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Meditation

July 30, 2012

Meditation is the experience of being self aware, the state that allows for a skillful and wise human process to emerge. The practice of meditation is a method for creating an awareness where we welcome our experience with compassionate interest at any moment, where we allow things to be as they are while remaining present. In this state we are not trying to change or fix anything, we are simply aware of thoughts, emotions and sensations as they arise but we only identify ourselves with the awareness. This allows a direct experience of life where thoughts, emotions and sensations are able to emerge and pass in their own time. Traditionally this process is sometimes compared to a cooking pot allowing bubbles to rise naturally to the surface of boiling water, or the clear sky letting clouds drift past in their own time. This process allows a new relationship to our life experience which automatically creates room for inspiration. In the Tibetan language one of the words for meditation is ‘gom’, which means familiarity. Meditation is the process of becoming familiar with our experience, observing ourselves in order to become familiar with wise being.

It is from this state of presence and connection that we can take any necessary action with the greatest skill and confidence because the mind is calm and steadfast. This could be any action, including relatively mundane tasks such as making a cup of tea, phoning a friend, planning a trip…….in meditation we know that resources to support our well being are always within ourselves here and now. This releases fear. All kinds of actions can occur at any given moment, but actions born of clarity arise from the state of being centred in ourselves where we know that we are always essentially ok. This is the state of the great spiritual teachers, that even in the face of great challenges they remain self aware and unconditionally confident of their true, unified nature and identity. Then they make choices, arrive at decisions and act in the world.

In the modern world it is common for people to find perspective, space and calm while on holiday only to find that this all disappears immediately on returning home. Meditation allows us to access inner space and calm when the outer world is busy and demanding. The simple act of observing the body and the breath allows us to ‘take a short holiday’ wherever we are.

In the words of Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche, Tibetan Buddhist meditation master and supreme abbot of the Surmang monasteries:

“For the true warrior, there is no warfare. This is the idea of being all-victorious. When you are all-victorious, there is nothing to conquer, no fundamental problem or obstacle to overcome……..In meditation, as you work with your breath, you regard any thoughts that arise as just your thinking process. You don’t hold on to any thought and you don’t have to punish your thoughts or praise them. The thoughts that occur during sitting practice are regarded as natural events, but at the same time, they don’t carry any credentials. The basic definition of meditation is “having a steady mind”…..In other words, in meditation you can experience a sense of existence, or being, that includes your thoughts but is not conditioned by your thoughts or limited to your thinking process.”
{Chogyam Trungpa (1984). Shambala: The Sacred Path of the Warrior. Shambala Pub.}.

So, if you wish to meditate, a very simple approach is to follow the inhale and exhale of your breath and observe.

Spencer Joseph

http://www.bodytherapeutics.co.uk

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