I have noticed that my attention has been a bit scattered during inquiry recently, so it may be time to strengthen those stability muscles again.
Stability practice and inquiry traditionally go hand-in-hand in Buddhism, and for good reasons.
Training a more stable attention seems almost universally helpful for whatever activity I engage in, whether I talk with a friend, cook food, study, work, or pray or engage in inquiry.
And inquiry can support stability practice. I can find and inquire into beliefs about stability practice, such as it takes effort, it takes too much time, there is resistance to it, there is an I doing it.
It’s also interesting to explore how stability practice appears in the sense fields. (For me, right now, noticing an image guiding size and location of attention, an image of a me, an image of an observer or doer, and noticing the shifts between identification and softening/release of identification with the images of a me and I.)
Note: Inquiry can refer to many different forms of explorations, including sense field exploration, The Work, the Big Mind process, or just noticing what’s here. Stability practice is perhaps most commonly done by bringing attention to the breath – for instance the sensations at the nostrils during and between in- and out-breath.
Note 2: It’s interesting how western culture traditionally have had “blind spots” when it comes to what we can train and strengthen. Training a stable attention has universal benefits, and yet it hasn’t been part of our culture to train and strengthen it. Now, with an influx of practices from eastern cultures, and with the encouragement of research findings, this is changing.