Levels of training

In this session Ken talks about levels of training, or the process of maturation in practice.

Levels of training (from ATPII04: A Trackless Path II (retreat) 00:15:54.10 - 00:19:10.80)

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When we start to practice we learn various techniques or methods of practice. Some traditions train you in just one, and then you learn how to apply that in everything. In others, and I’m thinking of my own training in the Tibetan tradition, you’re trained in hundreds, so you always have these arrows in your quiver and you pull them out.

So the first step is to learn the techniques and learn them well enough so that you really know how they work and you develop facility with them. The second level of training is to train in a fewer number of techniques to the point that they just happen when you encounter certain things--that is, they become second nature. The third level of training is to remove everything inside you that prevents that technique from manifesting when it needs to.

Now as you train in these, you develop a great deal of knowledge about yourself, about how the technique works in you, what works and doesn’t work, and there’s a kind of evolution of what this works means. So as you mature in your practice, it becomes increasingly important to be clear about your intention, because intention itself evolves. And I don’t mean you’ll always have a good reason, “I am doing this because...” That’s at the rational level. As one’s experience of practice matures, it can become much more intuitive in a felt sense rather than the conceptual sense. So there’s “Oh, I need to go in this direction.”'