Dissolving Disturbing Emotions into Underlying Deep Awareness

During the first phase of this exercise, after creating a quiet, caring space, we look at a photograph or simply think of someone toward whom we have felt or are currently feeling disturbing emotions. For each emotion, we may need to choose a different person. If we cannot recall feeling a particular upsetting emotion, we may extrapolate from familiarity with others' experience of it and try to imagine what it must be like. Acknowledging and regretting the pain that our imbalance may have...

Awareness of Equalities

When we perceive something, we not only take in information, we naturally organize that information into patterns so that we can process, comprehend, and respond to it. Organizing information into patterns is the function of awareness of equalities, or equalizing awareness. We all have this awareness on its basis level. For example, when we look at people, our mirror-like awareness takes in the shape of their body. When we are aware of this physical feature, we compare it with previous...

Exercise 13 Dissecting Experiences into Parts and Causes

The first phase begins with thinking of someone we know very well who recently upset us, for example the relative from the previous exercise who yelled at us in anger. We mentally picture the person acting like this. If we wish to use a photo of the person as a point of reference to help us visualize, we make sure to choose one with a neutral expression. Thinking of our yelling relative, we notice how concretely he or she seems to be an upsetting person. Our relative seems to have a solid...

Five Decisions for Combining Warmth with Understanding

Decisions are most effective when based on reason. Decisions made on a whim or by force are usually not sincerely felt. Consequently, they do not often last. Adopting a procedure from Buddhist logic for reaching a conclusion may be useful. Many meditations use it for equalizing and exchanging our attitudes about self and others. As with the rational approach taken in Exercise Two for generating caring concern, we reach a conclusion, or make a decision, by bringing to mind a reason and an...

Raising Awareness of Parts and Causes

The Gelug approach to self-voidness explains that everything is devoid of existing in fantasized, impossible ways. This does not mean that things do not exist at all. They exist in ways that are not preposterous. One such way is that everything exists as what it is depending on its parts and causes and depending on its correct names and their meaning. This mode of existence is called dependent arising. The view of dependent arising suggests a second way to deconstruct deceptive appearances....

Dispelling Discomfort at the Eight Transitory Things in Life

During the first phase of this exercise, we work with each of the eight transitory things in life, one at a time, considering first receiving it and then giving it to someone. We begin by recalling a situation in which we overreacted to one of the eight. Whether our pattern is to grasp at the transitory thing or to feel uncomfortable with it, we regret any pain that our loss of balance might have caused the person or us. We resolve to try to prevent this from happening again and then...

Dispelling Discomfort at Eight Transitory Things in Life

Deconstructing Dualistic Appearances of Receiving or Giving Any of the Eight Exercise 21 Dispelling Discomfort at Eight Transitory Things in Life Receiving or Giving Praise or Criticism Receiving or Conveying Good or Bad News Being the Recipient or Agent of Gains or Losses Receiving or Fulfilling Expectations or Demands Being the Recipient or Agent of Things Going Well or Avoiding an Emotional Roller Coaster When Directly Relating to Someone Avoiding Emotional Extremes When Relating to...

Applying the Five Types of Deep Awareness

As it is difficult to direct mirror-like awareness at thoughts of someone, we practice the first phase of this exercise only while looking at photographs. We begin by focusing on a family photo or on a picture of a group of our friends. As in the previous exercises, we try to quiet our mind of mental stories, preconceptions, and nonverbal judgments. Being in a subtler, quieter state, we may automatically feel a certain amount of warm concern. We need to enhance that feeling. It forms the...

Relaxing Triplistic Appearances of Minds Natural Functions

During the first phase of this exercise, we try to recall situations in which we grasped for security based on projecting and believing in triplistic appearances of our mental activity's seven natural facets. With each mental action, we consider four forms this syndrome may take - grasping to express the action, clutching to receive expressions of it, being afraid to express the action, and being uncomfortable at receiving expressions of it. We also try to recall any insensitivity to others'...

Affirming and Accessing Our Natural Abilities

To gain a more vivid feeling for some qualities that we merely imagined in the previous exercise, here we try to remember our natural experience of various aspects of balanced sensitivity. We then turn our attention to others and to ourselves, while trying to continue to feel these mental factors. The exercise is not suggesting the contrived method of remembering a feeling from one occasion and then transferring it to another. Instead, we confirm that we naturally have the main components of...