6 Dec
Posted in: Practice, Sangha at Large
By    Comments Off on Living the Question

Living the Question

Last night at the Hi-Pointe Sitting Group, I used another of the meditations from Kamma and the End of Kamma, by Ajahn Sucitto. It’s a reflective practice of “dropping” a question into the mind when it’s in a meditative state….not so much to get an answer, but rather to find a deeper way to live the question.

Here are the instructions:
Establish a supportive bodily presence: a sense of uprightness, an axis that centers around the spine. Connect to the ground beneath and the space above and around the body. Acknowledge sitting within a space, taking the time and space that you need to settle in.

As you settle, let your eyes gently close. Attune to the bodily sense through feeling the breathing: first in the abdomen, allowing the breath to descend through the soft tissues…feel the flexing of the breath mirrored by the effortless release and firming of the abdomen in respiration.

As you come to a sense of balance, bring to mind a current situation in your life. It may well be the case that if you ask yourself: “What’s important for me now?” or “What am I dealing with now?” a meaningful scenario will come to mind. It could be about something at work, or to do with your close friends or family, your well-being or your future. Just get the overall impression of that, without going into the full story….Try to catch and distill the emotive sense: burdened, eager, agitated, or whatever.

As it becomes distinct, feel the energy, the movement of that (even if you can’t quite put it into words). Keep triggering that affect by bringing the scenario to mind until you feel you have the tone of that.

Then contemplate that affect in terms of the body. Notice whether, for example, you feel a flush in your face or around your heart, or a tightening in your abdomen, or a subtle tension in your hands or jaw or around your eyes….Whatever it is, create an attentive space around the experience: can you be with this for a little while?

Let the awareness of the “being with” fully feel the tone of that experience. It may settle into an image–such as a bright stream, or something dark and heavy, or something twisted and stuck. Ask yourself: “What does this look (or feel) like, right now?”

Then, as you settle with it for a few seconds, bring up the question: “What does this need?” or “What does this want to do?”

Follow with attention anything that happens to that sense of reaching out, or sinking back or tension. Notice if other parts of your body are affected….Be with the enlarged experience, noticing any changes in the emotive sense.

Carefully repeat this with that aspect of your world until you feel that something has shifted in your response, or that has given you a key to deeper understanding.

Return through the body: the central structure and the softer tissues wrapped around that, the skin around that, the space around all that. Slowly open your eyes, attuning to the space, and the sense  of the place that you’re sitting in.

(image from my DPP buddy, Tony Siciliano, taken at Zion National Park)


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