Erric Solomon was born in Boston, USA and has been studying and practising Buddhism under the guidance of Sogyal Rinpoche since 1984. Under Rinpoche’s guidance Erric also studied under Tulku Urgyen Rinpoche, Chökyi Nyima Rinpoche and Tsikey Chokling Rinpoche in Nepal, and has received teachings from many of the most accomplished Tibetan teachers of the last 30 years.
Erric worked in Silicon Valley, California as vice president of software engineering in one of the world’s largest software companies, before he moved to France in 2006 to do the Three Year Retreat in Lerab Ling. Since the end of 2009 he has been an Executive Director of Rigpa International, where his management experience and his Dharma knowledge are brought to bear. Erric directs the department of Educational Resources and plays a key role in curriculum development. Under Sogyal Rinpoche’s guidance, he has been directing the devlopment What Meditation Really Is, a new dynamic approach which combines a blog, online access to teachings, courses given in Buddhist centres and an online course in order to offer meditation instruction to as broad an audience as possible. Erric is especially interested in developing Public Programmes and exploring ways of communicating the principals of Buddhism outside of a traditional Buddhist context.
This next post is sent to us by one of our What Meditation Really Is friends down-under. Enjoy!
I have been a meditator for many years now and confess to being quite proud of the fact that I seem to be generally a person of poise and equanimity because of my regular practice.
It is only recently that I took on board the fact that friends and family have pointed out to me how fast I eat any food that is put in front of me – be it a regular meal or a snack or treat – I just wolf it down. Mind you, people have said it for years and generally, I’ve replied that I’ve always been a fast eater and just let it go. That’s the way I thought I was – just quick and kinesthetic and food was needed to replenish my energy. I remember once many years ago, at a Gestalt Therapy marathon weekend, in Canada we were asked to spend time feeding each other fruit and other delicious forms of food slowly and sensuously. I recall that was very hard for me – just wanted to get on with it.
I try my best to do at least two sessions of meditation every day. I start in the morning before my new IPAD 2, email, the news, wife and even my “no I am not addicted” life giving cup of joe begin to stake claim to my day. I usually do another one just before dinner, while there is still enough life left in me that my practice doesn’t become merely an exercise in sleeping while sitting upright.
But what about rest of the day in between? Now we even have studies that say living in the present makes you a happy jack and happy nuns outlive grumpy ones and we aren’t even going to mention the ultimate goal of complete ENLIGHTENMENT! For years, as my session ended, I left my cushion and then my meditation right there next to it. But I started to think that as I go about my day, I should be able to recall the sense of presence, the nowness free of my normal inner tape loop, the state of non-distraction that I discovered through meditation. Even while Andy Fraser watches soccer.
In the beginning I had to be satisfied with simply remembering to remember even though i didn’t actually remember anything. But by continuing to exercise the meditation muscle both on and off the cushion, more and more of the time I found i could have glimpses of the state of non-distraction, pure naked nowness, totally freakin’ aware of the present moment...That’s definitely really amazingly cool. I just remember how it feels, or think “meditation” and most of the time it just comes. At least when I remember to remember.
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About three weeks ago I blogged about how happiness can increase longevity. So in this post we can look at study that shows that people who spend more time living in the moment are happier than people who are lost in thoughts and day dreams.
Many times I have heard my meditation teachers talk about how the mind we discover through meditation is like the sky. All kinds of clouds can cover up the sky, but the sky itself is never harmed by them. In the same way, although all kinds of thoughts and emotions appear in the mind, and cover it up, ultimately the true essence of our mind can never be harmed by them. Furthermore through the practice of meditation, we can begin to see that our mind (or its essential nature) is really free of all the emotions that arise within it and find true and lasting contentment as a result.
There is a fascinating study, it is part of a broader research project dubbed “The Nun Study”, in which the lifespan of grumpy nuns is compared to happy ones.
What is meditation really?
On this site you won’t find a single answer. Instead what you will find is a way to connect with people who meditate.
Welcome to the What Meditation Really Is blog!
The aim of this blog is to celebrate and discuss meditation. And it’s for absolutely anyone with an interest in meditation—you don’t have to follow any particular spiritual tradition to join in.
Our intrepid bloggers are all seasoned meditators, and they will share their own personal experiences of practising or teaching meditation.
They will also take a look at the latest research on the effects and benefits of meditation, and talk about the practical ways in which meditation is now being applied in the world—in hospitals, schools and many other places.
Feel free to comment on the blog posts and chat in more depth on our forum. You can ask questions, share your own meditation tips and experiences, and flag up any interesting information that you’ve found elsewhere on the web.