Sunday, October 14, 2012

Meditation is making me crazy!

Wisdom Quarterly editors interview a new meditator
AngerDespairTranquilityRainbow: struggle for inner peace (David Stuart/
"Though one may conquer a thousand times a thousand adversaries in battle, yet one is indeed the nobler victor for conquering oneself. Self-conquest is far better than the conquest of others.
"Not even a deva, mara, or brahma [angel, demon, or god] can turn into defeat the victory of a person who is self-subdued and ever restrained in conduct" (Dhammapada, Chp. 8, vv 103-105).
Yoga says unite with the breath (spiritus, prana), unite with GOD (godhead, Brahman), unite with wisdom (transcendental knowledge, jnana).

I say meditation is driving me crazy! I feel settled and calm, but when I begin to sit, my mind races and my emotions bubble up until all I want to do is stand up. Can this be normal? I'd rather have peace of mind than a sitting-practice.
And do you?

Well, no. That's where it all falls down. I'd like more peace of mind, but sitting cross-legged doesn't seem to be the way to it.

At first it can seem like quite a strain. Relax. Let your mind wander. But look at the wandering rather than participating or getting "caught up" in it.

Let it wander? I thought the whole point was to bring it back?

It is. But you can't very well bring it back if it hasn't wandered. And when it is brought back -- gently, smiling, with tremendous love for it -- it will settle down and become quite useful. The mind is miraculous. We expend it until, spent, it is of little use to us and often becomes quite harmful.

Sit. Watch the exhales as you utterly let go. Let go each time you exhale. Do this and see what happens.

But I thought I had to watch the entire length of the breath. Isn't that the point?

It is. But begin by watching the breath go out and with it let it take your cares, concerns, and angst. Rather than trying to control the process, let go.

It seems hard.

Friendship immediately makes an end of enemies.
Any idea may seem hard, but in practice it just is -- pardon the expression -- what it is. Which is just practice. When you approach Peaceful Mind, you will become annoyed with anyone interfering with your meditation practice. Why? Because meditation will have started becoming a fountain of very pleasurable interest and effervescent joy. It's like when you thumb through those magazines or flip through the musical selections on your phone, you don't want to be disturbed. They are sources of soothing ease. Imagine a more powerful source.


Meditation. Mindful (present moment) awareness of what is. Whatever is. Wherever and whenever it is -- standing, laying down, walking, running... There is always a space for awareness. "Stand in the place that you are," as Guru REM teaches.

It's like a war in there, in  my head.
Better to overcome yourself in that war than a thousand adversaries in a thousand wars. Befriend yourself and you will put an end to that "enemy" then and there.

"Spiritual" advice replete with thousands of verses is of no value if it has no useful meaning, no practical purpose. A single line is more valuable if hearing it one is pacified.

"Although a thousand lines one composes,
A tome of meaningless lines, one supposes,
For far better would be a single useful one
If by hearing a person is thereby calmed."
(Wisdom Quarterly translation, Dhp. 8:101)

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