“Loosely relax and watch your thoughts from afar, clearly observing whatever arises. That which observes is called mindfulness, or awareness, that which is observed is called movement, and resting in that state is called stillness. Identify them as such and meditate! If you meditate earnestly, stable meditative experiences of the bliss, luminosity, and non-conceptuality of shamatha will arise in your mindstream.”
– Dudjom Lingpa (translated by Alan Wallace)
During this four day retreat we will learn how to develop and enhance our attention skills, how to strengthen our faculty of mindfulness. Within Buddhism this training is often referred to as shamatha practice.
There are three techniques that have been found to be effective for people living in the modern world.
1. Mindfulness of breathing
This technique is particularly recommended for those who have highly discursive minds and find it difficult to remain in the present moment.
2. Settling the mind in its natural state
We are often the slaves of our mind, under the control of and overwhelmed by our thoughts, emotions and memories. Through simply observing these movements of our mind this technique enables us to become the masters of our mind.
3. Awareness of awareness
This technique enables us to simply rest within the stillness of our awareness. It also well known for leading us to an insight into the very nature of our mind.
This retreat will primarily focus on the latter two techniques. And by enhancing our ability to rest within the stillness of awareness we can better observe the movements of our mind. To ensure that our shamatha practice is balanced and effective we will be supplementing it with the practices of loving-kindness and compassion.