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.
We think we see reality as we go about our day, but do we, really? See that person over there whispering to a friend and looking at you and giggling. Are they talking about you? Are they saying horrible things about you? That’s what it looks like to you, but what if they’re actually looking at the person behind you or they’re planning your surprise birthday party, not talking about what a terrible person you are?
We make assumptions all the time. My mother used to call it ‘jumping to conclusions.’ It means that we perceive what is happening based on what we think, rather than what is. Sometimes it might be the same, but when we get it wrong, we can make a real mess of things. For instance, if we decide to spread bad rumours about the friend who was whispering about us because we’re sure that’s what she was doing to us, that surprise birthday party will probably never happen and we’re likely to lose a friend as well.
In this video, Sogyal Rinpoche explains that we are usually lost in the appearance of mind, our thoughts and emotions, instead of recognizing the essence or nature of mind. Essentially, we are turned in the wrong direction. This is the root of suffering and dissatisfaction. But by turning our attention to the essence of mind itself and learning how to simply be, we can find true contentment.
Treatment Methods in Buddhist Psychotherapy
It is clear that all psychotherapies emphasize introspection aimed at self-understanding and rely on the healing relationship. The Buddhist method in particular, incorporates an insight-oriented dialog and interpersonal role-modeling during the session with a contemplative educational triad of meditation, study, and lifestyle between sessions.
Buddhist psychotherapy, which has been adopted in the last several decades, is a novel approach to the clinical practice of mental health. It combines aspects of conventional psychotherapy with traditional Buddhist psychological theory and practice. Because there are several sub-schools of psychotherapy and Buddhism from which to integrate, there currently is no single formalized clinical approach to its practice. Therefore, Buddhist psychotherapy differs widely in its presentation among diverse practitioners.
Do you ever long for dead silence in your mind? Do you think this is what meditation really is?
Basic meditation is sometimes called “calm abiding”, “peacefully remaining” or “tranquility meditation.”
Sounds good, right? Given the 15,000 to 50,000 thoughts popping about in your brain on any given day, a moment of quiet seems like outright bliss. I bet you’re wondering, “Where can I sign up?”
Many novice meditators believe that meditation means putting an end to thoughts and emotions. Well, at least the bothersome ones. I’ll tell you a little secret. Even experienced meditators may be hoping for the same isle of peace.
Is it devilish of me to burst the bubble?
One of the most common reasons we turn to spiritual practice is to reduce worry, anxiety, the mental agitation that can be life's most consistent challenge. As the Buddha taught in the Sabbasava Sutta and elsewhere, while certain dangers in life are avoidable, most stressful events are inevitable, and our challenge is to learn how to skillfully tolerate each day's fresh "mosquito bite".
Actually, days without difficulties and challenges are often days without growth, for its the roadblocks and setbacks that force us to develop new, successful coping strategies. So a good start to reducing stress is to begin approaching challenges as valuable learning opportunities; once we find a way to adapt to situations without adding unnecessary stress, we have tools that are always at our disposal.
What follows are six useful approaches to facing our challenges without adding stress and suffering into the equation.
I caught up with Dan Goleman recently in New York. Neither of us could think of where to meet, so somehow we ended up at the infamous Olive Garden chain's Time Square Flagship. Well, it is the pinnacle of the Olive Garden experience with views in every direction of the Square. And we discovered they have gluten-free pasta for those of you where that is an issue.
Dan was especially interested in hearing about the whatmeditationreallyis.com meditation program. I posed the following question to him and this was his answer: