Category Archives: Meditation

Sparrow House

The function of eye consciousness is only to see visible forms, not to ascertain physical gestures or movements.  However, succeeding mental processes occur so quickly that ordinary people think that they see as if with their real eyes, the movement known by the succeeding mental process of investigation.

For example, when we see a hand moving, our eye-consciousness sees only the visible form.  It is not able to know that it is a hand or that it is moving.  the mind moves very fast, however, so the movement that the succeeding mind of investigation knows is taken to have been seen with the eyes.  Ordinary people can not distinguish between preceding and succeeding mental processes.  On the other hand, a meditator who has practiced insight proficiently can recognize the mental process of seeing visible form as distinct from the subsequent mental processesthat know it as a hand and movement.

The Pali text give the example of a swinging torch to clarify this point.  If a lit torch is twirled in the darkness, it will appear as a solid ring of fire to anyone watching.  If it is swung in a linear or triangualr pattern, then it will appear as a line or a triangle.  In reality, there is no circular, linear or triangular shape to the fire, only the red visible form that can be seen moving from place to place as the fire passes.  In reality, it is the succeeding mental processes that merge the visible forms that appear in different places and interpret them as a circle of fire and so on.  This is the actual example from the Pali texts.

Manual of Insight, Page 95

Mahasi Sayadaw


Sun Colored Pepper

We allow ourselves to watch the mind judging and see how judging, in the words of the Third Zen Patriarch, “sets heaven and hell infinitely apart”.  We see that the open space in which the contents of the mind are occurring is of itself completely non-judgemental, non-opinionated, non separate.

A Gradual Awakening—Page 57

Stephen Levine

Gina Lake on Healing and Aawakening

And a very small summary in case the vid is too long.


•    Awakening is due to grace, and whether someone awakens and when is up to grace. Not everyone is meant to awaken, and those who are meant to awaken will awaken when it is the right time for them. 

•    Having said that, it is also true that those who are destined to awaken are usually called to the spiritual path and called to do spiritual practices and attend to their own healing. The will to do these things comes when it is time to awaken, and you can’t make that will be there when it isn’t. This will is often intensified by the suffering caused by difficulties experienced in early childhood or some loss later on.

•    Whether you awaken or not is not as important as how you are in every moment. Whether you have had an awakening or not, you can experience awakeness by simply learning to be present. Presence is awakeness. The more moments we spend in Presence/Awakeness, the more that prepares the ground for awakening. So if there is anything we can do to awaken it is that: Be present as much as possible. And then if you don’t awaken, it won’t matter!

•    Spiritual practices such as meditation prepare the container of the body to be able to hold or support the higher vibration of energy that comes with awakening. When people’s bodies aren’t adequately prepared, they might experience physical problems or become destabilized mentally or emotionally. 

•    You can have had an awakening and not seem like you have, because you still have so much unhealed conditioning that pulls you back into the ego. Or you can not have had an awakening and be very content and happy and live much of the time in an awake place because you have healed enough conditioning. 

•    The problem is that if you still have a lot of negative thoughts and feelings, you will have a hard time being present and staying present for very long. Fears and desires and thoughts about the past and future pull you out of the present moment. Healing is important because it is difficult to move out of or beyond a negative mind. Healing makes the thoughts and feelings more positive, and that makes it easier to be present—to experience awakeness, whether you’ve had an actual awakening or not.

•    Some experience of Presence/Essence/Wholeness/the true self is necessary to entice people away from the mind, particularly away from their negative thoughts. Without a sense of who they really are, people get bogged down in the mind and can even get bogged down in witnessing the mind or doing inquiry. They stay stuck observing or witnessing their mind and fail to turn their attention away from it to the present moment. They don’t know another way of being yet because they haven’t gone deep enough into Essence. 

•    Although people might realize that they are not their thoughts or mind, it is still difficult for many people to be present—to drop into their body and the present moment and stay there. That is because the mind is compelling, especially when it is negative, and also because when there has been some wounding, people don’t trust life or trust the experience of just being. They feel they have to be doing and thinking in order to survive. Trust is a critical issue in being able to move into the present moment. If trust has been impaired by an abusive or a neglectful situation in early life, then being present for any amount of time is challenging. 

•    An awakening, as I define it, is a permanent shift in identity in which the primary state one lives in is Presence rather than ego-identification. Considerable conditioning drops away at awakening, but some conditioning remains and comes up to be seen and healed, which is easier to do once you realize your true nature.

•    What heals is contact with true nature, both the therapist having contact with true nature and the client. Contact with true nature happens when we are present in the moment.

A Facebook Post From The Shambhala Meditation Center of New York

The Buddha taught that to wake up from the dream of bewilderment and suffering, we first need to sit still and take a deep breath. Peaceful abiding is that deep breath, a way to strip away the chaos of bewilderment and find some basic sanity. But peaceful abiding is only the beginning of the spiritual journey. Simply withdrawing into the stability of our own minds could turn meditation practice into just another way to shop for pleasure. Instead, with this healthy sense of self we can look more deeply into the meaning of our being. We can take meditation further by using insight, vipashyana in Sanskrit, to reflect accurately on our own experience and on the nature of existence.

~ SakyongMipham Rinpoche
“Turning the Mind into an Ally”