With Rodney Smith.
How do we apply the heart to practice? There are two prerequisites for the balancing of Insight Meditation. The first is that we have to be able to observe and see so we can understand what the mind is doing. In the beginning the struggles of practice often have to do with steadying the attention sufficiently to be able to see without the interference of thoughts. This takes time and effort. But the second prerequisite is just as important but more easily overlooked, and that is that our attention has to contain a quality of heart within it. I call this combination of observation plus heart, caring attention. To know that all facts are friendly, which is one of the fruits of insight, is to not only focus upon the fact but to truly let it in and allow the fact to affect us. Our heart allows all facts to enter. We will then meet the fact at the sense door with relaxation and ease, and our judgmental opinions will stand aside, and we will let it pass, trusting in the inclusiveness of the heart.
Watch this YouTube video for inspiration on accessing the tenderness of the heart: youtube.com/watch?v=OPSAgs-exfQ
Does your meditation practice need more caring and/or more focused attention? Caring without focused attention is idealism usually pushed by ones own neediness, and focused attention without caring is without humanity, humorless, and dry. Take action from this assessment and apply yourself so that the two come into balance. Be careful not to allow your spiritual journey to move without the caring heart and the focused seeing. Watch how the two feed each other. When you care about something, you become focused and concerned about it, and when you focus on something, it starts affecting you and begins to open your heart. Notice when you are present which one is more active and call the other forth.