The closer I am to equanimity, the less it matters how I practice. So when I find myself unable to decide how to practice, I try to keep in mind that it doesn’t matter as much as I think.
Remember – it’s already there. What’s actually there? Are you going looking for something? Just look. You don’t need to look for. It’s just the looking. What do you actually see? Feel? Hear?
On the other hand, what does “looking for” or “looking in a certain way” feel like when it isn’t coupled to resisting what is?
I’ve been noticing that those beliefs about months or years-long trajectories to get through stuck pain or “get to” some kind of realization arise out of the part of me that’s resisting the moment (which is present as physical sensation, somewhere in the body). When I find that sensation and hold it in equanimity, the beliefs (even really benevolent and virtuous ones about goals and the future) just turn off. They aren’t necessarily false, but they are irrelevant to any particular moment of experience.
I often have these moments after retreat where I think “it’s all fading away.” And I might say, “no but just stop and feel and look, and it’s right there!” Here’s the thing–the stopping, feeling and looking IS IT. It’s not “the thing we find” when we stop and feel and look. It’s the stopping. It’s the feeling. It’s relaxing fixation and coming back into the moment. When we do that, what we find is always going to be different.