The TRUE, Secret, Esoteric, “Insiders’ Trick” to the Perfection of MINDFULNESS
I’ve taught meditation for over 15 years, in five different countries, and to 1,000s of others, to various degrees, around the World via the Web. I regularly spend weeks at a time on intensive meditation retreats, usually they’re 10-14 days, but I’ve been on a few lasting one to three months. Intensive meditation retreats, as opposed to Dharma study retreats are usually in complete silence, and I’ll spend, on average, 8-12 hours per day in actual seated meditation, and 24 hours per day, in the practice of Mindfulness. 24 hours per day? Yes, it may seem hard to comprehend without having done so, we actually do have a great deal of control, no, correction, we have the potential to have complete control over every moment of our minds’ foci, including the time we are asleep. I can remember, liker it was yesterday, being on retreat in northern Whales, and I noticed that I started to do something that I shouldn’t, and I IMMEDIATELY turned my focus back towards “Pure Awareness,” which is a Mindfulness meditation that does not use an object to focus on, such as the Breath, but simply maintains single-pointed focus, without any clinging to any object of the mind. What was so interesting about this, is that I was fast asleep. But I knew I was not to indulge in any desire for sensory experience, whether that be chocolate, wine, sex, or any number of unlimited things that the mind will attempt to grasp hold of when it is trying to be tamed.
Anyhow, my point is that I had become a Samurai, a Ninja, or something…Supernatural! My Mind has become a finely tuned instrument that would make any German engineer, or Swiss Watchmaker Green with ENVY! But then would come the inevitable time when I would return home from retreat, and I could slowly feel the “Bubble” start to thin, and slowly burst. “The Bubble” is a term that any proficient meditator is familiar with, it’s exactly as I just described, it’s going from having the ability to control your dreams, and meditating for many, many hours per day, back to the hustle and bustle of the “real world’ and all of it’s detractions, in flagrant flaunting of sexual distraction, the sensory overload of just walking into any supermarket and seeing so, so, SO many CHOICES! (Yes, what we might think as being liberating; the potential have 87 kinds of cereal, is actually HIGHLY disruptive to one;s ability to focus.) That’s why it’s always a good idea to transition back into the “real world”, AKA known as Samsara: the Endless rounds of birth, old age, sickness, death, and rebirth, aging, sickness, death, and rebirth….on-and-on, ad infinitum. If you jump too quickly from the perfect stillness and focus of a profound retreat, back into the busy world, well it’s a little like taking a glass baking pan from the 400 degree over, and putting it under cold water. Yes, the juxtaposition is so jarring that it just CRACKS!
But anyhow, I am here to tell you the esoteric secret, that which only a Bodhisattva can know, but I am going to break the rules. That is, unless you’ve been paying attention, then you could already guess.
Is it being initiated by some famous Lama who’s tight with Richard Gear? No, that doesn’t do much. Well that’s not totally true, everyone knows that :”The Placebo Effect” does actually bear statistical significance, so chatting some sacred words, or sprinkling some holy water can do just that; have a statistically significant effect.
But what you’ve heard me say is that the amount of time spent practicing, and the more conducive the conditions, the far greater impact your practice will have. So yes, I fooled you into reading my Blog. The secret is that there is no secret. The SAME way Charlie Parker learned to throw down some Bee-Bop, the same way you get to Carnegie Hall, or make it to the Olympics is PRACTICE, PRACTICE, PRACTICE.
The number one Hindrance of real progress in Mindfulness is DOUBT. “I’m not in the right posture! My guru isn’t as good as yours! I should be wearing a Komodo instead of this Tibetan yellow hat! Lama Riphoche wasn’t feeling well when he initiated me! I should be doing Vipassana, not Shamata! and on-and-on, ad nausium!
They have doubts, that doubt robs them of any dedication and commitment, and it’s like trying to use a bicycle pump to fill a truck tire that has a big hole in it! It’s not going make any progress if all of your energy, your Viriya is wasted with ever-shifting thoughts.
Meditation was probably discovered by mistake. Hunters would have to sit perfectly still, yet remain fully aware for long period of time, And THAST MAIN TENENT of BUDDHISM IS Conditioned-Coproduction. The law of universe, is just like math. or chemistry. And it’s more like the Scientific Method, than it is about “Ascended Masters” (whatever that really means….) The Buddha Experienced at its deepest, most profound, Experiential level that ‘this being, that becomes. This ceases, that ceases to become.” THAT is the “Aha!” moment under the Bodhi Tree. Not intellectually, Experientially, the difference is, well, EVERYTHING.
Some teachers are better than others, conditions are more conducive than others, some techiques are appropriate for some than for others…yes, yes, yes…. All of these matter. But what hangs most people up the most is that they pick up a saxophone, they play with it for a while, they don’t sound ANYTHING like Charlie Parker, so they get bored, they doubt themselves, and they RATIONALIZE some excuse to move on to something bigger and better.
ow its beyond the scope of this blog, now, to go into the details of how to navigate these pitfalls, but when in count, sit down, relax, sit up straight, and just let yourself breath. Count each breath, 1-10, then start over at 1, and repeat. Do it for 5 minutes today, twice a day, then more to 10 minutes, then 15, then 20…. The MOST likely answer isn’t something OUT THERE, or something inherently different about You. The problem is your Doubt, it’s you minds way of fidgeting its way out of doing something, when it would rather be continually chasing the NEXT, New THING, and when that’s not new, something else,c somewhere else, etc, etc, etc. You’re losing the “battle” because you’re surrendering, and not in the Skillful sense of the word.
Relax; It’s not a race. Just breathe. and WHEN, not if, but WHEN you find yourself somewhere else, in your mind, DO NOT EXACERBATE the problem by trying to figure out WHY, or HOW you got there, simply, gentle, without judgement, or commentary, place your attention back on the breath. THAT is the actual SECRET to meditating and Mindfulness.
Because we aren’t fixed, static entities. I can’t control my dreams now. I KNOW that if I repeat the conditions, I can get there again, but its just not realistic, at this time and place. Accept it, and gently, with compassion, and acceptance, turn and place my attention back on this keyboard. All sorts of seemingly Superhuman abilities ARE ABSOLUTELY POSSIBLE. I have experienced some of them first hand, some many times. But not today. But I do KNOW the recipe for creating them, and if that is my priority, I can reproduce the conditions, and reproduce the outcome. Its ALL relative, in that sense. 70 year old that runs 5 miles per day, or an Olympic decathlete, they might be the same person, or they might be more appropriate goals for some, with what we are willing to do, what conditions are we willing and able to provide. Because unlike athletics, which I love, meditation will be much stronger if you do some everyday, when you’re older, your set-point will be much further than the youngster, who is in the olympics. So this is an investment that pays EXTREMELY WELL on its dividends.
But not if you give up, and sell them at the first sign of a dip in the selling price. Meditation is one of those sticks that you KEEP, and thew more mind you pay it, the Return on Investment you shall reap.
(By the way, Lame Rimpoche is a generic term and title. It means “precious teacher.” If I had a dollar for everyone who asked me if I know who Lame Rimpoche is, well, I’d have a lot more dollars. I only say this because I used it as an example, and don’t want anyone to think I referring to a specific person. I was not. I was referring to the phenomena that people confuse What is the Dharma with what is Tibetan, and What is Japanese. THAT is another tool that our mind LOVES to use to keep us from progressing along the Path to Enlightenment.
So, no matter how much, or how little, or what specific style you’re doing; SOMETHING is BETTER than nothing!
So, with Mindfulness; Strive On!!!
Posted on November 7, 2012, in Austerities, Be Her Now, BLOG, Buddha, Buddhism, Carpe Diem, Chan, Dhamma, Dharma, Eternalism, Ethnocentricity, Freedom, Happiness, Health, Hedonism, How to Meditate, India, Life & Death...., Life of the Buddha, Meditation, Mindfulness, Nature, Nihilism, Quotes of the Buddha, Sadhu, Science, Spirituality, Taoism, The Meaning of Life, TRUTH, Uncategorized, Vegetarianism, Wellbeing, Zen and tagged Arhat, Awareness, Bodhi, Bodhidharma, Bodhisattva, Breath, Breathe, Buddha, Chan, China, consciousness, Dhamma, Dharma, Dharmamitra, Dharmamitra Jeff Stefani, Dhyana, Enlightenment, exalted, focus, Gautama, hinderance, India, Japan, Jeff Stefani, Lama, Meditation, Metta, Mindful, Mindfulness, Nibbana, Ninja, Nirvana, Pali, Retreat, Rimpoche, Samadhi, Samurai, Sangha, Sanskrit, Sati, satipatana, Sen, sensory, Shamata, Single pointed, sit, sitting, smrti, strive, Sudhartha, Tibet, Tiratana, Triple Gems, Triratna, vipassana. Bookmark the permalink. 10 Comments.