First, do the groundwork. Groundwork is the development of the abilities and motivations needed to practice mind training: stable attention, mindfulness in daily behavior, appreciation that your life is yours and yours alone, determination to step out of pattern-based experience, and a genuine desire to help others do so, too. Don't make a public display of your efforts in mind training. Behave naturally with others. All Buddhist practice, and mind training in particular, is about ending suffering. Anticipation of gain from others' suffering, or even complacency about it, breaches the intention of this practice. Regard all that you see, hear, taste, touch, smell, think, feel, value, or believe, as if you were dreaming it. Carry the sense of all experience being a magical illusion into your daily life. Open to the sense of deficiency, of not being enough, that pushes you to be needlessly competitive. Whatever adversity comes your way, use it as a basis for taking and sending. Take in all the similar misfortunes of others and send out your own sense of presence and equanimity. As you breathe in, imagine all the suffering and negativity of others as thick black smoke coming in through your right nostril and into your heart. As you breathe out, imagine all your own happiness and wellbeing as silvery light coming from your heart and going out through your left nostril to all beings everywhere. Reactive patterns bring about precisely what you try to avoid. When things go wrong in your life, blaming circumstances doesn't help. Look at the role your own patterns play in bringing about the problem. Feedback from others is unreliable. You know when you are clear and present. Rely on the witness of mind itself. Don't pick up what isn't yours. As you go about your day, constantly use such verbal reminders as: Gain is illusion; loss is enlightenment. I take all loss and defeat from others; I give all victory and gain to them. The five forces are: developing momentum through consistent practice, training in all areas of your life, sowing virtuous seeds through acts of goodness and kindness, feeling regret about reactive states of mind or destructive actions, and dedication of personal benefit to the welfare of all beings. Note how you react to the suffering of others or your own happiness and wellbeing. Do taking and sending with your own reactions first. When they release into awareness, then do taking and sending with others. All experience is empty, vivid, and the two together heighten awareness. These three qualities are inseparable. Experience your life this way. Look at what experiences the dream. Don't analyze or speculate about it. Just look and rest in the looking. Presence is the one aim of all practice instructions. Forget about measuring your achievement and rely on the single question: Can I experience what is arising right now? What's important right now is the level of attention you can bring to what you are experiencing. Nothing else really counts. Hope for results takes you out of the present. Do what needs to be done now because it needs to be done now, not for the result it might bring. The strongest reactions generate the biggest imbalances in your being. You can't even see the subtle ones until the strong ones have been dismantled. The three principles are: intention, action, and balance.
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