Why all this excitement about yet another book on Dharma? Books we have plenty of but manuals packed with straightforward techniques – not so many. Daniel describes it as “… one of the more practical and technically detailed manuals for high-level insight and concentration practice available, and its maps of spiritual terrain and advice for navigating in unusual territory are world-class. “
I spent the rest of the evening in the arm chair hugging my overworked laptop, slowly going through the first pages of the book. How do I move forward with sitting? What are the ways to enhance concentration? For the first time I was holding exact instructions as to how I could proceed and no longer worried that wanting to actually move forward with the help of the meditation techniques defined me as a doer and an achiever.
I started with Forward and Warning and then swiftly moved to the section on The Tree Characteristics where Daniel outlines how we can better understand the Three Characteristics (impermanence, suffering and no-self) while sitting. I soon stumbled over a number of exercises that might be helpful in both increasing the concentration and better understanding impermanence. They keep the mind busy observing the sensations at a fast rate and therefore do not allow it to get lost in thoughts.
Needless to say I feel more motivated to sit now and whenever I can I do those exercises off the cushion, dismantling sensations and mental formations that arise. Nobody can do the work for me (the author is very clear about that) but at least I know what to do. 🙂