The information and activities provided below are from a retreat given by Tarchin Hearn at Clear Sky Center in the fall of 2014.
When it comes to Dharma it’s good to have a sense of who we are, whether we’re interested or not, before we start meditating. WE belong to everyone. My perceptions are bringing forth a world, the world is bringing forth my perceptions. Nothing comes into being because of a single cause, no cause has a single effect.
We need to transcend our fear of the perosnal and allow ourselves to be fully personal and engaged. Turn it into a world of subjects instead of a world of objects, and ask yourself: What can I give back to the circle of life?
When we’re not in nature, we’re in the indoor bubble where all we’re aware of is me me me me. The natural awakening path begins with intuitive sense of home in the nature life. It begins with curiosity to deepen our engagement with what’s happening. Meditation is a matter of acclimatization to a sense of expansiveness/ connection.
Science mantra = “wow!”
Knowledge that’s required to mature happens automatically but not for humans. We have to engage with it. Your consciousness is the froth on top of a lake, the intuitive sensing is the water – what is there? The greater the question (state of openness, not the answer) the greater the awakening. It comes with the tendency to want to experiment and explore.
Think of each of your fingers covering one of the senses on your face, and then removing the fingers. We want to increase and cultivate our soft, sensitive receptivity.
Today people like or need more volume because we’re so ‘busy’. But in meditation we want the water to settle.
To consciously engage in the garden of life we need tools. There are 5 Basic Tools:
i) Smiling (not the expression on your face, but the way the sentient body smiles in moments of goodness). When you’re not smiling, check your eyes for a rigidity in your gaze. When you lose your smile go look for it like you would a wallet. Think: Cheshire cat. Your willingness to engage with what you meet (anything) is the degree of smiling in your being. Resistance/ suspicion/ fear is not smiling. Stand your ground in yourself. When life knocks on your door say, “welcome!”. It is radically inclusive.
ii) Breathing. All cells of your body are breathing. Don’t watch the breath, feel all the body breathing.
iii) Presence. What do I mean by “present?” Smiling. Breathing. A Christmas present. To present one’s self. This is a matter of what is visible to the eye vs. not. What would it mean for all of me to be present with all of you now? Learn to be fully with me, to be full with others. I’m not a being seeking a community. I AM community seeking itself. To make anything from scratch you’d have to make a universe.
iv) Translucitizing/ appreciating. Enter into a positive engagement with life, even though there is difficulty. You’re just transforming/ expanding what you’re used to to include the positive. What matters is how long it took you to come back to the sense of fullness of the universe after you realize you lost breath or see defilements . Say “Welcome” “welcome” “welcome” when you feel scattered.
v) Offering. Offer yourself, the only thing you can give that no one else can. People feel like they’re never really listened to. In a calm state you can talk about anything but what you’re giving is calm. The life of a Bodhisattva is to transform ourselves into something tasty that nourishes and which others can eat. The deity Chenrezig is marinating in loving kindness. Make honey, the bees come to the honey.
Find a calm place in nature and practice walking meditation: putting one foot in front of the other slowly, but not so slow that you lose your balance, and notice the “lifting”, “moving”, and “placing” of your feet.
When you have established this comfortably, continue with a “smile” in your eyes, as described above.
After a few minutes, also add breathing as described above.
And after a few more minutes, meditate on how the ground below you is supporting you, your weight.
Continue your walk for some time while holding these three aspects: smile, breathing, and supportive ground.
Go for a hike with a magnifying glass. Have a look at the plants, the ground. When you do this, you’re not just seeing nature, nature is seeing you.
Find a comfortable place outside. Meditate on the different directions: upwards, left and right, down, forward, and backwards. What’s out there? Take your time on the different directions.