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Showing posts from October 20, 2013

Atammayata: The Gift of Spacious Awareness

Attention is like the lens of a camera. Often in spiritual practice we're asked to focus on very specific sensations, such as softening the muscles of the abdomen or reciting metta phrases ("May I be free of unnecessary stress, suffering and fear; may I find ease amidst life's challenges"). This practice can be very useful during anxiety attacks, when the inner voice of fear is so compelling and destructive that we're best served by centering the mind on an alternative object that interrupts the triggering, such deepening in breaths and lengthening out breaths.

Sometimes, however, allowing the focus of the mind to narrow is part of the problem, not the solution. We may be caught up in obsessive worries about the future or in very real setbacks in life, such as physical pain or separations from loved ones. As the mind fixates, it loses contact with the wide variety of sensations and impressions that can create a sense of spaciousness and mantain perspective. There&…