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Wednesday, 11 March 2009


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many thanks to the sakyong, and to chalip for posting this video.

it's all about remembering, isn't it? i was once taught that the only thing we have to do in meditation is remember what we are doing. sounds so easy... but moment to moment we (or at least i) tend to forget.

for me, it's not just the pop-up blocker malfunctioning (hahaha!), but the mind going off with each pop-up, not remembering to just let each one be without following it.

That was an interesting video - right now meditation which focuses on breathing, much like he described, is all that I'm doing. It was good to hear the way he talked about dealing with distractions. It seemed to me to be the way one is supposed to deal with a misbehaving child, gentle but firm -"dear brain, please discontinue that line of thought; it is inappropriate for my present activity". I really struggle with trying to dismiss thoughts which show up in my head, I swing between just accepting all thoughts as they come and assuming that they'll go away, eventually, and really freaking out and trying to forcefully return to my meditation. I generally rank meditations in which I've gone along with whatever thoughts pop up and simply tried to return to my breathing without any banishment of those thoughts as better meditations, but I like this idea that I can be firm with controlling my mind without creating some sort of mental ruckus.

Sorry, that was a bit of a ramble, but I wanted to throw that thought out in the universe :)

Maggie, that's a good description of what I do sometimes. In an attempt to be firm with my mind, sometimes I create a mental ruckus!

In regards to this video, this is one of the more simplistic meditation tutorials I have ever heard. I really appreciate the approach! Rinpoche really doesn't emphasize any particular concentration practice or even posture. I love how gentle he is. In fact he refers to it as a little mental holiday. Just sit and enjoy what you're doing. And when you think, remind yourself, "not right now". I love it! I am going to try meditating with this attitude next sitting. I'm going to just enjoy sitting.....

This reminds me of a conversation that came up with my teacher a few days ago. We were discussing renunciation. It was a small group of people and everyone had their own idea of renunciation and whether it applies to lay practicioners and how. I had a bit of a mind-opening moment around this. I generally don't like the feel of renunciation. It seems so negative. At times, it really doesn't seem helpful and it feels like something the Buddha warned us against. I can see that clinging and aversion both cause suffering, because they are both versions of wanting things to be other than they are. I connected this to my own behavior in terms of attempting to lose weight. Instead of punishing myself for eating what I shouldn't and renouncing food that I shouldn't eat, maybe what I should be doing is adding beautiful tasty fresh nutritious food. It feels more helpful to "add something good" in this way. It certainly takes an emotional burden away.

In the same way of thinking, with meditation, perhaps I shouldn't be renouncing thought, which is really what I'm doing when I repeatedly try to concentrate on my breath and then chastise myself for being distracted. Maybe instead I should just "add something good" by enjoying being aware and being present with what I'm doing.

Small difference? Big change of perspective.

I like this "add something good" approach - I've been trying it recently in other areas of my life (for example, rather than the goal "lose fat," I'm focusing on "exercise more", and rather than berating myself for watching TV, I'm trying to shift the focus to other activities I could be doing - studying Spanish, working on my garden, training my dog, etc.) I hadn't really considered translating it to meditation, but I think it is a good shift in perspective. I'm going to try to bring that in to my meditation the next time I sit :)

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