Friday, March 9, 2018

Meditation when you can't "meditate" (1)

It's as easy as...It just is. Just be it. No doing.
First of all, What is meditation?

At the Dharma Meditation Initiative meetup, we distinguish two Buddhist definitions.

The first is "bringing into being" (bhavana), and the second is "absorption" (zen).
The 14th Dalai Lama next to the Buddha
It is important to know the difference because the meditator does the first, whereas the second is experienced by the meditator. It does the doing when we allow it rather than trying to do it.

The former is a set of activities and actions; the latter is like sitting in front of a giant sponge and being pulled in.
  • Here's a riddle: "What gets wetter the more it dries?"*
Attitude: This is dumb. I can't DO it!
Mind, attention, consciousness, awareness will move from ordinary (diffuse, distracted) to concentrated (pulled in to singlepointedness) by an appropriate meditation object.

When gardening, can a gardener make a plant grow? No.

No gardener can, no gardener ever could -- not in the past, not in the future, and certainly not now. So throw out the idea of doing it. But successful gardeners have grown plants, so how did that happen?

Plants grow all by themselves -- under the right conditions. Provide those conditions.
A gardener knows that it is impossible to make a plant grow, but a plant can be coaxed, cultivated, "brought into being." How?

It's very easy: Give it what it needs (the necessary and sufficient conditions), and clear away the hindrances (impediments, obstacles) to its coming into being.

What can I "do"?
We use bowls, crystals, plant oils, pyramid...
A successful gardener establishes suitable conditions rather than doing, making, forcing, or fabricating plants.

Trying to "do" meditation or "make" is happen is called over-efforting. Instead, let go; let it happen; allow it.

This word ABSORPTION is very special. It is central to Buddhism -- an essential practice -- now largely forgotten, hidden by cultural overlays or dismissed by the Insight Meditation (vipassana) Movement.

Insight practice is great if one can already call up and enter coherent/concentrated states of serenity (Buddhism's samma samadhi or "right concentration," defined by the Buddha as the first four absorptions).

In various languages the word being translated as "absorption" is zen (Japanese), jhana (the exclusively-Buddhist language Pali), dhyana (Sanskrit), chan (Chinese), seon (Korean), thien (Vietnamese), bsam gtan (Tibetan).

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We gathered on Women's Day, and this is what we learned: four ways to make our meditation (cultivation) lead to meditation (absorption). How? How?! Here are four easy ways we learned at DMI... CONTINUED IN PART II 

*Answer to the riddle: sponge, towel, napkin...

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