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These lectures were transcribed by T Vd Broek. Heartfelt gratitude is offered for all the hours of work spent on this Dharma activity. These talks are offered free of charge. They have been slightly edited.

Jhampa Duncan March 10, 91
Tonight I want to focus more on meditation. Not so much as the emphasis to develop ones own realization which is the most important thing. The teachings one receives are only to find better ways to relate to one's own experiences. So as most of you have had a lot of teachings, there is always room to turn the light of awareness to your own mind and investigate it. Whether you are at a beginning stage or well into your practice, it is always important to have that mind that delves into your own personal reality and tries to gain realizations based on your experiences of the world around you.
That being important, the meditation session for today, I want to put emphasis on rather than looking at trying to learn new things, it is more important to try to realize your basic self awareness, trying to develop a broader basis of self awareness. Within that the emphasis should be that you try to develop positive things and go beyond that which limits you. Normally that which limits you is your own preconceived conceptions, your own insecurity, and fears. Phrased another way, we all have complexes. I do not mean that we are all neurotic but definitely we have a definite certain psychic framework within from which we work. It is something we have built up around us through experiences in our youth, through our teenage years and into the adult years. We do have these particular strictures. Some are beneficial and positive, but others are very limited. This is what is meant by preconceived conceptions. This limits your ability to express yourself to your full potential.
To be able to understand yourself better, to be able to unwind the knot of some limitation, whether it be some intellectually held idea or something which is an emotional stumbling block, whatever, the important feature is that you come to recognize or realize that as part of yourself and come to see it as to how it functions. How it affects you. When you are a conscious entity, you start to be able to understand how you are affected by these previously held positions and you try to go beyond it. If you can do it once, it becomes much easier.
The important thing is to realize that you have those. To try to become more conscious of where have a point of limitation. And that limitation is not something which is inherent, like always with you intensively with you for ever and ever. LIfe is not like that. You can grow and change and become a different person. But it may require that you start to realize how you defended your position or how you relied on a particular style of thinking to maintain or bring yourself to this particular point of existence.
What is being said that self awareness which is of a tranquil nature, which has the ability to be settled and deep is very important. One analogy they say is that you should develop a calm mind, a calm abiding mind. That would be like water in a pool. Allowing it to settle so it is not murky with the clouds of delusions. So you attain that state of clarity, just allowing yourself to settle, be aware of the breathing and allowing your mind to become more tranquil which is equivalent to allowing pool of murky water to settle. When that settling effect is attained, they say the small fish of your awareness should swim through the ocean or experience of your mind and realize different aspects about yourself.
So the focus for this evening is to allow yourself to become settled enough that your mind becomes more open and relaxed, more motivated by various delusions and such. And within that allowing the small fish of your awareness to investigate the nature of yourself. If you allow yourself to become quite relaxed, spontaneously certain thought patterns will arise. Then you can start to realize their basis, where they come from. Also, if you do develop that tranquillity as a more conscious every day experience, when you have a particular crises or confrontation with a particular situation, that you will find yourself more capable of undoing stumbling blocks that you previously clung to. For example not being able to look someone in the face when there is a particular problem or you are having a lot of emotion come up, learning how to defuse it so it does not completely consume you, that you allow yourself to move through it and beyond. To have a better way of relating.
That potential or possibility arises from being able to be calm and have a very detached sense of awareness that does not cling to a particular thought pattern that comes through you. To emotional experiences that come through you. It allows you to have freedom. So when you start having more conscious awareness, freedom in your experiences, then you will have more capacity to understand yourself. In that way you can cultivate a conscious experience which gives you a greater capacity to handle things. Or it gives you more options when any situation arises.
The basic awareness should be first to allow yourself to be aware of your breathing. Breathing is the most tranquil thing that you can do with yourself as a meditative practice. The breathing as it comes in and out of the nostrils. As you allow yourself that, you will find that the mind does settle. It becomes more relaxed. It is part of what happens when you do that. As you become more settled, allow your awareness to see if you can view the various thought patterns that arise. When they arise, being able to understand then better. If you find it difficult, try to relax more and you will get that. At some point you will find where you can see how a particular attitude you have, why does it come again and again. In that way, when you start to understand it better, you will be able to untie it. You will not be tied to it emotional position or intellectual preconceived condition that arises.
To develop tranquil awareness is arrived at by being aware of the breath. When it is functioning stronger and deeper for you, try to develop an awareness which is aware of the thought patterns that arise and as you gain capacity with that, you should be able to be able to understand and handle yourself a little better with these different imprints which arise through you.

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