66 Loving-Kindness and Feelings of Separation

18 May 2011

Another unguided meditation this afternoon, first introduced with a description of the obstacle of feeling separate from others, and how this impedes the flow of loving-kindness.

The unguided meditation begins at 9:20 in the recording.

Alan then answers a number of questions from the group, beginning at 37:35 in the recording.

1. Where does volition reside? It’s not there when I look for it. It appears and disappears.

2. In awareness of awareness practice, I bring my attention to the heart chakra. In loving-kindness practice, you talk about the heart. To me that’s slightly different. Is there a distinction?

3. When I allow my body to breathe without controlling my breath, it is often shallow and light. The practice of tonglen makes my breathing deeper, and this also happens with other visualization practices. Is this okay?

4. Could you use as an object for shamatha the felt sense loving-kindness in the body?

5. When doing mindfulness of breathing, I still have some chit-chat, some thoughts, and some images come to mind, but I am able to stay with the breath at least peripherally. When doing awareness of awareness, the chit-chat is still there but thoughts and images are not, it’s like there isn’t room for them. Why is this?

6. When I do mindfulness of breathing at the nostrils, I get a nyam in which I feel like my left side is leaning over or dissolving. Is this pranic? Should I work through it , or stop the practice?

7. In that same situation, if you get to stage four in shamatha but still can not do the practice of mindfulness of breathing attending to the nostrils, where would you go to progress?

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