Contractions & Openings

 

For the human mind, life is a continual dance between contractions and openings. These dynamic processes and tendencies goes over lifetimes, years and months (macro level), and over the course of the day and between every changing Now (micro levels).

What (characteristics)

Contractions

  • Crystallized pride and seriousness.
  • Resisting our experiences (life as it unfolds in the Now).
  • Breaking down during intense experiences.
  • Crystallization/rigidity on all levels: body, emotions, cognition etc.
  • Going/identified with the thoughts, emotions and sensations, and reduced choice in how we relate to the inner/outer world.
  • Attachments to ideas and identity, and rigid ideas/identity. Reduced awareness of that which is experiencing makes the ideas and thoughts themselves of prime importance.
  • There is a sense of strong separation between the outer and inner world. Qualities and characteristics are seen in one and not the other, and there is a strong identification with the (conscious) processes of the inner world.
  • The view tends to be fragmented and blindly dualistic.
  • Thoughts tend to be critical. Emotions reactive. There is a strong identification with both.

Openings

  • Deepening gratitude, humility and empathy.
  • Relaxing into our experiences (Existence as it manifests in the Now).
  • Breaking open during intense experiences.
  • Increased fluidity/flow on all levels: body, emotions, congnitions etc.
  • Awareness of and space around the thoughts, emotions and sensations. Increased choice in how we relate to the inner/outer world.
  • Direct experience and awareness is as important as, or more important than, the shifting content. More fluid ideas/identity, and reduced attachments to ideas/identity.
  • There is an awareness of the changing processes of the inner/outer world, and a sense of no separation between the two. We see all qualities and characteristics equally in the outer and inner world (the one reminds us of the other).
  • The view is of no separation and seeing the polarities as well as the poles.
  • Thoughts tends to be receptive, emotions supportive. There is awareness of both (space rather than identification).

How (tools)

Contractions and openings are an integral part of human existence. Still, we do have a choice in how we relate to our experiences, and have tools to invite contractions into openings.

  • Awareness
    (a) Of all relative phenomena (inner/outer world)
    (b) Of awareness as different from relative phenomena (different, yet no separation)
  • Being in the present
    (a) Coming to the body and breath
    (b) Being with our current experiences
  • Relaxing into our experiences
    Can I be with what I am experiencing? This helps us open up, let go of resistance, and truly benefit from our experiences independent of whether they are comfortable or not.

  • Breema (tai chi, chi gong, yoga, etc)
  • Meditation
  • Lo Jong: Mind training
  • Projections

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