Now to the practice of self-discipline through our meditation practice.
Our foundation is set by cultivating the qualities recently mentioned.
To begin practicing Precision only two things are necessary.
Sit in a good posture. Be aware of your out-breath.
By using a technique which focuses only on the outbreath, and by keeping our eyes partly open, we are using twenty five percent of our awareness. We don't "shut out" all that going on.
This is not a concentration practice; your touch on the breath is very light.
You feel the breath going out as a coolness as the breath leaves your nostrils.
The breath is very elusive, so unlike a practice where we focus on a candle, this is not a concentration exercise, it is more like being aware of a gentle breeze, but it is our ordinary breath. So, this is why the technique is said to be without a goal.
Coming back to the breath is precision and clarity for your mind, a sharp point for Awareness of your self.When you notice yourself thinking, you say silently, "Thinking." No cracking of whips! Even if you get way off course, you make a small pause and simply label it, "thinking."
Being fully present is like being awake to the ebb and flow and movement and creation of life. A process that included 'no thought' would not be gentle.
Precision practiced alone might become harsh, or too goal oriented. We use Gentleness to learn Acceptance. Use relaxation as a guide for this practice. Gently and patiently work with those tense parts of your body, purposefully relaxing stomach, neck or shoulders.
With gentleness, you will come to recognize when your stomach gets tense or your shoulders get tight.
Precision is balanced by softness. When the body tenses, relax it. If your mind tenses, relax it.
It would be good to remember Rinpoche's words and notice the tone of voice you use when you say "thinking." It is not about catching yourself and saying, "You fool!" It is about seeing what is without judgment.
Focus on the breath going out ripens the precision of our minds. It also brings forth the feeling of heartfulness, warmth, or kindness. We need these for those times when a strong emotion, like anger or fear, is triggered.
Touch the thoughts very lightly and gently. "Easy Does It" could be the program slogan that reminds us to be gentle with ourselves in meditation.