We have been exploring each of the six Insight Dialogue meditation instructions separately. We have examined the nature and role of each instruction as we work to become more mindful in the moment and shift our habitual patterns. We have also seen how each instruction connects to one another and can overlap. Our practice can reflect this malleable nature of the instructions. Below we will consider how we can benefit from approaching the instructions as individual, in groups or as one.
Viewing the six Insight Dialogue meditation instructions as separate elements provides a strong support for practice. This is especially true at the beginning when we need the support of particular instructions to counter our abundance of interpersonal habits. The individual guidelines can also be easier to bring into ordinary daily practice. When our minds are scattered, or our hearts agitated, a specific, clear focus can help us find the meditative moment as described below.
Pause can allow us to slow down and step out of the preoccupations of a frenzied mind while at the same time brightening that mind.
When emotional attachments, stress or challenging truths arise, a reminder to Relax can calm us and bring acceptance and ease to the body-mind.
Some times are better than others for the spaciousness of Open—perhaps our distracted state would only become more diffuse. However, when appropriate, Open calls us to move out of isolated practice, loops, selfish patterns, and contraction.
Trust Emergence can energize us and enable us to be present with a wild wave of agitation. In so doing, we build a fresh and adaptable foundation for clear awareness.
Listen Deeply reminds us to inquire and calls forth receptivity. It can take us beyond contracted patterns of self-concern and allow us to receive afresh the words—and the humanity—of family members, friends, and coworkers.
Speak the Truth asks us to end stasis, , enhances generosity, and generates courage to interact meditatively.
As six individual instructions, the guidelines provide touch points or reminders for integrating practice into our daily living. When we use them, everyday life can become an opportunity for real insight.
A careful practice of these individual guidelines reveals that we can also group the instructions: Pause–Relax–Open may be considered as one guideline in which we stop, accept, and become more spacious; Trust Emergence, wherein we let go and embrace impermanence as another; and Listen Deeply internally and externally to be able to Speak the Truth as the third.
Each approach emphasizes and supports different and important aspects of the practice. Seeing them as six separate guidelines encourages us to focus fully on each and to explore their nuance and depth. Three instructions are easier to remember, however, and reveal the flow between Pause, Relax, and Open, the centrality of letting go in Trust Emergence, and the reciprocity of Listen Deeply–Speak the Truth.
We may also think of them non-linearly and in groups of two with each group revealing other aspects of practice. For example, if we combine the empathy possible with Listen Deeply and the moment-to-moment detachment of Trust Emergence, we can be fully open to another’s story and yet be aware of its impermanent nature.
A third approach is to view all the guidelines as as a single instruction. For example, Relax yields easy mindfulness (Pause) and a wide or even unbounded (Open) awareness. Relax moves easily with changing experience (Trust Emergence), from which speech blossoms and is received (Listen Deeply-Speak the Truth). In order to Speak the Truth, we must awaken (Pause), rest with acceptance of what arises (Relax), listen internally and externally to know the truth of the moment (Listen Deeply), open our awareness to share with others (Open), and surrender to the truth that is emerging in the moment we would speak (Trust Emergence). This single-instruction view reflects the all-at-once nature of meditation and the concurrence of qualities that are the hallmark of the mature heart–mind.
As we practice, we use all of these approaches. Moreover, no matter what the approach, the Insight Dialogue guidelines are designed to generate mindfulness, a profound sense of mutuality, and compassion. They are meant to help us accept our humanity with humility and loving kindness.