Insight Meditation Workshop
by Ven. Pannyavaro
Integrating Three Aspects of the Practice
Linking the three aspects of practice, sitting, walking and awareness of daily activities, creates an unbroken thread of awareness throughout the day and will help to integrate the practice into your daily life.
Try at least a half hour session linking the three techniques:
During sitting meditation– focus primarily on the body elements, switching to the other spheres of attention as they arise and become predominant.
Alternate with a walking session – where the steps in walking are noted in detail with the attention focused on the sensations from movement.
During some daily activity – pay close attention to and label all body movements and actions as continuously as possible. Be noticing of feelings, mind-states and thoughts as they arise.
Be especially mindful during the ‘travel time’ between each session and the change of body postures. Rather than abruptly ending a session, make a gentle transition at the end of a formal sitting or walking period to the following activity. In this way you will carry through and sustain the quality cultivated in the session, be it calm, awareness or concentration. This continuity is the key to deepening the practice and will eventually lead to penetrative insights.
Awareness of Daily Activities
For awareness to deepen, continuity of attention, which gives momentum to the practice, needs to be maintained for at least a few hours in the day. Continuity arises through careful and precise attention to movements, actions, feelings and mind-states, whatever is prominent, for as long as possible in whatever situation during the daily routine.
Nothing can be dismissed as unimportant when noting daily activities: domestic chores, eating, cleaning your teeth. Any and every movement and activity is repeatedly noted in order to establish the habit so that it becomes your second nature to note during the daily routine. Of course, this is not easy to establish and so requires patience, perseverance and a sense of humour – especially when you feel frustrated by constant forgetfulness!
It is helpful to reinforce your efforts in being attentive in daily life, by reviewing or taking stock of you daily notings. You can record your efforts in a meditation diary, so long as you are careful not to make any judgments on the quality of the practice.