"Not", an option

 Tarver , modified 8 Years ago.

"Not", an option

Posts: 262 Join Date: 2/3/10 Recent Posts
Here is an optional extension to Shinzen's system:

Roughly in parallel to Rest, Flow, and Gone (insofar as they are labels for notes that apply in various places all over the grid) an optional extension would be to add the note "Not". Use this for all phenomena outside the designated area of focus. For example, doing "Focus In", suppose that an intrusive physical sensation arises that is not particularly emotional in nature. In addition to ignoring it (note that "ignore" is already a transitive verb, so roll with it), note it as "Not".

In practice in life, anything other than "what one is supposed to be doing", in other words any "distraction", could be simply noted "Not" -- formally, as a practice, but not unaware of the amusing quality of this as an interjection -- which can help one digest and quickly let go of rather than struggle with the distraction.

In a certain sense, this extends the designated area of focus. But in another sense, it abstracts all phenomena that constitute the ground, as it were, for the figure that is the designated meditation. This is already happening when one chooses a particular technique, but noting "Not" (or even being poised to, "if necessary") makes it explicit on a moment-by-moment basis on the cushion too, just as being armed with Rest, Flow, and Gone kind of set a context for the active, static, present phenomena which are the more usual objects of practice.

Well, guess what interesting phenomenon lurks in that ground behind the figure? Of course: self... and not-self. The whole world is not-self, or is it? Or is it not? Just as the momentum of concentration, clarity, and equanimity continue to carry one into Do Nothing when one "cuts the power", so to speak, cultivating an awareness of the relativity of all sensory experience (every this, insofar as it is not a that, is nevertheless related to that by it's not-being-that), may help isolate and either highlight or extinguish "the observer". The increased awareness facilitated by this option may help one become increasingly aware in particular of the negative space from within which the self arises, as neither the object nor the activity of perception.

In particular, I find that Do Nothing and Focus on Everything are (if possible!) even more interesting when Not is added to Flow, Rest, and Gone as "things to catch" -- or be capable of catching, as the case may be.

Something to play with.