After clarifying further the fundamental practices of our retreat, particularly the three ways of seeing leading to liberating insight, we examine the third way of seeing—seeing anatta (or not-self). We focus less on understanding this way of seeing conceptually, and more on identifying two main ways of practicing—(1) opening to being mindful of the flow of experience, increasingly with a “thinned out” self or lack of self, and (2) noticing and being mindful of when there is a “thick” sense of self.
This meditation invites us to collect our attention with a calming breath, and then with the senses as a home base, settle into presence. The reminders encourage a letting go of thoughts, shifting from virtual reality into the aliveness of moment-to-moment experience. In that letting go into life we find the stillness, wakefulness and openness of our true nature.
Most of us long to trust our goodness, but get caught in stories of deficiency and striving to affirm we’re ok. These talks look at the block to realizing the loving awareness that is our essence, and the practices that help us see this essential goodness – in ourselves, dear ones and in those we might habitually consider different or “other.” Both talks include reflections that can help us appreciate the basic goodness that lives through these precious, changing forms.
“Saints are what they are, not because their sanctity makes them admirable to others, but because the gift of sainthood makes it possible for them to admire everyone else.” -Thomas Merton