After some definitions and clarification of Indriya Nigraha, we started with an instruction from Dr Roles about the material we are given to use in our groups and what we are expected to do with it during the following weeks. Of the three stages mentioned there seemed to be less emphasis among group members on practising Stage 2:
- Stage 1: reading/hearing and discussing ideas in the meeting
- Stage 2: reflection during the week, leading to
- Stage 3 spontaneous contemplation
We went on to discuss the need for stillness to allow Stage 3 to happen. Most of us found that, as the paper suggests, it was usually imagination that got in the way. One person asked: "But the mind has to be doing something all the time doesn't it?". Another spoke about Buddhi and the need for discrimination among the thoughts that arise. The role of attention was mentioned - doing the supermarket shopping with attention as you take each item off the shelf, being aware of all the other shoppers around you, and moving quietly and efficiently with minimum expenditure of energy. For one group member it produced a feeling of happiness and ease, and the shopping got done just as quickly. But another preferred just to enjoy doing the shopping rather than trying to practice attention or anything else.
Some were surprised at the strong warning from H.H. about the damage caused by imagination. It was easier to understand at the physical level where satisfying a desire for the wrong food might cause illness. One person pointed out that impressions coming from the senses are also food, so it is equally important to be careful about what we 'eat' at the subtle level. We were all familiar with the feeling of allowing the energy from our batteries to run away through constantly turning thoughts and feelings.
Some people were using the mantra as H.H. instructed in order to extend moments of natural samadhi. But other techniques were also used. One person used very short quotations that he was particularly fond of. Another liked to 'listen to the sound of universe' but during difficult periods when this doesn't work, uses the mantra technique.