Monday, August 31, 2009

Speak the Truth

Virtue makes our social lives livable and lays the groundwork for happiness and ease. Morality inhibits detrimental actions such as harsh speech and helps create harmony. When harmony is established, peace can be cultivated.

GK p.164

Right speech is a central element in virtuous behavior, a small but important thing we can do in any moment to create harmony and help cultivate peace in ourselves, in our relationships, in our world.

How did the Buddha describe right speech?

It is spoken at the right time. It is spoken in truth. It is spoken affectionately. It is spoken beneficially. It is spoken with a mind of goodwill.

Read Chapter 15: Speak the Truth pp. 163-180

Friday, July 17, 2009

Listen Deeply

Listening Deeply feels like a bottomless practice opportunity. In how much of our lives do we actually listen? Experiment with the following exercise.

When you call to mind Listen Deeply, let it be a call to awaken more fully into the moment. That is, step into mindfulness with particular attention to what is being said. As you listen, mindfulness is alert with a question something like, "What is happening now?" The ears are attuned, but the heart, too, is open. You are listening to a fellow human being. Listen with kindness. Let the words, the stories, touch a compassionate heart. So we see that Listen Deeply is a reminder to allow ourselves to notice fully and be touched by the experience of another.

GK p. 150

Suggested Reading: Listen Deeply, Chapter 14

Monday, March 23, 2009

Trust Emergence

With this instruction we are invited into the numinous but observable impermanence of all experience.

Trusting Emergence is rooted in the wisdom aspect of [practice]. That is, it supports our seeing things as they are--unstable and far more complex and fluid than the mundane glance can know. The dynamic quality of experience demands robust practice and provides the object of that practice: change itself. The instruction to Trust Emergence invites us to dive headlong into the tumbling moment by providing guidance for how we relate to each other and to the totality of experience. To 'trust' is to make the leap of faith required to enter the seething sea of change. 'Emergence' refers to the process by which the complex things we experience arise spontaneously from underlying contributing factors.
GK p. 139

suggested reading: Chapter 13 Trust Emergence

Monday, March 9, 2009


...The Open component of Pause-Relax-Open does not incline us toward spatial precision, toward awareness of you or me. It suggests a flexibility that can move with ever-changing experience. Explicitly internal awareness, explicitly external awareness, and awareness that is both internal and external--all of these are valued and practiced. The mind unencumbered by clinging becomes malleable and learns to navigate internal and external freely, without distinct boundaries or transitions. We enjoy vibrant rest amid the wide sea of experience. GK p.132

As you practice Open and your mindfulness becomes more steady, you may become aware that you can notice thoughts arising as easily as you notice bodily sensations. It is just like looking at a tree and the next moment giving your attention to hearing some insects or birds. You can attend just as easily to internal or external phenomena. So I am inviting you to cultivate a malleability of mind. See how it is to be mindful of rising and falling emotions and then attending to the words or facial experiences of people around you. Sometimes your attention may be very focused; at other times quite wide. Sometimes it may be internal, sometimes external. Let the reminder to Open be an invitation to you to move freely through the field of awareness, without clinging to anything whatsoever. GK p.132-133

Suggested reading Chapter 12 Open

Saturday, February 14, 2009


Pause, Relax, Open can be seen as three parts or three aspects of the same moment. The moment may be long or so brief to not be separate from a flow of experience. But it is helpful to experiment with each of these three parts separately.

The second part of the core interpersonal meditation instruction is Relax. We Pause into awareness and Relax the body and mind. At its basic level, this instruction is as simple as it sounds. We bring mindfulness to those parts of the body where we tend to accumulate tension and allow the tension to relax. Becoming aware of the body as a whole, we give ourselves permission to let down, to let go, and not grasp at the reactive state we find.

In this practice we recognize tension and choose ease. There is no other practice, really than letting go. We only need to choose the ease. Choosing the ease over and over again is itself the practice. Our formal support for making this choice, for remembering that this choice is available to us, is the simple instruction Relax.

GK p. 119

These comments are just the beginning of Chapter 11: Relax, pages 119-128

Thursday, January 29, 2009


To pause is to interrupt a movement, a step out of the habitual rush forward. Pausing allows reflection, reconsideration, rest. In Insight Dialogue, the movement that is interrupted is the sensitive body-mind's incessant grasping at whatever contacts it: sights, sounds, touches, smells, tastes, and thoughts. The habit of grasping is very strong in the interpersonal realm. Seeing another person, the mind grasps to hold or to push away, to know or to be known, to touch, to fix, or to adjust. Yet, strong as these urges are, it is possible to step outside them momentarily, to bracket their driving concerns: to pause. Greg Kramer, p. 109

To pause is to begin to recognize at increasingly subtle levels the degree to which we are pulled along by grasping mind. Awareness of the minds clinging is the first, and often the only step necessary for freedom and ability to fully enjoy current experience of simply being alive.

I have taken a long pause from entering posts. But during my pausing I did back-to-back weekend Dharma Contemplation and week long Insight Dialogue Retreats with Gregory Kramer, a combined retreat experience I highly recommend.

Then I took some time to read the whole book. It is very full, I have appreciated moving slowly through the text and practices, but reading it through as an informational text was a special experience of its own. I have found this to be true of most dharma books. There are two different ways of reading - each yielding its own special benefits.

It seems wise to begin renewed work with the text by going directly to instructions on meditation in Insight Dialogue. We have done this consistently in the sitting group since 2002, but it is time to revisit the instruction with greater depth.

Begin now by reading the introduction to Insight Dialogue Meditation Instructions on page 107 for an overview of the practice. Then turn to the chapter on Pausing, p. 109, and take your time moving through it. I think you will find it inspiring to read and practice a little at a time.