Some Thoughts on my Meditation Practice

I have decided that for the time being I will not overthink the articles in my blog and will write about my day to day thoughts and challenges.

So these are my thoughts for today as regards my meditation practice.

I had earlier put up a post with a lot of points that I expected would help in my meditation. But remembering all those points actually hindered my practice as it was impossible to keep all those points in mind and meditate. So I had to make a few changes.

As the saying goes – Less is more.

For the past two or three days I have pruned my list that I go through before my meditation sessions. And it has worked. I am able to sit for longer periods and I am enjoying the practice and the challenge more.

So here are my revised points that I revise before sitting:

  1. Be without preferences or judgments as regards the arisings of the mind. The path is the goal. Respond with equanimity and empathy to the arisings of the mind.

That’s it.

The first of the three sentences (being without preferences) is inspired by the following Zen Buddhist story –

When Banzan was walking through a market he overheard a conversation between a butcher and his customer.

“Give me the best piece of meat you have”, said the customer.

“Everything in my shop is the best”, replied the butcher. “You cannot find over here any piece of meat that is not the best.”

At these words Banzan became enlightened.

(Sourced from the book – Zen Flesh Zen Bones).

 See if you can find the connection between Banzan becoming enlightened and the butcher’s words. Take two minutes of your time before reading further and think.

If you thought that Banzan got the insight that all is the manifestation of the divine then you were absolutely right. It doesn’t make any sense for me to judge or have any preferences regarding what I encounter in my meditation sessions as all is Divine (including the excruciating and unpleasant bits).

Responding with equanimity is based on the following principle – The mind (and life itself) is not in my control. It does not make sense for me to respond with craving or aversion to the stuff I encounter during my meditation practice as neither the pleasant or unpleasant stuff is within my control. So why react with craving or aversion. Be equanimous.

Empathy makes sense because the feeling part of the mind is what is in the driver’s seat as far as the vehicle of my life is concerned. The thinking part of me – the intellect – is at best the guide to go where the feeling part of me wants to go. It (the intellect) feels that it is driving the car but is really isn’t.

The only way to get the intellect to have some control over where the car ends up is by empathizing with the emotional or feeling part of me. This is something that I picked up from Mark Manson’s writings that I referred to in my earlier article.

And by simplifying the points necessary to keep in mind while meditating I hope to make more progress. It has worked over the past two or three days.

I’ll end here. Hope you liked the article and please explore this site for more on Spirituality, Self Help and Politics. If you would like to contact me the link is below. Please also comment on the blog if you liked the article (or even if you didn’t). Feedback from my readers keeps me going.

Additional material for my own personal use:

The goal for Stage Two is to shorten the periods of mind-wandering and extend the periods of sustained attention to the meditation object. Willpower can’t prevent the mind from forgetting the breath. Nor can you force yourself to become aware that the mind is wandering.

Instead, just hold the intention to appreciate the “aha” moment that recognizes mind-wandering, while gently but firmly redirecting attention back to the breath. Then, intend to engage with the breath as fully as possible without losing peripheral awareness. In time, the simple actions flowing from these three intentions will become mental habits. Periods of mind-wandering will become shorter, periods of attention to the breath will grow longer, and you’ll have achieved your goal.

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