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.
Gaps fascinate me. They have a great and completely underestimated potential. They separate things, they are the space between. One could even say that it would be really difficult to distinguish anything, to say where one thing ends and another starts, without gaps. And the interesting thing about them is that they do not only separate physical objects, but also mental "objects". And that's where they become really relevant for meditation.
Just now, I had a treatment at the dentist. To be exact, it was one long treatment in two steps on two days. It was one of those really unpleasant treatments, opened by a countless number of injections all over the mouth, followed by horrible noises and massive mechanical interaction during which the little snatches of pain arriving at your nerves give you a glimpse of what it would feel like if you wouldn't have a tea cup of anesthetics inside your gums. So in one phrase: the whole program of experiences that make those visits at the dentist a nightmare for 9 out of 10 people.
But this time it was different. Or, it was the same but it felt completely different. Why? Because I had made a decision before.
It was on a bright summer afternoon that I tried it for the first time. I was a teenager looking for states of rapture and mystical revelations, self-assured that those were within my reach.
I still remember it vividly: The family had gone out and I found myself a quiet spot on the living room carpet. I placed my new book in front of me and got ready to pick a method and finally do it.
It had taken me a few years to actually find instruction on how to do it, and just today I had stumbled upon this book in the bookshop. I had bought it, rushed home with it and had read the introduction. Getting more excited by the minute, I had skipped ahead to the second part which included a variety of methods that one can try. Meditation methods, that is.
So now I was ready: I picked the simplest method, got in position and… well…
The alarm clock rang, unleashing the usual cocktail of shock, disbelief and disorientation. I dragged my numb body out of the bed and my still partially submerged mind into the faintest suggestion of consciousness. Sometimes it’s only after I’ve done it that I remember it’s good to practise first thing in the morning.
Like a tranquilized convict tied to a cartoon ball and chain, I shuffled into the bathroom and splashed some water on my face. Suddenly, out of nowhere, a song started playing in my mind, a really stupid song
A few weeks ago I travelled to South Asia to investigate something I know very little about:
My own mind.
After a couple long flights and a dusty taxi ride, I arrived at a small retreat center in Nepal. In no time I discovered that the internet has indeed made its way to every corner of the globe and that I could still get online. So with great excitement I checked e-mail, BBC World News and half a dozen other sites including, of course, the latest college basketball scores. However, after an hour or two, I remembered my mission, closed facebook and skype, shut my computer, and sat down…for quite a while.
I’m really happy to read on this blog that neuroscientists are investigating meditation and finding that it has measurable benefits. If meditation is ever going to become a real force for social evolution, then governments, social agencies, vast multinational corporations, environmentalists, bankers, students and the guy on the cash till at your local corner shop all have to be convinced that it works. Scientific research is a vitally important factor in this process, and I hope that the number of research projects increases exponentially.
But you don’t necessarily need science to discover that meditation works.
Don't worry about the quality of your meditation, says Mingyur Rinpoche.
Da du jetzt mit der grundlegenden Meditationshaltung vertraut bist und auch mit den Methoden, in denen man sich auf den Atem oder ein Objekt konzentriert, kommt nun eine einfache angeleitete Meditation, der du folgen kannst.
Du kannst dir dies so oft anhören wie du möchtest und wenn es dir hilft, kannst du es auch in deiner täglichen Meditationspraxis verwenden.
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Download der Dateien: Rechtsklick auf die grünen Pfeile (bei Mac auch Strg +Klick)
As the Tibetan teacher Mingyur Rinpoche explains, when you meditate, you are giving your mind a job—and gradually, as the mind becomes more and more familiar with its job, a natural and powerful transformation occurs.
Now it’s time to try meditation for yourself.
To get used to the experience of being in the present moment, begin by sitting for five minutes.
Just sit comfortably, your body still, breathing naturally.
Let your thoughts come and go, without trying to hold on to them or follow after them.
Try not to have too much hope or expectation about what you might experience or achieve.
You can start now...
Five minutes a day
Give this a try for a few days, with one five-minute session each day.
Then, as you get more used to meditation, you can gradually increase the length of each session, or sit more than once each day.
If you find it useful, after a session you can note down what you have found easy or challenging, plus any insights you have about your meditation practice.
When people begin to meditate, they often say that their thoughts are running riot, and have become wilder than ever before.
This is a good sign.
Far from meaning that your thoughts have become wilder, it shows that you have become quieter, and you are finally aware of just how noisy your thoughts have always been.
It’s said that at the beginning, thoughts will arrive one on top of another, uninterrupted, like a steep mountain waterfall.
Gradually, as you perfect meditation, thoughts become like the water in a deep, narrow gorge.
Then they become like a great river, slowly winding its way down to the sea.
Finally, the mind becomes like a still and placid ocean, ruffled by only the occasional ripple or wave.
The fifth stage is that of perfect stability, which is described as an oil lamp not blown by the wind, resting bright and clear, unmoved by anything.
So meditation is a gradual process.
If you want to ask any questions, or share your experiences and insights, you can visit our forum at any time
Now move on to step 4: getting to know your mind