We need firm ground to stand on before meeting the difficulties of our lives. Without that firm place, the difficulties don’t unravel –you unravel. With cultivation of the five spiritual faculties – indriyas – they become rock solid, enabling us to stand back from experience and allow it to unravel and pass.
In a field of experience, qualities that are assumed to be other people, entities or myself because of the way they’re stuck together can be seen as specific factors that are pliable and flexible. “Field awareness” means a wider span of attention where suppressed, unnoticed, unresolved energies can arise and be discharged, purifying the bodily field.
Compulsive problematic activations can be replaced with conscious deliberate ones aimed at liberation. Whether in daily activities or in the action of meditation, we can steady and calm energy by orienting around skillful signs – generosity, service, clarity – until the mind is comforted and no longer flowing down old tracks.
In the search for happiness, we generally only experience the search, marked by discomfort or desperation. Relationship is key. The instructions for ānāpānasati train us to develop a more dispassionate relationship where we learn to stand in the presence of, or witness from, the edge of experience. From here the right kind of relationship, marked by non-expectation and non-aversion, can be cultivated.
The cultivation of samatha is to be able to direct one’s intentions and attention away from the afflictive activations, settling into a place where they’re not happening. This place of cooling and ceasing is to be lingered in. Here we come out of the personality and into the realm of the miraculous.
The theme of this meditation is to move attention from more activated areas to parts that have no activation at all. Beginning with the sense of balance and cohesion, guidance is provided to sense through the entire body, sustaining a soft attitude with no time frame, a quality of very little effort.
A review of the four points recommended to orient around: 1) The sacred - virtue and truth, 2) other people, 3) the subtle body/body energies, 4) nature. These are means for becoming more embodied and heartful, and regaining our natural intelligence.
The qualities of goodwill, compassion, gladness and equanimity can be cultivated to generate a subtle form, a subtle state of consciousness. Abiding and lingering in these qualities, citta sustains consciousness in that mode, sees objects in that light, and experiences itself in that light making human life manageable, fruitful, enjoyable.