There are three common myths or misconceptions about meditation that can block us from realizing the power and benefit of practice. Yet, if we take a moment to expose them, we can easily figure out how to overcome them.
Why do we always recommend meditating with our eyes open? So, asked my stepfather the other day. He learned to meditate in the What Meditation Really Is classes held in New York City. And now, he goes to a different meditation group on Sundays, sometimes attended by 100 or so people, and everyone else meditates with their eyes closed.
I've begun teaching my course on Mindfulness at the Institute of Transpersonal Psychology (now called Sofia University) this week (September 25,2012), and think that some remarks and diagrams I created for my students to help clarify some things about two kinds of concentration and their use in meditation would be of general interest. While “progress” in spiritual development calls for profoundly more than better words, I do note that physical science has made enormous progress in the last few hundred years, but it’s not clear that spiritual knowledge and development have made much, if any, “progress.” One element allowing progress in basic science has been precise definition and usage of key terms, which allows for clear communication of observations and understandings.
Our deepest wish as parents is for our children to be happy. We feel intensely our children’s pain and suffering and would literally do anything to help them. But often we find ourselves at a loss - we don’t know what is troubling them, or how to help, though we keep trying to talk it through, figure it out, fix it up!
Really listening and attending to our children can often be enough to ease their suffering. However, sometimes they do not know what is distressing them, or they may feel powerless to change an old habit such as worry and anxiety, an explosive temper, or fragile self-esteem. Some children also feel that they are in some way ‘bad’, they feel unloved and unlovable.*
Here is the second part of Yongey Mingyur Rinpoche's discussion on the essence of meditation, go here to review the first one.
In this one he gives very practical advice on how to deal with difficult emotions, how you can use anger, low self-esteem, fear etc as support for your meditation.
You can find more about how to work with difficult emotions in Yongey Mingyur Rinpoche's book "The Joy of Living".
Meditation is about getting used to being in the state of non-distraction. Or, and this is even better, mediation is about not being distracted by your distractions!
When you begin the practice of meditation, you may become pretty disheartened to learn that your mind is everywhere else but on your meditation. Even after years of practicing meditation, there are times when instead of meditating, I find myself caught up in a sea of emotions and thoughts, unable to do anything but try desperately to ride the waves and not get swept away.
This is the first of two videos where Tibetan Buddhist meditation master Yongey Mingyur Rinpoche discusses the essence of meditation. I find it especially inspiring how meditation helped him to overcome the panic attacks and anxiety that haunted him during his youth.
My homage to Ajahn Lee's basic meditation to cultivate peace of mind:
1) Set an intention to put aside-if only for a little while-everything that's not happening right here and now, and take seven deep, full breaths, letting go of the events of the day with each long exhalation; so don't cut short those exhalations. Thoughts of "May i find true, lasting peace within" will help relax the mind and d rop the dramas.
When we start to meditate, we usually use our breath as the object of our meditation, then we might make sound or a visual object the focus for our practice.
The sound could be any sound we can hear, or we could make the sound ourself using a mantra which has the added advantage of working with our energy and having a meaning that evokes our deepest nature. In the same way as singing an inspiring song lifts our spirits, so does a mantra.