Do you sometimes - or perhaps often - feel disconnected from your body? Mentally overactive, an intellectual athlete, internet addict, or couch potato?
Maybe you are like my friend who reads a book while holding her yoga stretches or the reluctant exerciser who devours the paper while walking briskly on his treadmill. It’s possible: you may exercise and still be relatively oblivious to the felt sense of your body.
When the mind is highly active, even meditation can become a stressful game of catching the thoughts or emotions before they catch you. It can be like watching a tennis match, where all your attention is on the ball. So much so that there’s a sense of meditating from the head up.
Recently I've been taking to heart the connections between meditation and compassion. There are times in my meditation practice when I've found these sweet, inspired and clear moments - glimpses actually - where I can actually see how the suffering that I endure in my life really is due to my mind. And, with these glimpses I've begun to emerge from my claustrophobic "me" in realizing that we all suffer due to our mind.
If you’re already on your cushion and working to tame your wild mind through meditation, then please congratulate yourself because you have already accomplished quite a lot.
If not, then you might want to read this…
Meditation whilst sitting upon one’s cushion is all well and good but that’s not what meditation is about…at least not for me. When I practice formally, I’m working on learning how to bring my “meditative mind,” or “meditative awareness” into my life. For me, no aspect of life is better for testing my meditative abilities then the experience of fear.
In January, I was fortunate enough to speak to Diane Grady about meditation. Diane is one of the founding members of a group of business and community leaders in Australia called ‘Practical Wisdom’ and has herself been on the board of a number of large Australian public companies for over 15 years. The Practical Wisdom group began about 12 years ago following a dharma talk given by Sogyal Rinpoche at the Australian School of Management and a question he posed: “Is this relevant to business?” The response was an overwhelming “Yes” and since then the Practical Wisdom group has gathered each year to receive further teachings on meditation and Buddhist wisdom. In addition, the group also now meets for a few hours each month to practise meditation together.
Not long ago I came across this very simple statement from the Buddha in a book by the great Vietnamese teacher Thich Nhat Hanh:
Love is understanding.
I find this to be such a beautiful statement and I think it reveals a lot about how the practice of meditation can change the world and make us more loving. Here are a few reflections…
There’s so much information available to us on how to meditate, when to meditate, even with whom to meditate. With what we have available, you’d think that we’d all be able to master meditation with ease. Nope!
Since first learning to meditate, after years of meditation, I’ve come to realize that there’s something that is definitely opposed to my peace of mind and finding my “meditative mind,” and that is…the soap opera mind!
Combining contemporary psychotherapy with the science and techniques of Indo-Tibetan Buddhism, Dr. Neale provides the conceptual maps, practical skills and emotional support that lead to optimal health and happiness. For more info check him out by clicking here.