I was just sitting out on the lawn on this beautiful sunny day in the Ozarks and it became quite clear that to just sit in a state of contentment with just an inner smile, noticing and staying with this growing state of happiness, the mind gradually relaxes. The movements grow less and less, then finally the world ends..... And Nibbana arises.
When you just sit and let yourself be happy in the present, and notice and release any thoughts bringing you out of the present, then that is meditation.
When people have difficulty and try too hard to do the practice and try to control the hindrances and everything else we ask them to just Smile for 30 minutes and feel the smile. That's all - do nothing but peacefully feel a smile. (Outside in the sun is a nice place to do this) Don't even 6R, as that is probably not being done right. Just smile and relax and stay with this happy feeling. Let it percolate on its own and get deeper. Feel loving kindness for yourself and sit in that feeling.
You notice how you might have a positive feeling, but then a thought comes in and it might be something that we find more interesting than sitting here. Hmmm... What is that thought? Oh, I know - it's craving - to be somewhere else because it might be more fun and more pleasant. We have a lot of those thoughts and are swept here and then and barely have a chance to feel any calm at all. We go from restlessness and wanting to move, to sloth and torpor and just going to sleep. Then off we go thinking about a good a cold drink would be. Sensual Desire Then we get angry because we can't DO this RIGHT: Anger Well it must because we just don't know how! Doubt. Are we failures at this? Maybe there is a better way? And so it goes. The 5 hindrances.
You can't just sit and observe out of the gate, so the Buddha came up with a way to slow things down first, which is a Samatha practice. Collectedness / Samadhi... Bringing up a pleasant object like lovingkindness and just staying with it. It is a happy practice- one that feels good, and the mind can stay with it easily. It is a wholesome object that brings in energy and tranquility into the mind.
It is just because our mind is so busy that we have to use this Brahmavihara practice to calm down to the point where we can have some quiet peaceful moments to really observe just what is there. You bring up loving kindness (Metta) and this then automatically turns to compassion (Karuna) and then to joy (Mudita) and then to a deep feeling of Equanimity (Upekkha). You stay with this and train the mind to be with it. As the sutta says you pervade it to all beings in all directions. (Just a 'spiritual' friend at first).
Then the feeling of equanimity disappears. the mind becomes super quiet. Thoughts are not really there anymore - only subtle movements of mind. There can be flickers and waves, and rolling and lights. Just things to see and feel, but our attention can stay with it and observe it, because there is a deep level of tranquility now.
This now becomes the practice of Vipassana (Vi=to passana= see Insight) but still includes some Samatha (Tranquility/Calm.)
This is the second part of the practice of this Samatha-Vipassana Practice or TWIM.
When you sit with nothing going on and a thought or image comes up and you realize that when you have nothing going on it actually feels better, than desiring this or that (hindrances). These hindrances lure and beckon us but we realize the lure is a painful craving feeling for something other than what we have right now -in the present moment.
With insight into the pain of thinking and hindrances, the mind stops paying attention to thoughts and feelings and experiences deep profound happiness. It truly has come into the present by becoming dispassionate and disenchanted with the outside world which invades this new type of peace. The mind has turned away from the world, which is the awareness and desire of everything outside yourself.
This is why this Samatha and Vipassana is "Yoked Together"; one needs the other. You must develop tranquility first. Then you just watch and develop insight into how the mind moves. But you still come back to the quiet which is how Samatha is still there. Once you realize there is no reason to move you enter into peace. A true peace. The peace of stopping. Relief of not having to constantly seek. It’s finally enough.
As far as today went the world didn’t stop as the cat jumped back up in my lap and it was right back into Samsara.