Meditation

153: meditation notes - simplicity of available wisdom

We bring to each moment a set of insights, capabilities, strengths ( weaknesses) - - and even as this accumulated wisdom may be obscured by afflictive emotions, it is entirely sufficient to embrace a wise and compassionate reaction. 

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149: meditation notes - moments of Wonder

Kathryn (otherwise known as Mrs. ZenGlop) is taking a course online with Pema Chodron,  We were talking at dinner last night and one of the things she said that resonated was the gift of wonder.  That as we pay attention and practice, there's a real amazement that this moment is happening.  At all!  I know I get stuck sometimes in pushing to 'understand' the way my mind is working or the way to fit this realization or that understanding into some framework.  But before all of that is this glorious beautiful breath, and a body pumping with Oxygen and air flowing over the whole freaking planet...wow!

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146: meditation notes - the importance of a teacher ( what would Socrates do?)

What I've been thinking about lately is the formulation "What Would <fill in the name of your teacher> do?". It's important to have a teacher in spiritual practice.  The experience, direction, instruction, guidance, support are essential.  But who - or what - is that teacher?   We're accustomed in America to seeing spiritual leadership corrupted by materialism, sex and greed.  What if the teacher here can be anybody....a monk, sure, but maybe also a martial artist, a piano teacher, a leader at work. Anyone - - in this particular point, I'm more interested in being able to create that moment of cognitive distance.

So the question "What Would <fill in the blank> do?" is a cue for each moment and not necessarily asking for a prescriptive list of required responses.  Rather, asking the question "What Would Socrates Do?" (for example) gives me that immediate second opinion about what is actually happening in the moment. Maybe I am reacting with anger, and taking the second to consider Socrates would allow me to realize that this anger is actually more like hurt pride...that perhaps some humility and gratitude in the moment would transform everything.   

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144: meditation notes - the availability of authentic action , immediately

There are no requirements to meet or hurdles that need to be overcome before we can choose to interject compassion into the immediate moment.  I'll be taking a break for the end of year and I hope you are all able to enjoy some time off.  There may be an intermittent podcast, or a livestream from the studio but otherwise I'm going to be dug in and writing.  Cheers, all.

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141: meditation notes - thoughts on Bodhicitta

The Bodhicitta vow is the aspiration to bring compassion and empathy in all action of body, speech and mind.  I like the 'planetary gravity' metaphor.  Some anomaly in the gravitational continuum causes the accretion of atomic material leading eventually to suns and planets.  When we sit on a cushion and consider the Bodhicita vow, it is like a gentle indentation in  space-time which over the course of lifetimes causes the accretion of compassion and empathy.  

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138: meditation notes - a timer or a stopwatch?

It's time for my meditation practice to shift gears.  The last several months have been a focus on a certain set of prayers and chants...I'm feeling like a shift to more open-ended insight practice.  It occurred to me that my entire practicing life, I've started a meditation session with a timer set to some pre-defined amount.  Could be 2 minutes (short, good meditation is excellent);  20 minutes ( a nice strong stable practice) or 40 minutes ( probably the longest I've ever sat in a single sitting).  But what if I turned off the timer and set a stopwatch instead?    As part of the observation, observe only when my session ends....not whether it's lasted a set duration?  It's such a simple and obvious question that I'm eager to see where it leads. 

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134: meditation notes - "hack the under-mutter"

The mind produces an ongoing chatter - what my teacher calls the "undermutter".  Neither good nor bad, meditation practice puts this noise into perspective but also lets us question the content.  That's the hack.  Have a listen, let me know if you have any questions.

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129: meditation notes - what is the good of renunciation?

Renunciation is not denial.  It is the embrace of creativity.  the first step towards experiencing the nature of Mind.  

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126: meditation notes - positive thinking ( why not choose strength, understanding and compassion)

We all live in a landscape ( inner and outer) where negative emotions like anxiety, despair, anger reside right next to deep compassion, strength and understanding.  Positive thinking begins with simple affirmations and extends to transformational visions ( with a passing reference to Albert Camus, of course!)

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123: meditation notes. Physical props, mental aspiration (and a poem by Emily Dickinson)

What to do when the body struggles with the meditation posture?  Give it the support it needs, the props you need.  The body itself is a prop, after all....being manifest in the body is what allows us to practice sitting meditation!  Ends with a reading of a poem by Emily Dickinson ( The Props assist the House...)

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