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My meditation practice in that time was focussed on direct experience: I would sit for a while and then would look – and what was seen was fabrication! That was clearly seen: this fabrication making something out of direct experience that actually wasn’t in direct experience. Really clearly seeing that was liberating: it was liberating – the energy that went in to that – there was this visceral feeling of release and joy in that release of the energy that went in to fabrications
After a very busy period in my life, caring for others. I realised that I needed to put more emphasis on meditation. On order meditation retreats I felt that I was coming to an edge. There was quite a lot of fear arising, and I didn’t know where to go with it really. I went on a women’s order meditation retreat down in Taraloka, it was Padmasambhava’s advice to the three fortunate women. Very much a meditation retreat, and at one point I did just see that thought wasn’t me, wasn’t ‘I’: I wasn’t thought. It was very strong, embodied: it wasn’t a conceptual thing. I felt quite shaky to start, there was quite a lot of disturbance and kind of fear. The other image I have of it is the silent scream – a kind of hanging on by my finger nails: and ‘I don’t know where I’m going with this, and I’m scared’ - there was real fear rising up – that I would fall, die, go in to nothing.
I remember hearing about the order insight inquiry, and I just thought ‘oh, I wonder if that would be something I could engage with?’ if it would soften this edge or help me look more deeply at what that experience had been.
I really appreciated the care that was taken to make sure it was experiential, taking real patience about bringing it back to that direct experience – I had had a concern that it might be conceptual – so the experience felt very metta full, very connected. The experience I had after the Skype sessions was one of just release and joy: I felt really joyful afterwards, and the following up exercises kind of consolidated things, allowed for a deeper sense of what had been seen – or not seen.
I found this whole area of looking in to direct experience mostly quite easy, although since the order insight inquiry it’s become so much easier: it’s like the access to that direct experience has become quite natural, even outwith meditation.
My meditation practice in that time was focussed on direct experience: I would sit for a while and then would look – and what was seen was fabrication! That was clearly seen, that there’s this fabrication that was making something out of direct experience that actually wasn’t in direct experience. Really clearly seeing that was liberating: it was liberating. Just seeing that fabrication – the energy that went in to that – there was this visceral feeling of release and joy in that release of the energy that went in to fabrications.
I didn’t feel as if I fell off an edge – there was no sense of that in my experience at all: rather a softening, an opening up, so that it’s more as if you were in a bubble and just pushing the sides. As we went through the insight inquiry, that seeing in to no-self was such a relief, such a release. That was the release of the fear.
What’s happened since then is more access to this spaciousness, more access to the sense of just letting to, then seeing much more quickly the arising of craving and aversion – and then I can use the tool of looking in direct experience to work with that: so I do that. Noticing nothing permanent, noticing suffering, and noticing that under ill will there is craving: that the felt sense of ill will is the same as that of craving.
And I bring the seeing of no-self in somehow: well, it arises: there’s no one here craving: it’s subject to fabrication: mind-made. This arises in experience as well.
At present I feel that I’m working creatively and organically with it all, both in meditation and out of it. There’s more confidence, more Shraddha, more faith that practice works, it’s effective. It opens up to much more joy, much more relaxed about things.