By B. Alan Wallace

The 4 Immeasurables—the cultivation of loving-kindness, compassion, empathetic pleasure, and equanimity—is a wealthy suite of practices that open the center, counter the distortions in our relations to ourselves, and deepen our relations to others. Alan Wallace offers a special interweaving of teachings at the 4 Immeasurables with guide on meditative quiescence, or shamatha perform, to empower the brain. This booklet comprises either guided meditations and vigorous discussions at the implications of those teachings for our lifestyles.

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You've forgotten all about ease and re­ laxation, forgotten that maybe you should enjoy this practice. It's called quiescence for a reason. The transition from the first to the second stage (or be­ tween any two stages on the way to samatha) happens gently, gradually. It does not happen overnight, or from one day to The Path to Samatha: A n O v e r v ie w 61 another, but rather as a gradient. You find that, more and more frequently, real periods of continuity become the norm. The way to move from the first attentional state to the second is by sustaining the relaxation and applying a subtle degree of effort to maintaining the attention.

Continuity means attending to them like a gar­ dener who has planted a little stand of redwood trees, tend­ ing them from day to day, week to week, month to month, year to year. If we make swift progress in the practice, that's great. But even if we don't, it's not that important. If the con­ tinuity is established, then the life will run its span. The body will get worn out; the awareness will continue and will be­ come embodied once again. That continuity is the most pre­ cious cargo we bring with us, because it will open up oppor­ tunities in the next life, and we can continue from there.

Check out the posture: the shoul­ ders should be as relaxed as a coat on a hanger. Check that your face has not become tight, with the muscles around your eyes or jaws contracted. If you are accustomed to proper medi­ tation, you may find that you have a reliable posture, and it doesn't need much introspection. In earlier phases of medita­ tion, or if you are experimenting with different postures, at­ tention to the body is more important. But the chief task of introspection is to monitor the mind, because the mind tends to change faster than the posture does.

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