Spirit Grooves Blogs

Published on October 12, 2014

I blogged recently about intuition and how to make it a constant part of our life-process, instead of just a sometimes thing. I don't want to beat a dead horse, as they say, but it may help those of you interested in all of this if I drill down a little bit more. I am referring to our being more in the moment and what is called Insight Meditation.

The freshness of the moment reminds me of when my wife and I used to raise dogs (by accident of course), and here were all these little fat puppies lined up on their mom nursing, about as content as anyone could be. That is kind of how I feel about being in the present moment – authentically content.

But unlike those puppies and their mom's milk, the present moment never runs out. It is endless and, if we can allow ourselves to be aware in the present, it is vividly clarifying. Now what exactly is it that we do in the present moment? Well, of course we can do whatever we want, but if you want to know what I do, it is this. I will again use the analogy of those little nursing puppies, each locked-on to their mother and alternating pulling the nipple with their front paws.

For me this is very similar to how I approach the present moment, but here I am gently feeding on inspiration, mixing it into whatever I am currently inquiring about, like writing this text here now. However, there are some rules, if I want it to work.

I have learned that one of the rules is to not jump the gun, not anticipate the moment, and to not speculate about what is coming through by way of intuition. Instead, relax and let it flow into me. In other words, wait. I gradually mix the fresh intuition of the moment that is coming through with my question or whatever I am learning or inquiring about.

For example, let's say I am inquiring about what is "emptiness." In the freshness of the moment, what actually comes through is not so much anything in itself, like an answer to my question "What is emptiness?" It is not like that. The moment's freshness is too fresh for that, too unformatted yet. It is like an injection of pure oxygen into the mind, rather than a formal response as some idea or words. The sheer freshness itself expands time and space, opens up, creating space -- an aura or room for something to happen in. And in that expanded space, the pure oxygen of inspiration or intuition mixes with my intention or original question.

It is like when you mix the two ingredients together for certain superglues (like Epoxy with its two tubes), or when the burning tip of an acetylene torch is applied to metal to make it molten. An amalgam arises that is a combination of my intent or idea and the freshness of inspiration or juice which expands the idea.

Anyway, parking myself up by the edge of the present moment and leaning into it, again using the metaphor of the pure oxygen mask, I breathe in that trickle of fresh intuition and it immediately expands the mind, mixing seamlessly with whatever I have brought to it, and I find myself precipitating (like rain falls) something new, something I didn't know before, somehow melding the intuition with the already-known to fashion something remarkably new.

And here is a subtle point. The result of all of this is not simply an idea, something I then think, a thought that I then take away, although ultimately that too happens. What is remarkable, exciting, even thrilling, is the pungent authenticity that comes with this pure injection into my consciousness. It is a bit like smelling salts. It snaps the mind awake. This, my friends, is what is called "Insight Meditation."
You could say that I am using my mind creatively, but that sounds so routine or mundane, when in reality it is incredibly satisfying, just like those little puppies are satisfied at their mother's breast. There is no better place to be than there. I am not saying that I want to walk around with an oxygen mask and tank like some do, so I probably have used up that metaphor. This process becomes automatic after some practice.

Yes, there is a learning curve, learning to be present, to find where in our mind the intuition emerges and to breathe that into our system. We have to learn to look if we want to "See." And of course, this takes some practice. But once the general technique of intuiting is learned, it is very portable. While in the beginning there may be the sense of our consciously doing this, of consciously breathing intuition and being in the present, after a while we just are there. Gradually we learn to take this quality with us throughout the day. Everywhere we look with this special insight, we intuitively see and learn. There is nothing as addictive that I know of as this vivid awareness.

Instead of "thinking" about things (standing back), as we usually do, with breathing intuitively, we actually begin to "know" things. Anywhere we turn our attention, our focus or concentration, like the tip of the blowtorch, everything just unfolds from there, from that point. Time expands. As mentioned earlier, there is no end to what can be seen this way.

I have tried to describe what is (of course) quite subtle and difficult to put into words, but hopefully you get the basic idea. What is harder to convey is the sheer clarity of the process. I have used the analogy of breathing in pure oxygen, and that is correct, but this oxygen is also just a little like smelling salts. It is pure, but it startles us awake at the same time. Again, this is Insight Meditation, something we begin to learn after we are comfortable with basic Shamata Meditation.

I hope I have communicated here, and that you find this interesting. If not, it is my fault, because the reality of Insight Meditation is interesting beyond words. It is beyond words.

[Graphic based on a photo by Mihai Tamasila.]