Sitting helps me overcome my deepest fears. I become freer to live from my heart and to face the consequences, but also to reap the rewards of this authenticity…. The vibrations of my body are humming the song that can be heard only when dawn and dusk are simultaneous, instantaneous, continuous. I feel that a burst of stern effort is a small price to pay to hear this inner music– fertile music from the heart of life itself. I sit to anchor and organize my life around my heart and mind, and to radiate out to others what I find. Though I shake in strong winds, I return to this basic way of living. The easy, soothing comfort and deep relaxation that accompany intense awareness in stillness, peel my life like an onion to deeper layers of truth, which in turn are scoured and soothed until the next layer opens. I sit to discipline my life by what is clear, simple, self-fulfilling and universal in my heart. There is no end to this job. I have failed to really live many days of my life, but I dive again and again into the plain guidance of self-containment and loving receipt. I sit to find and express simple human love and common decency.
—Exerpted from “Why I Sit,” by Paul Fleischman
Listen to the Awareness Meditation (mp3)
The fundamental processes of Heartwork are practicing awareness and inquiring into the Truth of one’s experience in-the-moment. Practicing awareness is like a searchlight, opening to the vast spaciousness that is our True Nature. Inquiry is like a spotlight, looking increasingly deeply into one’s experience to see/understand everything possible about oneself and the Universe.
The primary tools we use are meditation – specifically the Awareness and Soft-Belly Meditations – and Guided Heartwork. Through daily practice and periodic extended practice periods, these meditations will transform your life.
The Awareness Meditation, included here, teaches you how to take a step back inside yourself and observe the workings of the human body-mind – the specific ways in which your thoughts, feelings, and sensations are connected and responsive to one another. By doing this, you will become decreasingly identified with these phenomena. You will no longer think of yourself as your body, thoughts and emotions. You will begin to see that Who you really are is the awareness that is witnessing the interplay of these events. You are not your thoughts. You are not the thinker. Thoughts happen all by themselves, as do feelings and sensations. They rise and fall away moment after moment after moment.
Seeing/experiencing this frees you from your habitual attachment to these phenomena and gives you the ability to choose whether or not to believe and act upon or against these previously tyrannical thoughts. You become the master of your own life. Mastering the Awareness Meditation means being able to enter into a state of unattached, open awareness whenever you remember to do so, and trying to remember to do so all day long.