So much of our consumerist society’s ability to sell us things is based on how easy it is to capture our attention. We are almost trained to be easily distracted. Speaking to this point is part one of an interview I did with Dan Goleman from the Wisdom of Awareness retreat in June. Here he describes what meditation really is: Attentional Retraining System.
Recently, I've been writing a lot on using meditation within the field of nursing and healthcare. Really, besides the setting, which is important since as a nurse I am interacting with people who are suffering and really need my attention and compassion, there is no time like the present moment - wherever we find ourselves - to work with our mind.
Minding the bedside mindfully, aware, and compassionately comes from realizing the changing nature of our thoughts and from turning and returning the mind inward, transforming the stormy arisings of thoughts, emotions, and feelings and recognizing them to be impermanent phenomena like passing clouds in the sky.
Sogyal Rinpoche says that meditation is really a process of non-judgemental awareness.
“If it weren’t for my mind, my meditation would be excellent.” – Pema Chodron
Does your mind get all unruly when you try to meditate?
Beginning meditators often feel disheartened when they find their mind besieged by more thoughts and emotions than ever. They might even give up, thinking that meditation will never work because their mind is just too unruly.
Even those who find meditation easy in the beginning, may soon encounter a time when their mind suddenly feels out of control. "Advanced" meditators also hit turbulence from time-to-time.
Here's the secret: If your mind is a bit wild, you are not alone! Agitation is one of the two main obstacles in meditation; the other is dullness. The great meditators of the past encountered precisely the same problems when they tried to meditate. Lucky for us, they found solutions.
Can we be wide awake and acutely aware of everything that occurs within and around us while being free from judging and comparing?
When was the last time you gave your mind a good hug? My mind loves being hugged and I love hugging my mind! Unfortunately I often forget to do it. Too many distractions!
The good news is that it is actually very easy and doesn’t take a lot of time. Here is how one of my teachers Tsoknyi Rinpocheexplains how to find and hug your mind. Warning: you might fall in love with your mind and get addicted to hugging it! ... but I think, if that were to happen, that would not be such a bad thing!
If you like intrigue, adventure, and an enticing spiritual quest, chances are you will be captivated by In the Shadow of the Buddha, Secret Journeys, Sacred Histories, and Spiritual Discovery in Tibet by Matteo Pistono.
For more than a decade, Pistono skillfully eluded Chinese security forces while gathering heart-wrenching accounts of torture and atrocities regularly and repeatedly committed by the Chinese government in Tibet. However, Pistono didn’t set out to be an espionage agent, nor did he train as the protégé of James Bond.
He journeyed to Tibet in 1999 on a pilgrimage following in the footsteps of an unconventional nineteenth-century Tibetan mystic named Tertön Sogyal. Pistono's spiritual odyssey involved numerous trips to Tibet and, in total, it stretched over a 10-year period of time.
Even before his travels to Tibet, Pistono was actively pursuing the practice of meditation in order to bridge the great divide he felt between his frenzied political work and the serenity he found on the meditation cushion. He wanted an effective means for addressing the turbulent emotions that engulfed him as he sparred with his political adversaries.
The New York Times ran an article on March 18th on Transcendental Meditation and celebrities which you can read here, providing you haven’t exceeded the Times new policy of demanding payment if you go over 20 articles in a month. Now, aside from the really cool photo and quotes from one of greatest all-time movie directors, sometimes quoted on WMRI, David Lynch, the article celebrated the latest celebrity to evolve into meditation practice, extolled some medical benefits of meditation and how the recession caused the lowering of the cost of a TM seminar and that in turn dramatically increased the number of people who practice TM. Sorry Jeremy, the celeb wasn’t Lindsay Lohan but we might be getting close.
But what caught my attention was the seeming implication that meditation was good for having million dollar thoughts, making successful hedge fund decisions, and generally being intelligent and creative while experiencing lots of bliss.