Allen’s class on meditation and poetics (from July 1978) continues
AG: For the purpose of what we’re doing in the class, there may be a Dante-an structure that somebody might want to work with, later. But right now we’re reducing everything right down to the first breath. The first thought. To bear attention to what is called Samatha Vipassana in Buddhist meditation. Samatha – bare attention ,or attentiveness, or mindfulness, or tranquilization of mind – and Vipassana — insight. The Vipassana part is the insight that comes when your mind gets calm enough. When your mind gets calm enough then you hear all the traffic noises. You notice the breeze coming through. In other words, you’re not thinking about why am I doing this? or (what) is he telling me?, or why did I get in this position?, or you’re not occupied day-dreaming. Or, to the extent that you’ve calmed down your day-dreams and your mind isn’t occupied, but you’re careless, you’re careless, you’re carelessly sitting there breathing, it might be possible to notice, then, a pin drop, to hear a pin drop – Is that clear? It might take a little time (or) more time sitting than that five minutes, but, after a while, you should be able to hear a pin drop, take into account the vibration of the venetian blind, the noises your own body makes, other people sniffling, shuffling, the whoosh of car wheels, the wind in the trees, the distant racket of traffic on Pearl Street perhaps [outside, Pearl Street in Boulder], whatever hooting you hear from the mountain, whatever thumps rise unborn..
You wanted to talk?
[Audio for the above can be heard here, beginning at approximately thirty-eight-and-a-quarter minutes in and concluding at approximately forty-one-and-a-quarter minutes in]