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Pause and Relax establish the traditional meditative framework of mindfulness and tranquility. In Pause, we meet the moment anew. We are aware of body, emotions, and thoughts without clinging. In Relax, we approach our immediate experience with acceptance, receptivity, and kindness.

The third interpersonal meditation instruction, Open, invites us to extend this accepting mindfulness to the external, to everything around us. Our awareness is wider and more spacious. However, unlike most traditional meditation practices that also encourage a wide-open awareness, Insight Dialogue includes other meditators and co-meditation. This extension to the external and to the other allows mutuality and is the basis for interpersonal meditation.

We can begin to explore Open by becoming aware of the body sitting. We can focus on a bodily sensation, such as where our bodies touch the cushion or chair. We stabilize mindfulness with our attention to that point, and then receive the sensation with kind acceptance. We then expand that awareness to the entire body, saturating it with receptive mindfulness. In Open, however, we do not stop there. We touch mindfully the external, becoming aware of our surroundings and of our co-meditators. Whether we are meditating in dialogue with one person or meditating with a room full of people, we meet each with the same mindfulness and acceptance as we meet our own internal experience.

Being mindful of the internal and external, we are aware of the ever-changing relational moment. We learn to move between internal and external experience without clinging. This pliable mind-state is important to all meditation practice. However, it is especially important to Insight Dialogue and the liberating softening of rigid boundaries between self and other.

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