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guided meditation: "What is this?"

  • You are sitting in a quiet and secluded place. Your back is straight. You are poised, at ease and attentive. Your eyes are half-closed, gently gazing in front of you.

  • With the first few breaths, connect the question to the outbreath. As you breathe out, ask 'What is this?’

  • As you continue, the questioning becomes a circle. As one question ends, steadily start the next 'What is this?’

  • You are not repeating the question like a mantra, you are developing a sensation of perplexity, asking unconditionally 'What is this?’

  • This is not an intellectual enquiry. You are not trying to solve the question with speculation or logic.

  • Do not keep the question in the head, try to ask it from your belly.

  • With the whole of your being, ask 'What is this?’ 'What is this?’

  • The answer is not found in a thing, or in empty space, or in the Buddha, or in a designation.

  • You are asking 'What is this?’ because you do not know.

  • If you become distracted, come back to the question again and again. Let the question be like a stick to which a goat is tethered. As the stick stops the goat from eating the crops, so the question keeps you centered, away from passing thoughts, feelings and sounds.

  • The question 'What is this?’ is an antidote to distracted thoughts. It is as sharp as a sword. Nothing can remain on the point of its blade.

  • By asking this question deeply you are opening yourself to the whole of your experience, feeling deep wonderment and awe.

  • When the session is finished, move your shoulders, back and legs, and gently get up with a fresh and quiet awareness.