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.