…we neither hold the mind very tightly nor let it go completely. If we try to control it, then its energy will rebound back on us. If we let the mind go completely, then it will become very wild and chaotic. So we let the mind go, but at the same time there is some discipline involved. The techinques used in Buddhist tradition are extremely simple. Awareness of bodily movement, breath and one’s physical situation are techinques common to all traditions. The basic techinque is to be present, right here. The goal is also the technique. Precisely being in the moment neither suppressing nor wildly letting go, but being precisely aware of what you are. Breath, like bodily existence, is a neutral process which has no ‘spiritual’ connotations. We simply become mindful of its natural functioning. This is called shamantha practice .
With this practice, we begin to tread the hinayana or narrow path. This is not to say that the hinayana approach is simplistic or narrow minded. Rather, because the mind is so complicated, so exotic, craving all sorts of entertainment constantly, the only way to deal with it is to channel it into a disciplined path without side tracks. The hinayana is a vehicle which does not speed, one which is right on the point, which is right on the point, a vehicle which does not get side tracked. We have no opportunity to run away; we are right here and cannot step out. It is a vehicle without reverse gear. And simplicity of narrowness also brings an open attitude toward life situations, because we realise that there is no escape of any kind and give in to being right on the spot.
Meditation is not purely sitting alone in a particular posture attending to simple processes, but is also an openness to environment in which these processes take place. The environment becomes a reminder to us, continually giving us messages, teachings, insights.
The simplicity of the hinayana is the foundation for appreciating the splendour of the mahayana and the tremendous colour of tantra. So before we relate to heaven, we must relate to earth and work on our basic neuroses, develop transcendental common sense, seeing things as they are, without magnifying what is or dreaming about what we would like to be.