When I came downstairs I had a coffee and sat and read a little. Stage 4 seems to be where the practice really starts to begin.
We are looking to overcome the dullness which can appear during meditation as well as starting to develop real mindfulness.
This process of being mindful is also starting to stir up memories and emotions from the past. The book suggests that this can become a very therapeutic stage.
After having a coffee and sitting with my eldest for a short while I went to start the meditation.
On settling I found a few thoughts bubbling around, this was ok by me and I resolved that today I would be focusing on developing the introspective awareness. To me today this meant that I would focus on being aware of watching the breath. After setting this intention I went through body scan for a couple of minutes. Awareness was fairly good but some thinking and planning persisted.
Moving onto the breath section I practiced as intended. I kept a focus on the breath while maintaining a separate awareness of this. This was an interesting session for me. I found that the focus on the breath was good, almost constant perhaps. The awareness of this focus on breath felt as though it was happening in a separate stream. This separate stream was far less stable. I found that thoughts and emotions bubbled up here, and at I higher rate than I had been used to. In this sense, the session felt like quite a regression from some of the more stable sittings I’d had recently. As I was practicing I did my best to not let this regression bother me.
After some time a couple of memories came up. I continued stable breathing as instructed but watched the feeling with my introspective awareness. Generally, after the memory came up there was a residual sensation of the emotion in the pit of my stomach. These tended to dissipate after some time, several breaths were normally the longest they stayed. This feels like an interesting development in the practice. The chance to passively watch long lost or important feelings and emotions will hopefully be a cleansing process.
On leaving the meditation I didn’t have the same relaxed energy as I’ve often had recently, but I felt glad to have done this all the same.