Meditation

” While we are so busy,  running around trying to make sense of life,
the life is actually here, waiting 
for us to arrive.” 
~ Joseph Campbell

Open Space City Retreat, 2011

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Meditation is essential to the practice of Yoga. It gives us the ability to meet the life that is within and in front of us with fresh eyes.

Movement (that we often associate with Yoga practice) and  Stillness (that we associate with meditation) are just like  two wings of the bird of Yoga. In order for it to fly, it has to have both wings, otherwise this bird called “Yoga” is crippled.

Meditation (Sanskrit “Dyana”) itself has two main components which are the attributes we cultivate in mind and heart: Mindfulness/Awareness  and Compassion (gentleness).

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Photo by Jason Ruvelson.

MINDFULNESS and AWARENESS

(Sanskrit स्मृति , smrti and Sanskrit विपश्यना, vipaśyanā)

” The breeze at dawn has secrets to tell. Don’t go back to sleep. You must ask for what you really  want. Don’t go back to sleep.  People are walking back and forth across the doorsill  where the two worlds touch. The door is round and wide open. Don’t go back to sleep.”

– Rumi

Mindfulness is a door to peace. Peace is a condition for awareness (clarity, insight), subsequently, awareness practice is uncovering innate wisdom (Sanskrit ज्ञान Jnana).

This poem of Rumi’s actually reflects the basics of meditation instruction, where the practice of mindfulness brings clarity of mind, regardless of  its ups and downs.
It takes a commitment to be still while just sitting, as well as to develop a regular practice. Like Rumi insinuates in this poem, being present (in the practice of meditation) to the fleeting moment, means refusing to “go back to sleep.”

With this practice, one  inevitably becomes more sincere and alive, less rigid and  opinionated, more caring and compassionate for one’s self and one’s environment. In fact, the solid differences between  “Me, Mine and I” and “Other” start to peel away and we notice how interconnected and dependent we are on each other.
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COMPASSION and BODDHICHITA

(Sanskrit, Karuna and Bodhicitta, Sanskrit बोधिचित्त)

“When our self-imposed prison walls come down, all that
remains is the connectedness that we are.”
– E. Bayda
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Compassion is the method of meditation practice. Whatever arises in the mind or body, whether is a thought, emotion, physical injury or worry, it is met by a caring and gentle heart. Bodhicitta  is the mind that strives toward awakening and compassion for the benefit of all beings.
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There are many practices of cultivating compassion, such as the practice of Loving-Kindness (Pali Metta) or the Tibetan practice of Giving and Receiving (Tibetan “Tong-Leng”).
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MEDITATION IS NOT WHAT YOU THINK.”
(a bumper-sticker)
Words of a  practitioner:
“Meditation allows one to enter the space of stillness enabling the innate intelligence to express itself. But, as soon as you think you got it, you missed it.  With the regular practice one comes to a  point where only Kindness makes sense.” ~ Winston Rekert
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WHAT TEACHERS SAY ABOUT THE PRACTICE

There are  many outstanding teachers of meditation who emanate the depth of their own practice, wisdom and compassion. The following are some of them:
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Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche, Tibetan Tradition
Surrendering ones aggression (late 1970’s)
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Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche, Shambhala (Tibetan Tradition)
Series of talks on meditation
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Ajahn Chah,  Thai Forest Monastery, Teravadan Tradition
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Khandro Rinpoche, Tibetan Tradition
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Thich Nhat Hanh, Vietnamese Zen Tradition
– On Mindfulness
– On Anger
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Pema Chodron, Tibetan Tradition
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