The pointers I have found most helpful are all simple, but not necessarily easy.
Here is my usual list….
The world as a mirror. At an ordinary human level, I can find in myself whatever I see in the wider world. I recognize qualities, characteristics, dynamics and so on in other people, in imagined figures, in nature, in myths and world views, and can then find the same in myself. It won’t necessarily look the same, it may be expressed differently and at a different volume, but I can still find it here. I can see it, feel it, take it in, and eventually find appreciation for it.
As long as I only see it out there, I may make it into a problem for me. It appears as something I long for but don’t have, or it may appear as something disturbing me from out there. When I recognize it also here, it becomes a valuable resource for me. I can relate to it – in myself and others – in a more sane, mature and clear way. I can even make use of it in my own life, I can find ways to use and express it in ways that seem helpful and valuable for me and perhaps others.
Inquire into beliefs. I notice the symptoms of attaching to a story as true, and of being out of alignment with reality. These symptoms are the usual ones such as stress, discomfort, sense of unease, tension, reactive emotions, and so on. Finding the beliefs behind this stress, and perhaps the assumptions behind these beliefs, I can inquire into them to find what is more honest and true for me. And I can bring this into my daily life, exploring how it is to live from what is more honest for me than my initial belief.
Allow experience as is. When I resist experience, there is discomfort. When I allow experience as it is, or even welcome experience, with warmth and kindness, something shifts. There is the familiar sense of coming home, of release and relief. What seemed “other” and a bother now is no longer “other” and it is revealed as a valuable resource. For instance, fear may seem scary and as a problem as long it is resisted, but it can become a source of a sense of aliveness, alertness and clarity when it is welcomed, allowed and recognized as something that is not “other”.
Inquire into sense fields. When I explore each sense field and how images in the mental field combine with the other fields, I get to see how I create my own experience. When I take my overlay of images as real and solid, the experience of whatever it may be seems real and solid. For instance, pain appears in the sense field as sensations and images and stories about this pain. Taking these images as real and inherent in the pain itself, it becomes very uncomfortable. But when I recognize the sensations and the images as separate, there is a sense of spaciousness and “don’t know”. The experience changes, sometimes dramatically. What previously appeared as pain now is just sensations and images. In the same way, I can explore a sense of “I” as a doer and observer in the same way. How does it appear in each sense field? What happens when the overlay of images is taken as substantial and real? What happens when it is recognized as an overlay of images?
Stabilizing attention. For whatever I wish to do, a stable and directable attention is a great support and valuable tool. And the simplest way to stabilize attention is to bring attention to the breath, even for relatively short periods each day.
Live with more integrity. What happens when I live from what is honest for me, with whatever insight and kindness I can come up with? What happens when I take responsibility for my own choices and actions, including how I relate to inner/outer situations?
These are simple pointers, and here is always further to go. Through curiosity, I find new areas of life to use these pointers as guide for exploration, I may find new ways to apply them, and I can apply them more consistently. And it is not always easy, especially when my mind tells me it is not OK to explore certain areas.
- simple, not easy
- world as mirror, in several ways…
- find what see in the wider world, also here (qualities, characteristics, dynamics) – see, feel, appreciation
- notice it all as as happening w/in my own world of images
- inquire into beliefs
- notice, inquire, find what is more honest
- allow experience as is
- with kindness, welcome as a friend
- inquire into sense fields
- notice what seems most as “I”
- notice as content of experience as any other content of experience
- stabilizing attention
- f.ex. on breath
- becomes a more finely honed tool, used with more skill
- take responsibility for own choices and actions, and their consequences
- including how I relate to inner/outer situations
- new areas + layers – deepen into, clarify, life from, investigate
- world as mirror, in several ways…
Also, I can recognize that all my stories about myself and the world happens within my own world of images.
All of these are simple pointers, and they are at times easy to apply. But it takes a good deal of work and diligence to apply these in new and different areas of life, in a more consistent way, and at new layers of what is revealed. There is always further to go. It is not always easy, especially when we come up against our most cherished, familiar, ingrained and comfortable hangups. It is not always easy, not because it is technically difficult, but because we go into terrains our mind may tell us is not OK. Our own mind throws up fears.