A Contemplative Observatory can be any retreat center who can offer a space for long-term shamatha practitioners to meditate. Nevertheless the central training at a new Contemplative Observatory, inspired by Alan’s vision, would be based on The Vajra Essence, a Terma by Dudjom Lingpa, with its central practices as taught by Alan Wallace.
- Meditative quiescence
- The Four Applications of Mindfulness (of the body, feelings, mind, and mental objects)
- The Four Immeasurables (compassion, loving-kindness, empathetic joy, and equanimity)
- Dream yoga
- Dzogchen, the Great Perfection
These practices present a direct path leading to the realization of our deepest nature and the potentials of consciousness. These meditations are the essential Buddhist practices for refining the attention, cultivating mindfulness, opening the heart, investigating the nature of the waking state and its relation to dreaming, and finally probing the nature of awareness itself.
Each takes you a step further on the path to enlightenment, yet you don’t have to believe in any specific creed to engage in them, and you can swiftly see for yourself how they alleviate the afflictions of the mind and bring you a greater sense of well-being and fulfillment.
Alan mentions in his book Genuine Happiness:
“I have not watered these meditations down for popular consumption; nor have I mixed them with cultural additives from the traditional Asian civilizations in which they have long been preserved. While I admire those cultures, I was born and raised in the West, and it is important to recognize that these practices are as powerful for us in the modern world as they were for Asians centuries ago. Although they originated in India and Tibet, these practices are universal in their application. The issues they address are fundamental to human existence throughout the world and throughout human history, and never have they been more relevant than today.”