We discussed this stage from the beginning of the sitting meditation.
Having established your awareness, that you are really sitting in your body, in the preceding step, ‘Connect’ brings our awareness to the world around us.
As our eyes are closed then our primary sense is hearing. It should be fairly easy to hear something, no matter what it is and then to be aware of the connection between your sitting body and the sensory data. We are not analysing what it is, just witnessing it’s presence with us as we go on this particular journey.
Hearing is by no means our only way to connect though. We can bring our awareness to scent or touch, even taste if you had a polo before you sat down!
I was reminded of the story of this man who had been overtaken by attachment to a very wrong idea. Correction that it was fingers that were collected not ears. I am not sure where that came from. Reservoir Dogs maybe.
It is a parable of redemption (which is nice) but it also underlines the power of stopping, even for a moment and seeing what is really happening.
We could all gain insight, just like Angulimala, if we were to come to as complete a stop as we can during practise.
At Taxila, other students were jealous of him and succeeded in poisoning their teacher’s mind against him, with the result that the teacher asked of him what he must have believed would be an impossible honorarium, a thousand human right-hand little fingers. Unbelievably, instead of giving up and quietly going home without graduating, the young man set out to collect the fingers and pay the fee.
Angulimala had become so good at chopping people up that he became an expert midwife during his career as a monk. An example of transferable skills!
Angulimala is the name of the Buddhist chaplaincy in HM Prisons in the UK.
Check there work out here and consider helping out their practice of teaching mindfulness to other members of our wider community.
I have booked the hall every Saturday now throughout September.
On the first Saturday of the month I will be running an extra hour when I will start to explain the second part of the sutra.
It is only 3 more gatas but they are HUGE!
If you want to find out more then stay late on the 7th September.