Practices for CADH10 Members
1. Overview of the Path & Spiritual Etiquette with A. H. Almaas (Hameed Ali):
2. Sensing, Looking and Listening:
3. Kath meditation and OM Salutation:
4. How to do a monologue and the etiquette of being a witness:
The morning meditation begins with an Om Salutation, which is chanted while bowing, with hands placed palm to palm in prayer position. This is not a bow to any person, but rather an expression that both honors True Nature and offers a gift of whatever you gain from the event to all sentient beings.
The kath meditation is a concentration practice in which a point (kath) located three fingers below the navel and two to three fingers within is sensed. This takes practice and in the beginning it is fine to simply breathe into your belly if this kath point is hard to feel. Your hands are resting in your lap, but it can be helpful to have one hand on your belly to bring more awareness into this area underneath your belly button. With eyes closed, the practice is simply to breathe, settle and abide in that location until further instructions are given.
The afternoon session may begin with a gentle movement practice, followed by a meditation on the Kath, which begins with chanting Hu, a syllable that refers to our True Nature. Visualizations accompanied by music to support the theme of the weekend may at times be given.
Why We Do This Practice
Hu is the sound we use to refer to our True Nature in its most mysterious, primordial condition. When we are chanting the Hu, it is a remembering of where we are, of what we are—an invocation of our own nature. We chant it with the totality of our Being; and it can express our devotion, our reverence, our love, our dedication. The Hu Chant is used to begin a period of silent meditation, most often preceding the second meditation period of a teaching day.
The Hu Chant is done from the perspective that we are individuals but we are not separate, not disconnected. As we chant, each one of us has a voice, but all the voices comprise one voice. The Hu is the unifying factor, the underlying ground that is expressed by the individual. So, although each one of us is chanting it, we remember that it is the one unified Hu, which we can hear in the unified sound.
How to Do the Practice
The Hu Chant is used to begin a period of silent meditation, most often preceding the second meditation period of a teaching day. At the end of that time, a bell is rung to signal the beginning of the silent meditation period.
The Hu Chant is not done in unison. Rather, you are invited to follow your own rhythm, so that a continuous sound of Hu is produced in the space. You can chant at whatever pitch feels natural, changing the pitch at any time as you feel moved.
Because Hu is one of the names of True Nature, you want to let yourself say the name in whatever way it happens for you — with whatever intensity, strength, or softness feels right, letting the sound arise from wherever you are personally.
At the end of each talk, a spoken exercise is given that provides an opportunity to explore and understand the meaning of the talk for oneself. Two forms of these exercises are: the monologue, done in groups of three (triads), and repeating questions, done in groups of two (dyads).
In a Monologue, one person at a time explores their experience of the material presented for a set amount of time, articulating not so much their thoughts about the topic but rather their felt experience, being as present as possible and noticing the effect on their experience of what they are saying, feeling and sensing. The other two people are silent witnesses who are deeply listening to what is being said. This is not a time for the witnesses to smile or nod in agreement or interject some expression of support or encouragement. Their respectful listening is the way to be present and support their colleague.
Feedback/Further Inquiry is sometimes part of the exercise. The point of this is to provide support for the inquirer’s further understanding of his/her experience.
Questions like “I noticed how excited you got when you were talking about such and such—what was that about for you?” Or, “I noticed you were silent for a while right after you mentioned such and such and I was curious what was happening for you?”
This is not a time to analyze the person, to advise them, to console them or to relate your own experience of the topic. Sometimes, it is most appropriate to say, “I notice I don’t have any questions for you yet, but I’m happy to be with you in silence.”
The person receiving feedback can always say, “I don’t understand what you’re pointing to, can you say it in another way?” It may also be appropriate to say: “I don’t see how this is relevant to my experience right now, but thank you.”
In this exercise, a question or series of questions is given and a time for how long to answer the question, often 10 minutes each person. For example, the question might be: “Tell me a way you avoid feeling your joy.” You decide between the two of you who will ask first. The person who asks the questions needs to remember to be as present as possible, to be sitting up, sensing their arms and legs and deeply listening to the person who is going through the process of answering. The asker needs to ask the question each time as if it were the first time, in a way that is not approving nor disapproving, without commentary, just being there as present as they can be. This attitude on the part of the asker supports the person responding to dive deep within and to spontaneously answer with what is arising from their unconscious in the moment. When the responder completes their answer, the asker says, “Thank you” and repeats the question. At the end of the time period, the people in the dyad change roles and the question is repeated for the other person. For example:
Q.: “Tell me a way you avoid feeling your joy.”
A.: “I prefer to think about more serious issues. Joy seems too frivolous.”
Q.: “Thank you. Tell me a way you avoid feeling your joy.
A.: “I think about others who are feeling sad or grieving.”
Q.: “Thank you. Tell me…”
Often there is a second question like: “What’s right about avoiding feeling your joy?” In this type of question, the point is to find out the inner logic behind the behavior or attitude exposed in the first question. It is not “right” in the sense of morally right or wrong, but fitting according to some personal reasoning. For example:
Q.: “What’s right about avoiding feeling your joy?”
A.: “I don’t like to feel giddy—it makes me feel ungrounded.”
Q.: “Thank you. What’s right about avoiding feeling your joy?”
A.: “Others won’t like me if I’m full of joy and they are sad.”
We hope this orientation package is useful. Please do not share this webpage with anyone not in DH10. We are happy to have you join us in this delightful journey of discovery!
For detailed information on the DH10 program or to apply to the group, please explore the menu items on the left side of this page or contact our administrator Gregory at [email protected].