Allen’s practical class on Meditation and Poetics continues
AG: Does anybody have any technical question?
Student: Can you be heard?
Student: Could they hear you in the back?
AG: Could you hear all that, loud enough to follow?- Okay.
Student: Is it okay to let your eyes wander?
AG: Yeah, if they wander.Just relax your eyes.
Student: Can I lean against the wall?
AG: If you lean against the wall, unless it’s because of the pressure around here and too many people, you won’t probably have your back or spine straight enough and it leads toward feeling good and relaxed and then sleepy. It tends towards sleepiness rather than alertness. So it’s best to sit up with your spine straight. And I know in this condition, when people (are)scattered around, it’s very difficult. I’m just indicating the general direction and for those of you who can later, please go get some more precise instructions. So five minutes of silence, now.
[there follows five minutes of silence]
AG: How many of you had not tried that before? Can you raise your hands? Just a few then. How many had done that before? So everybody knows what that’s about, then. Now…
Student: When you pay attention to the out-breath and.. (you).. (but) when one smokes pot, it’s the in-breath.Does that have anything to do with (the breath)..?
AG: Yes, actually, in an odd way.
AG: Actually, Zen sitting, which is related and sister-sitting or brother-sitting, is the in-breath and out-breath. Some Vipassana sitting is just the door, where the breath goes in and out.All attention is focused right at the nose itself.This Samatha style, which is just the out-breath, tends to lead attention out into space, rather than with preoccupation with neurological buzzings and zappings, as it’s been called, on the inside.So it tends to lead toward what you might call poetic objectivity, outside.You look outside yourself, in other words. It’s looking out, instead of looking inWhen you learn to look out, objectively, then you might be able to look in also with the same objectivity.
Student: Allen? What is it when you take in at both points – both through your nose and through your mouth?
Student (2): Can you speak up?
Student: When you take in at both points, through your nose and through your mouth and you release through your nose.
AG: That’s something else.>It’s just something else.
Student: Basically, in other words, if you were to … basically I breath through my nose, but at points I’ll come in through my mouth…
AG: If you forget, it’s alright. It’s no big deal. It’s just that what we’re just trying to do is concentrate and focus attention.
Student: Center through the nose, though?
AG: No, actually, on the breath. It’s not quite centering. It’s just identifying with the breath, or being with the breath, or being mindful of breathing.
AG: It’s almost the simplest form possible. It’s not even the whole breath — it’s just the out-breath.
AG: So it doesn’t solidify it to the breath — you gotta be in on it all the time, and not on every out-breath, either. Just whenever you can remember.In other words, just come back to one place whenever you can remember. In other words, come back to (it), like if you’re on acid and you turn around three-hundred-and-sixty degrees to see the entire all ten directions of the universe, and you finally come back to the same place, and you know you’ve been there before, and it’s just “I’ve done this through three-hundred-and-sixty kalpas and seven billion millennia and four-hundred-and-eighty-nine thousand trillion lives”, you come back to exactly the same place -so, same way from second to second, or minute to minute – you’re just coming back to the same perspective, let us say, in space, on spaceYou could almost say the same reference point, though that would be a little heavy-handed, and against the rules, even).But, at any rate, just so we all have the common experience.We all have that common experience.
[Audio for the above may be heard here, beginning at approximately fifteen-and-three-quarter minutes and concluding at approximately twenty-and-a-quarter minutes in]