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Balance and Attentiveness in Meditation

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  • medit8ionsociety
    Excerpt from Balance in Meditation by Ven. Pannyavaro An image often used to describe the practice of awareness is that of walking a tightrope. In order to do
    Message 1 of 1 , Dec 19, 2009
      Excerpt from Balance in Meditation
      by Ven. Pannyavaro
      An image often used to describe the practice of
      awareness is that of walking a tightrope. In order
      to do so, you must necessarily pay attention to the balance.
      In meditation practice, this applies especially to how
      you are relating to your experience. Reaching out to
      grasp the object (attaching) or pushing it away
      (rejecting) are both reactions that are unbalancing.
      Keeping your balance is developing a mind that does not
      cling or reject, like or dislike and is without
      attachment or condemnation. Equipoise and 'on-looking'
      equanimity in the face of life's inevitable stress and
      conflict is to practice the Buddha's "Middle Way".

      Developing the ability to adjust and manage your effort
      in practice is essential. A certain effort is involved
      in developing moment-to-moment awareness, but it is not
      the effort to attain anything in the future. The effort
      is to stay in the present, within the present moment
      context. Just paying attention with equanimity to what
      is happening from moment-to-moment.

      The Buddha gave an example of just how attentive we
      should be. He told of a person who was ordered to walk
      through a crowd with a water jug full to the brim
      balanced on his head. Behind him walked a soldier with a
      sword. If a single drop was spilled the soldier would cut
      off his head! That is the quality of attention needed.
      So you can be sure that the person with the jug walked
      very attentively.

      Yet, it has to be a relaxed awareness. If there is
      too much force or strain the least jostling will cause
      the water to spill. The person with the jug has to be
      loose and rhythmic, flowing with the changing scene, yet
      staying attentive in each moment.

      This is the kind of care and precision we should take in
      practicing insight meditation, being relaxed yet alert.
      In this way, the training helps to maintain your balance
      and the ability to live in harmony with others.

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