The Power of Intimate Attention with The Neutral
There are many things I love about meditation, but one of the big shifts that has happened for me is the ability to understand the nature and reality of experience. I am sensitive and analytical, which can be a recipe for one of the 3 causes of suffering - delusion. Delusion, by definition is not seeing clearly and can cause not only internal strife but also contribute to grasping and aversion of external objects and experiences.
When I teach meditation, and in my own practice, I enjoy paying close intimate attention to the neutral sensations. This means that even when I am enjoying a relatively calm sitting, I inquire deeper into the non-sensational, like the natural throbbing of my hands, the beating of my heart, the subtle sensations of the stomach digesting or its grumble letting me know i am hungry. I recognize and allow these sensations to be held in my awareness with a deeper inquiry into its nature as pleasant or unpleasant.
It’s important to get to know these neutral sensations on this more subtle level to train the mind. Often times neglected neutral sensations can escalate into extremes. If we use our practice to be with and pay attention to things when they are calm with as much interest and effort as we do when they are pleasant or unpleasant, the more likely we are to respond skillfully to whatever may come our way.