a kindness to others, to the world, a gift to the world.

Beginning by finding somewhere in the body where there is some changing sensation. Perhaps a tingling, or a sort of waving of sensation. Could be in the hands. If you pay attention to the sensation of the hands, they're quite alive with sensation. Could be the feet, could be the top of the head, anywhere, the face. Just settling the attention with the bare sensations, with as little overlay as possible, tuning into their impermanence, their change, their fluctuation, their ebb and flow, their flickering. Moment to moment, sensation is not staying the same. This is the lens we're looking through, the lens of seeing impermanence. This is what we're focusing on. Change, change, moment to moment. So just tuning into that one area, and tuning into the change there, just letting it change, noticing it change.

Expanding the awareness almost in stages. So expanding it now to include the whole body. This one area and then the whole body at once. A global awareness of the patterning, the shifting of sensations in the whole body, coming, going, changing, moment to moment. Being aware of change, impermanence, as it presents itself. As often as you can, moment to moment. It's very alive, the attentiveness. We don't need to force it to see a faster change than we can actually see. The sphere of awareness, this bubble of awareness, full of change, full of impermanence, flickering away, arising, passing.

Sometimes it's just the body doing its thing, expressing its aliveness, responding to the environment. Sometimes the body expresses an emotion that moves through, ripples through. For right now, we're just interested in seeing the change in the body sensations, seeing the impermanence of the bare sensations. That's all.

[9:19] Letting things change. Letting them arise and pass. When you feel ready, staying with the awareness centred in the body sensations, but allowing it to open out, to expand even further, and to be aware of sounds. So there's body sensations and sounds. The awareness is very open, very spacious and expansive. No need to identify or to think about the different sounds: "That's this," or "That's that." Just bare sounds, bare sensations, changing, flickering, arising and dying in space.

Again, seeing if one can have a sense of the totality at once, rather than one particular sound, and then another particular sound, and then another particular sound. It's almost as if the whole of it is happening in the space of awareness, changing, changing. We're tuning into that impermanence, that change.

Right now, we're not interested in the content of experience -- outer experience or inner. We're only interested in impermanence, in the texture of change, the shifting patterns of arising, passing, moving, fluctuating. If you find yourself drawn into the content, it's okay, but just see the impermanence of the thoughts or whatever it is. Just see the impermanence. See it that way. We're only interested in the change of things in the space of awareness. So the attention can be light, open, relaxed, but very alive.

[18:56] If it feels like an area of the body or an area of experience is a problem, feels difficult or contracted, really opening out the awareness very wide, letting it be very expansive, and seeing the shifting patterns, the texture of change in everything in that area of difficulty as part of a larger space, a vaster space. Moment to moment, everything is changing, everything is flickering.

Seeing if it's possible to include everything, everything that's in the experience. So-called outer, so-called inner -- everything. Everything is changing in the space. Thoughts, images -- include them. They, too, are changing. Whatever is waving through, rippling through, appearing, disappearing, pulsing. We're only interested in the impermanence, the fact of change. Just keep tuning into that.

So in a way, the space, the space of awareness, stays steady, stays still and open. And within that, everything comes and goes, changes, appears and disappears. Even as it's there, it's changing. Tuning into the shifting textures within the space. If there's something that feels like it's not changing, just stay there patiently, lightly, delicately, openly, and see the shifting. Open to the changing.

[30:57] Let the awareness be relaxed, open, light and delicate, present. Everything is flickering. Everything is sparkling. When we tune into impermanence in this way, it should bring a letting go, a letting be. We don't have to think about it. The mind doesn't have to think about it. Everything comes and everything goes, appears and disappears constantly. And naturally, organically, we let it come, we let it go, we let it change. Seeing if that quality of letting go, letting be, can also be nurtured through the seeing of impermanence, in a very expansive awareness.

[39:00, guided meditation ends]

Was that relatively clear? Get a sense of how to ...? Okay. So every day, we'll have a different angle on that, like I said. Now you have two practices, and you choose when you do one and when you do the other, except the 9:30 sitting and the 2:30 sitting when we're all doing what we're doing together. Apart from that, you choose. You go in and out. Probably for the most part, better to stick to one practice for a whole sitting, but, you know, that's not written in stone. If you feel like you're halfway through and it would really be better to change, explore that. But generally, see yourself as exploring two practices and giving this quality of playful experimentation, exploration, to both of them.

Sacred geometry
Sacred geometry