The princess and the pea

Princess and pea (from POI01: Pointing Out Instructions (retreat) 00:24:05.08 - 00:26:23.04)

(download into iTunes)
Now how many of you know the story of The Princess and the Pea? Okay. Anybody not familiar with that story? Well, it's a fairy tale, I can't remember all the details but the prince is looking for a princess to marry and he's told by a wise old woman that the only way to find out who a proper princess is, is to put a pea under a hundred mattresses. And so he invites one woman over after another and they sleep on this bed. Eventually one woman says, "I couldn't sleep at all last night. Just black and blue. That was the lumpiest bed I've ever had." So, this is the true princess because she can feel a pea under a hundred mattresses.

Now there are additional elements to that story but the main point here is that when you actually rest then you feel all the stuff that prevents you from resting more deeply. And it just brings you right into connection with it.

This is often not comfortable. You're like the princess, you get black and blue. But mahamudra practice and the direct awareness practice, in general, consists primarily of learning how to rest deeply at first with, and eventually in one's internal material. And this is found also in the Theravadan tradition in the four foundations of mindfulness and particularly in the Full Awareness of Breathing Sutra, in which the breath is used as a way of coming to that deep resting.