Sometimes it seems so difficult to meditate. We might try to sit, but our minds are all over the place; or perhaps we have too much pressure and stress in our life and can't seem to find the mental space for meditation. What can we do?
In this video, Sogyal Rinpoche suggests an alternative to the habitual self-identification with our thoughts and emotions. Normally, it is as if the thoughts about who we are or what we are experiencing are in fact who we are.
Adam Engle argues that most of the biggest problems in the world and for individuals are made by human beings. But recent developments in contemplative science are paving the way for a transformation in the way we view ourselves and our relationship to the world that could be a powerful force for positive global change.
Adam Engle and Erric Solomon discuss whether the traditional goal of profound spiritual transformation, popularly referred to as enlightenment, has any role to play in the new emotional/mental fitness industry.
A group of us joined Tsoknyi Rinpoche on a trip to Muktinath in the Mustang district of Nepal. At nearly 4,000 meters (or 13,000 feet), the views of the valley below and 22,000 foot mountain peaks was spectacular. But perhaps at least as impressive was that it is a sacred place of pilgrimage, where both Hindu and Buddhist meditators attained authentic accomplishment in meditation practice for over a thousand years.
I never have nothing to do. There is always something awaiting my attention. I never get writers block, there is always something to write. Inspiration is never far away.
I find myself in a top year ten Maths class without internet connection and without my computer. I brought my iPad with me, thinking I would answer some emails if the kids didn't need my attention. I left my laptop in the staffroom, but I can't connect to the Internet. Everything on my to do list requires the Internet. They're good kids. Great kids actually, they don't need my attention.
Clearly it's time to write something.
It is easy to spiral into depression or to find our lives suddenly stressful and racing along at a clipping pace. It easy to stop it too, but we think it's difficult and so we make it so. Really, it's not. We just have to have a daily mediation practice.
But even if we know that a daily mediation practice will help us, we see it as just another thing we have to try to fit into our day, and our ego battles us all the way, always finding some reason why we can't to it today. Then we may feel guilty, which adds even more stress to the situation. And on it goes. It's easy for not mediating to become a habit. Even if we're just taking a break for a while, the break can become our routine. Making ourselves happy, as in truly deeply happy - the kind that doesn't rely on anything external - does take discipline. There's no way around it.
So how do we make the leap? How do we fit mediation into our day?
I’m a geek. I love technology. I feel it empowers me to get what I need, or mainly what I don’t need but want, almost instantly. I want a movie, boom, it’s there, a song, click, I can start listening to it in less than a second. If I can’t remember something, I google it. You get the idea.
So what does this have to do with meditation? So far, nothing it seems. Gizmos have become a major source of distraction, and in most case they play a big part, at least for me, in taking us away from the meditation cushion. It’s so easy to grab you iPad and spend hours on Facebook and Twitter, to start watching a movie on Netflix,and so on... We want to be entertained, distracted from our own mind because it’s much easier than spending 10 minutes on a cushion trying not to grasp at our thoughts and emotions.
The passage to radical change in life can be stumbled upon via many routes, but they all have a common theme: it presents that which doesn’t fit into our standard modes of apprehension and understanding. Perhaps its a sudden realization of how vulnerable and subject to change are all our plans and expectations, thrust on us by a sudden, unexpected separation, career setback, a shocking loss. Or a recognition that we’ve become addicted to unsuitable habits and behaviors. Or it may be the dismay of recognizing how inadequate are the stories we’ve been reciting about our “self;” how they fail to capture our character, capabilities or weaknesses.
There are three common myths or misconceptions about meditation that can block us from realizing the power and benefit of practice. Yet, if we take a moment to expose them, we can easily figure out how to overcome them.