Don't expect anything. Just sit back and see
what happens. Treat the whole thing as an experiment.
Take an active interest in the test itself. But don't
get distracted by your expectations about results.
For that matter, don't be anxious for any result whatsoever.
Let the meditation move along at its own speed and
in its own direction. Let the meditation teach you
what it wants you to learn. Meditative awareness seeks
to see reality exactly as it is. Whether that corresponds
to our expectations or not, it requires a temporary
suspension of all our preconceptions and ideas. We
must store away our images, opinions and interpretations
someplace out of the way for the duration. Otherwise
we will stumble over them.
Don't strain: Don't force anything or make
grand exaggerated efforts. Meditation is not aggressive.
There is no violent striving. Just let your effort
be relaxed and steady.
Don't rush: There is no hurry, so take you
time. Settle yourself on a cushion and sit as though
you have a whole day. Anything really valuable takes
time to develop. Patience, patience, patience.
Don't cling to anything and don't reject anything:
Let come what comes and accommodate yourself to that,
whatever it is. If good mental images arise, that
is fine. If bad mental images arise, that is fine,
too. Look on all of it as equal and make yourself
comfortable with whatever happens. Don't fight with
what you experience, just observe it all mindfully.
Let go: Learn to flow with all the changes
that come up. Loosen up and relax.
Accept everything that arises: Accept your
feelings, even the ones you wish you did not have.
Accept your experiences, even the ones you hate. Don't
condemn yourself for having human flaws and failings.
Learn to see all the phenomena in the mind as being
perfectly natural and understandable. Try to exercise
a disinterested acceptance at all times and with respect
to everything you experience.
Be gentle with yourself: Be kind to yourself.
You may not be perfect, but you are all you've got
to work with. The process of becoming who you will
be begins first with the total acceptance of who you
Investigate yourself: Question everything.
Take nothing for granted. Don't believe anything because
it sounds wise and pious and some holy men said it.
See for yourself. That does not mean that you should
be cynical, impudent or irreverent. It means you should
be empirical. Subject all statements to the actual
test of your experience and let the results be your
guide to truth. Insight meditation evolves out of
an inner longing to wake up to what is real and to
gain liberating insight to the true structure of existence.
The entire practice hinges upon this desire to be
awake to the truth. Without it, the practice is superficial.
View all problems as challenges: Look upon
negatives that arise as opportunities to learn and
to grow. Don't run from them, condemn yourself or
bear your burden in saintly silence. You have a problem?
Great. More grist for the mill. Rejoice, dive in and
Don't ponder: You don't need to figure everything
out. Discursive thinking won't free you from the trap.
In mediation, the mind is purified naturally by mindfulness,
by wordless bare attention. Habitual deliberation
is not necessary to eliminate those things that are
keeping you in bondage. All that is necessary is a
clear, non-conceptual perception of what they are
and how they work. That alone is sufficient to dissolve
them. Concepts and reasoning just get in the way.
Don't think. See.
Don't dwell upon contrasts: Differences do
exist between people, but dwelling upon then is a
dangerous process. Unless carefully handled, it leads
directly to egotism. Ordinary human thinking is full
of greed, jealousy and pride. A man seeing another
man on the street may immediately think, "He is better
looking than I am." The instant result is envy or
shame. A girl seeing another girl may think, "I am
prettier than she is." The instant result is pride.
This sort of comparison is a mental habit, and it
leads directly to ill feeling of one sort or another:
greed, envy, pride, jealousy, hatred. It is an unskillful
mental state, but we do it all the time. We compare
our looks with others, our success, our accomplishments,
our wealth, possessions, or I.Q. and all these lead
to the same place--estrangement, barriers between
people, and ill feeling.