Temporal pause; stepping out of habitual thoughts and reactions into experience in the present moment; mindfulness.

A Pause is “a temporary stop.” When we Pause we temporarily stop what we are doing, saying, or thinking and shift our attention to immediate experience. We remember to notice what this moment is like, to ask “What is this? … What’s it like now?”

Pause is intended to interrupt clinging—the body-mind’s tendency to grasp or push away whatever touches the sense doors of sound, touch, smell, taste, and thought. We Pause because interrupting automatic habits is critical for any behavior change and so too to a path intended to free the heart-mind. In order to have the opportunity to do something different, we need to stop the momentum of conditioned tendencies that typically drive our thoughts, feelings, and behaviors. Without awareness and choice, there can be no meaningful change. That is why the first Insight Dialogue guideline is Pause.

As in individual silent practice, the present moment awareness invited by the Pause is most easily found by noticing sensations in the body, for example, attending to the breath, noticing contact at the seat or feet. In interpersonal practice, the present moment can also be found through attending to what one sees and hears (e.g., face and/or voice of one’s meditation partner).

Talk Introducing Pause