In MIDL Mindfulness Training 25/52 you learn the skill of expanding your awareness to experience the field of the six senses in order to develop understanding and cultivate the conditions for wisdom to arise. Expanding awareness also gives the mind space to run and is the antidote for the fourth hindrance to meditation: restlessness. Awareness is our lens to the world and like a camera can be focused to one point or opened to take in the whole picture. Developing the skill of expanding and contracting the field of awareness is an important part of MIDL practice. Submit Your Question
Our Twenty-fifth Training:
MIDL Mindfulness Training 25/52: Expanding Awareness
1. Develop understanding of the skill of dispersing mental energy by expanding awareness.
2. Learn how to settle the hindrance of restlessness.
3. Develop the skill of sustaining expanded awareness.
The Five Hindrances to Meditation:
Attraction, Aversion, Restlessness, Sluggishness & Doubt.
These are not only the hindrances to meditation but also the hindrances to life, you should learn to recognise them when they are present - They are not personal - they are just defence mechanisms produced by the immune system of your mind.
In the previous mindfulness trainings you developed your skill in self observation and abandoning through Softening your relationship towards the feeling tone present within your mind, be that pleasant or unpleasant. If your habitual tendencies of attraction or resistance are still high then it is skilful to learn how to temporarily suppress the five hindrances in order to develop a basis of concentration. MIDL 24 is concerned with the hindrance of Attraction & Aversion. MIDL 25 is concerned with the hindrance of Restlessness. MIDL 26 is concerned with the hindrance of Mental Sluggishness. The hindrance of doubt only dissolves when you experience the complete path and awareness turns towards Nibbana.
Once you have the hindrances under control, rebalancing the mind, then abandon these suppression techniques and instead start observing the Five Hindrances turning them instead into the Five Characteristics of Distraction.
Meditation is practiced in a seated position.
The Four Stages:
1. Ground awareness within your body and experience the flow of your breath.
2. Practice MIDL Mindfulness of Breathing to create your Viewing Platform.
3. Gradually expand your awareness of your six senses.
4. Hold all six senses within one field of awareness and soften all participation.
Practice daily for 1 week by grounding awareness within your body then bringing awareness to the experience of your whole body as it breathes so that the full length of the expansion of the in-breath and deflation of the out-breath become clear to you. Open your awareness to anything that arises within the field of your six senses, allow yourself to deeply experience it. Observe your minds interaction with any experience that arises within the field of your six senses and soften into the effort behind that interaction. Cultivate the arising of Stillness through abandonment of participation and observe its affect on mental and physical restlessness.
1. Weaken the identification with restlessness.
2. Disperses energy to allow development of concentration in the over-stimulated mind.
3. Develops the ability to hold all six sense doors within one field of awareness.
4. Weakens engagement of awareness with experiences that arise within the filed of the six senses.
Your Question: I couldn't expand my awareness. Maybe my ego is very strong.
Stephen Procter: The ego has nothing to do with your ability to expand awareness. It is the ego that says: "Maybe my ego is very strong, that is why I can't expand 'my' awareness", all it ever does is refer the world back to itself.
Expanding awareness is ordinary, You can look at one thing with your eyes or widen your vision to see the whole landscape, this is an expanding of awareness through the eye door. In this meditation we expand awareness in the same way from the body door, you can be aware of only 'this breath', of your whole body as it sits or of all of your six senses viewing the whole landscape, it is ordinary and nothing special.