Tagged with: meditation

If you are new to meditation practice, you may well think that you have no choice about how you experience suffering. You may have some problem from your past or in your current situation that seems as though it can be understood only as unrelenting pain—an abusive family history, a torturous marriage, economic woes, a hideous wrong done to you, a disabled child whose affliction breaks your heart. But if you give yourself the chance to investigate your suffering more deeply, you will discover that being “with” your pain can lead to wisdom and happiness. The event or circumstances itself does not lose its unpleasantness or unfortunate quality, but by going through it consciously you arrive at a peaceful and luminous state of mind.

If you are new to meditation practice, you may well think that you have no choice about how you experience suffering. You may have some problem from your past or in your current situation that seems as though it can be understood only as unrelenting pain—an abusive family history, a torturous marriage, economic woes, a hideous wrong done to you, a disabled child whose affliction breaks your heart. But if you give yourself the chance to investigate your suffering more deeply, you will discover that being “with” your pain can lead to wisdom and happiness. The event or circumstances itself does not lose its unpleasantness or unfortunate quality, but by going through it consciously you arrive at a peaceful and luminous state of mind.

Our difficulties are not obstacles to the path; they are the path itself. They are opportunities to awaken. Can we learn what it means to welcome an unwanted situation, with its sense of groundlessness, as a wake-up call? Can we look at it as a signal that there is something here to be learned? Can we allow it to penetrate our hearts? By learning to do this, we are taking the first basic step toward learning what it means to be open with whatever life presents us. Even when we don’t like it, we understand that this difficulty is our practice, our path, our life.

Our difficulties are not obstacles to the path; they are the path itself. They are opportunities to awaken. Can we learn what it means to welcome an unwanted situation, with its sense of groundlessness, as a wake-up call? Can we look at it as a signal that there is something here to be learned? Can we allow it to penetrate our hearts? By learning to do this, we are taking the first basic step toward learning what it means to be open with whatever life presents us. Even when we don’t like it, we understand that this difficulty is our practice, our path, our life.

Practicing meditation for long periods makes it possible, at least temporarily, to know what it means to have no relationship to the passing of time and the movement of mind and memory. And not only that, it provides us with access to our own primordial depths, which inevitably gives rise to a profound and abiding sense of happiness. And that is because, slowly but surely, we awaken to that dimension of ourselves that has never been born and has never entered into the stream of time. Repeatedly experiencing such an enormous shift of perspective makes clear the liberating truth that the source of real contentment has nothing to do with satisfying any particular desire. And it reveals to us, over and over again, that who we are always has been perfectly free from who we have been as a personality.

Practicing meditation for long periods makes it possible, at least temporarily, to know what it means to have no relationship to the passing of time and the movement of mind and memory. And not only that, it provides us with access to our own primordial depths, which inevitably gives rise to a profound and abiding sense of happiness. And that is because, slowly but surely, we awaken to that dimension of ourselves that has never been born and has never entered into the stream of time. Repeatedly experiencing such an enormous shift of perspective makes clear the liberating truth that the source of real contentment has nothing to do with satisfying any particular desire. And it reveals to us, over and over again, that who we are always has been perfectly free from who we have been as a personality.

The great Indian teacher Nisargadatta Maharaj once said, “Wisdom tells me I am nothing. Love tells me I am everything. Between the two my life flows.” “I am nothing” does not mean that there is a bleak wasteland within. It does mean that with awareness we open to a clear, unimpeded space, without center or periphery—nothing separate. If we are nothing, there is nothing at all to serve as a barrier to our boundless expression of love. Being nothing in this way, we are also, inevitably, everything. “Everything” does not mean self-aggrandizement, but a decisive recognition of interconnection; we are not separate. Both the clear, open space of “nothing” and the interconnectedness of “everything” awaken us to our true nature. This is the truth we contact when we meditate, a sense of unity beyond suffering. It is always present; we merely need to be able to access it.

The great Indian teacher Nisargadatta Maharaj once said, “Wisdom tells me I am nothing. Love tells me I am everything. Between the two my life flows.” “I am nothing” does not mean that there is a bleak wasteland within. It does mean that with awareness we open to a clear, unimpeded space, without center or periphery—nothing separate. If we are nothing, there is nothing at all to serve as a barrier to our boundless expression of love. Being nothing in this way, we are also, inevitably, everything. “Everything” does not mean self-aggrandizement, but a decisive recognition of interconnection; we are not separate. Both the clear, open space of “nothing” and the interconnectedness of “everything” awaken us to our true nature. This is the truth we contact when we meditate, a sense of unity beyond suffering. It is always present; we merely need to be able to access it.

When I meditate, I am always inspired by this poem by Nyoshul Khenpo:

Rest in natural great peace
This exhausted mind
Beaten helpless by karma and neurotic thought,
Like the relentless fury of the pounding waves
In the infinite ocean of samsara.

Rest in natural great peace.

Above all, be at ease, be as natural and spacious as possible. Slip quietly out of the noose of your habitual anxious self, release all grasping, and relax into your true nature. Think of your ordinary emotional, thought-ridden self as a block of ice or a slab of butter left out in the sun. If you are feeling hard and cold, let this aggression melt away in the sunlight of your meditation. Let peace work on you and enable you to gather your scattered mind into the mindfulness of Calm Abiding, and awaken in you the awareness and insight of Clear Seeing. And you will find all your negativity disarmed, your aggression dissolved, and your confusion evaporating slowly like mist into the vast and stainless sky of your absolute nature.

When I meditate, I am always inspired by this poem by Nyoshul Khenpo:

Rest in natural great peace
This exhausted mind
Beaten helpless by karma and neurotic thought,
Like the relentless fury of the pounding waves
In the infinite ocean of samsara.

Rest in natural great peace.

Above all, be at ease, be as natural and spacious as possible. Slip quietly out of the noose of your habitual anxious self, release all grasping, and relax into your true nature. Think of your ordinary emotional, thought-ridden self as a block of ice or a slab of butter left out in the sun. If you are feeling hard and cold, let this aggression melt away in the sunlight of your meditation. Let peace work on you and enable you to gather your scattered mind into the mindfulness of Calm Abiding, and awaken in you the awareness and insight of Clear Seeing. And you will find all your negativity disarmed, your aggression dissolved, and your confusion evaporating slowly like mist into the vast and stainless sky of your absolute nature.

In meditation we seem to be sitting by ourselves, but we do not sit just for ourselves. By focusing our attention on the breath, the body, thoughts, feelings, and sensations, or any other facet of our experience in meditation, we become more mindful—not mindless—through the transformative power of moment-to-moment alertness and presence of mind. Instead of absentmindedly stumbling through life like sleepwalkers, we can use contemplative practice to achieve extraordinary insight into ourselves and the world in which we live; to inhabit and appreciate more fully the here and now; to free our minds and open our hearts, and to relax into our natural state. The cultivation of mindfulness helps us wake up to things as they are rather than as we would like them to be. And as we wake up to truth, to reality, we become a force for universal awakening, working with what actually is, not delusive fictions.

In meditation we seem to be sitting by ourselves, but we do not sit just for ourselves. By focusing our attention on the breath, the body, thoughts, feelings, and sensations, or any other facet of our experience in meditation, we become more mindful—not mindless—through the transformative power of moment-to-moment alertness and presence of mind. Instead of absentmindedly stumbling through life like sleepwalkers, we can use contemplative practice to achieve extraordinary insight into ourselves and the world in which we live; to inhabit and appreciate more fully the here and now; to free our minds and open our hearts, and to relax into our natural state. The cultivation of mindfulness helps us wake up to things as they are rather than as we would like them to be. And as we wake up to truth, to reality, we become a force for universal awakening, working with what actually is, not delusive fictions.

An easy way to reduce stress and energize your body and mind is to get to bed early and spend the hour before bed winding down with quiet activities like reading, meditation, or a warm bath. Very simple and effective!

An easy way to reduce stress and energize your body and mind is to get to bed early and spend the hour before bed winding down with quiet activities like reading, meditation, or a warm bath. Very simple and effective!

We could say that meditation doesn’t have a reason or doesn’t have a purpose. In this respect it’s unlike almost all other things we do except perhaps making music and dancing. When we make music we don’t do it in order to reach a certain point, such as the end of the composition. If that were the purpose of music then obviously the fastest players would be the best. Also, when we are dancing we are not aiming to arrive at a particular place on the floor as in a journey. When we dance, the journey itself is the point, as when we play music the playing itself is the point. And exactly the same thing is true in meditation. Meditation is the discovery that the point of life is always arrived at in the immediate moment.

We could say that meditation doesn’t have a reason or doesn’t have a purpose. In this respect it’s unlike almost all other things we do except perhaps making music and dancing. When we make music we don’t do it in order to reach a certain point, such as the end of the composition. If that were the purpose of music then obviously the fastest players would be the best. Also, when we are dancing we are not aiming to arrive at a particular place on the floor as in a journey. When we dance, the journey itself is the point, as when we play music the playing itself is the point. And exactly the same thing is true in meditation. Meditation is the discovery that the point of life is always arrived at in the immediate moment.

earthdrop
Appreciating Ourselves and Taking Responsibility for Ourselves

A great deal of chaos in the world occurs because people don’t appreciate themselves. Having never developed sympathy or gentleness toward themselves, they cannot experience harmony or peace within themselves, and therefore, what they project to others is also inharmonious and confused. Instead of appreciating our lives, we often take our existence for granted or we find it depressing and burdensome.

People threaten to commit suicide because they aren’t getting what they think, they deserve out of life. They blackmail others with the threat of suicide, saying that they will kill themselves if certain things don’t change. Certainly we should…

- Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche

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