Talk 1

Is it helpful to see practice as sacred?

  • On one end yes, set it as a holy part of the day

  • On the other, trying to make it special can make it counterproductive, creating expectations etc…

  • To long is to experience the pain of longing, but it is also to experience the beauty of longing.

  • If my aspirations are bigger, little stresses in life will seem smaller, but pain from wanting to fulfill the aspiration will be there as well Talks - Beauty of Desire - Rob Burbea

Expectations of meditation

  • we imagine in meditation there should be no thoughts
  • we suffer a lot from this and other images we have of meditation

Point of Practice

  • Developing different ways of looking
  • Getting ready to work with emotions as they arise in real life

Talk 2 (practice starts at minute 22:30 - 40)

What do we want from working with our emotions?

  • Maybe I want the fullness of my being (an open heart)

    • Open to joy, touched by beauty
    • Open to pain and work with difficult emotions
  • Not in the business of only feeling positive emotions, or don’t feel emotions at all

    • Do we really want to be free of desire?
  • Developing confidence in our emotional life

    • often there’s fear of our emotionality
    • we’re in the habit of distracting ourselves from emotions
  • Not just about being aware

  • not just about being with whatever feeling

  • Also about **being able to work skillfully, experiment, explore, look at the context (what are the assumptions?) **

    • Brings understanding of our emotional life

Emotions and Mindstates

  • Mindstates are subtler
    • Boredom, energized, contracted etc.. are mindstates
    • Emotions are a subset of mindstates
  • If we’re not aware of Mindstates we become more reactive


  • Paying attention to mindstates by focusing on the body

    • There might also be certain thoughts with each mindstate
    • Texture of the mind (spacious, energized, depressed)
  • Golden question

    • Is my mindfulness of emotions helpful or not helpful?
    • sometimes we have reactions to emotions that make things worse
  • Energy of emotions Vs energy of attention

    • If emotional energy is higher, we’re overwhelmed by the emotion
    • if attention energy is higher we’re calmer, we can heal
  • Line in the upper body where most emotions show up (from below the belly to the head)

  • Reducing emotions to body sensations is a bit simplistic

    • There’s often meaning and complex parts of emotions
    • still helpful to start with the body
  • Being aware of unconscious expectations

    • Expecting very clear and steady experience that matches the instructions
    • In reality it is often blurry and goes in waves (of being clear, being present being caught up in thought)
      • recognize that waves are impermanent
      • watch them come and go like a kid in the water
      • realize you don’t drown and learn to trust these waves
  • Can we let go of the demands and expectations?

  • Emotions sometimes feel like they take us over

    • They become the lens through which we see the world
  • In this practice, we make emotions the object of attention

    • Awareness is bigger than emotions
    • we don’t get so overwhelmed
  • When labeling emotions sometimes we fabricate them

    • We label a feeling in the chest as fear and it becomes fear
    • Other times labeling can be useful
    • Not good, not bad, it’s a tool


  • What is the mind doing during practice?
  • Is it constantly judging the experience as good or bad?
    • I should be feeling this or that
    • Again I’m feeling this way
    • I shouldn’t be distracted
      • Good to feel distracted as it mimics our everyday life and helps us prepare for it
    • Make conclusion about my whole life and personality
  • Instead of seeing them as a problem, it’s good to see them and come up
    • These judgments come up and affect us in daily life
    • **Good for them to come in during practice **
    • Better if we caninsert a little feeling of (great) doubt (The 5 Heroic Motivations
  • We can be aware of what the mind is doing
  • Or we can consciously introduce skillful thoughts
    • The view of the mind affects our physical experience
    • We can think, “What I’m experiencing right now is exactly what I need to, what I should be experiencing”

Practicing Short Bursts of Intense Attention

  • Very difficult to maintain mindfulness over a long time

    • It’s almost a way of consciousness to bring in the past and the future
    • We can sometimes practice short bursts of energized presence
      • Chop off past and future
      • Pay attention to only this moment (25:00)
  • The mind produces thoughts like trees produce leaves

    • we can learn to accept that and be at home with the mind
    • not judging thoughts as beautiful or ugly

Meditator as a revolutionary

  • Developing the capacity and courage to feel the pain of our times
    • hold and respond to the pain
  • Practice reduces some kinds of suffering but opening the heart opens us to different kinds
  • James Hillman - Psychotherapy as anesthesia
  • fear is not the same as concern
    • The latter has a sense of stability
  • Part of practice is about taking risk
    • Risk and insight reinforce each other
    • Do I have fear of speaking out?
      • Can I overcome that?

At home in the Universe

  • The age of enlightenment became the age of convenience, the age of alienation and individualism
  • consumerism is not just about greed, but now became a way to assert our identities
  • individualism is so entrenched in today’s society it might not be possible to get rid of it. How can we work with it?
    • we tend to associate our “self” with one personality
    • how can we open up our individualism, our sense of self even more in a good way?
      • fully expressing ourselves can be a way to feel at home in the Universe.
      • Feeling at home with existence involves opening to and accepting death ☠
  • Asking ourselves:
    • Where am I seeking identity?
    • How am I expressing identity?

Letting Go of Ways of Looking (Mystics Talk)

  • It’s not that hard to have mystical experiences through meditation (e. G. Oneness etc)
    • If we don’t cling too tight to them, we can allow them to unfold and evolve
  • There’s always a way of looking
    • We assume that being with “what is”, being mindful is being with reality
      • We don’t realize that this is based on a scientific materialist view
  • We might dismiss God and Soul
    • Saying that those would also be impermanent
    • Impermanence is eventually not ultimate reality
    • Not permanent, not impermanent
  • The problem is entrenchnent in a view
  • The more we let go, the more love, or the more we get insight into Emptiness → the smaller our sense of self, the more we experience oneness and have othrt mystical experiences
  • we cling less to perception

Working on Emotional Body (Day 6)

  • Focus on allowing, welcoming, inviting experience
  • Strong emphasis on allowing
    • Soften up experience, releasing tension
  • Open up to all experience
  • Notice aversion creeping in
    • Notice that anger, fear and pain are driven by aversion
    • Notice it 1,000 times to really internalize
  • Beware of aversion dressed as “fake” allowing
    • I want to allow to let the experience fade
  • Practice with aversion in life
    • Take a walk under the rain

Am I free to Inquire Talk

  • Some questions are asked, but not looking for crystallized answers

    • Questions Like “Who Am I” are meant to help us find spaciousness and question assumptions
  • Other questions in practice may accept answers

    • Understanding suffering, where it comes from etc…
    • What are my assumptions that lead me to suffering?
  • Allowing ourselves to inquire and question brings energy in practice, which brings concentration

    • **If practicing with Not-knowing, is that alive? Is it with curiosity or without curiosity? ** Not-knowing | Uncertainty
  • We tend to think that we can “trust our feelings”

    • But our feelings are also affected by our conditioning and our stories

Books: Brian Green, The Fabric of the Cosmos