Thursday, September 20, 2012

simple meditation

"The word 'meditation' covers many mental experiences, but the goal of Buddhist meditation is to see things as they are; it is a state of awakened attention. And this is a very simple thing. It isn't complicated or difficult or something that takes years to achieve. It is so easy, in fact, that you don't even notice it... 
You are [likely] conceiving of it as something you have to attain -- you have to subdue your defilements, you have to control your emotions, you have to develop virtues in order to attain some kind of ideal state of mind...
The real challenge is to develop attention, awakenedness, in the flow of life. This doesn't remove the option of going on retreat or diminish the value of it in any way. The point is to look at meditation as awakenedness and awareness throughout daily life in whatever conditions. There is in that the sense of allowing things to be in this present moment, allowing whatever way the body is or the emotional and mental states right now to be the way they are. Just be the observer of what is. Right now the mood is 'this', 'I feel this.' Just be aware whether you are confused, indifferent, happy, sad, uncertain or whatever. Be that which allows things to be as they are."

Ajahn Sumedho
Chapter One, Starting From Here
Don't Take Your Life Personally

Our current cyber course for our dana group for experienced sharma students is at:  Contact me so we can connect on Skype and for entry code

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

centered in emptiness

A lay Buddhist is one who fully embodies his or her entire life of work, family, and relationships without spiritually prioritizing any activity.  From this perspective all moments are equally precious, and whether we are practicing formal meditation on retreat or showing up for ordinary moments of our lay life, freedom is never diminished. The unequivocal resolve not to move away from where we are is essential. Once we abandon the belief that there is a more spiritually useful moment than the one we are in, we have embraced our life and infused it with the energy for awakening.  
Rodney Smith, Stepping out of Self-Deception

This does not mean practice, application of skillful means, and developing deep intimacy with the mind are not important. However changing our perspective from one of doing and achieving to one of releasing our centrality in the universe transforms every moment.

At the same time doing and achieving are not outside this realm of awakening. We might ask ourselves as we go about our walk on the planet:  How can I, this person, perform skillfully without participation in ancient human struggles for control and manipulation based in fear and desire? How can this life be lived freshly in every moment? Can there be awakening to the experience of truth unfolding right now? Can I stay with current experience? What intentions are the foundation of this life?

Life can flow out of spontaneity and good will rather than conditioning and defensiveness. Like playing music we hold an image of the whole piece or the primary threads, then just play our part in harmony with others. What arises is more likely to be wholesome, includes shared experience of whatever is, and results in the best possible unfolding. Contentment and satisfaction can be present even in (or perhaps especially in) the most challenging moments.