“Meditation leads the practitioner along a well-defined path from confused mind to a mind that is clear and strong ”
~~~ Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche
I decided to use the same quote and photo for this blog post as the subject material is continuing from the previous post. You may recall that we talked about setting up a basic routine of regular, daily meditation. We talked about placing our focus on the breath. We talked about how, when the thoughts inevitably come popping onto your mind, to just let them go and bring your focus back to your breath. As we also mentioned last time, a meditation practice is basic to Buddhist Belief. It was the intention of the writing last time to help you to either get started with a regular meditation practice routine, or to continue with your existing practice. So, this time, let’s continue with these thoughts and see where it leads us.
Hopefully, you have now learned what it feels like to keep your mind on your breath as you meditate. When the discursive thoughts and other distractions take your focus off the breath, we now know better how to bring ourselves back to the breath. This is a sort of continual placement – one where we find we are becoming better able to maintain our mindfulness and awareness.
Of course, one of the reasons why this is easier to do is because we have a better understanding of the purpose behind why we are doing this practice. We have found this is the perfect way to bring us a few moments of peaceful abiding. We are beginning to see the futility of outside concerns, fantasies, thoughts and emotions. We are finding it’s alright to give those things up for the time we are meditating. The world isn’t going to end because we didn’t give these distractions our attention for a few moments. We can see the benefits. This is beginning to look like a good thing to be doing every day.
Soon this ability to be at rest during our meditations will become more normal. You’ll begin to find how your time to keep the focus on your breath without disruptive thoughts will increase. Your practice will become more and more refined as you continue. Our mindfulness is becoming more mature and stable. We’re able to stay in the present more easily. When our mind does depart, as it will, it’s usually to chase after some little pleasure or unfinished task. As you continue with your practice you will see how you can return to the breath with greater ease. When we were in the early stages of our learning and training of our minds, it seemed like being able to keep our focus in the present was a real chore. But now, as your practice begins to mature, we find our mindfulness is much more potent.
Since we are all human beings, there will be days when our practice was everything we hoped it would be and other days where it wasn’t. The good thing is that the longer you keep up with your daily practice routine the fewer dissatisfying meditations you will experience. The key factors are being gentle with yourself, being consistent with your practice and maintaining a good attitude.
Soon, as you continue with your practice you will enter a stage where you will experience very little distraction. You will be able to keep your focus solidly on your breath. You will be in a place where your mind will become more stable than you ever imagined.
More on this next time.
Metta ….May I be well and happy. My I live in safety. May I be healthy and strong. May I live with ease. May all beings be well and happy. May all beings live in safety. May all beings be healthy and strong. May all beings live with ease.
Namaste — Be in Peace.
Just click the links that are sort of Grey in color to take you to where you can learn more about each book and how you can purchase a copy for your own library.
Stephanie Kaza — Hooked!: Buddhist Writings on Greed, Desire, and the Urge to Consume
Stephanie Kaza, an amazing writer and Buddhist teacher I knew from my 36 years living in Vermont, gathers key Buddhist thinkers to reflect upon aspects of consumerism, greed and economics. Certainly, many other authors have examined consumerism from the lens of their religious traditions, but this book’s Buddhist perspective is unusual, and its pairing of consumerist critiques with core Buddhist concepts is generally fruitful. Check this one out! Hooked!
Stephanie Kaza — Mindfully Green: A Personal and Spiritual Guide to Whole Earth Thinking
Another one from my Vermont friend — Stephanie Kaza, a biologist and professor of Environmental Studies at University of Vermont, combines Zen Buddhist practices and teachings with her 40 years as an environmentalist for this guide to enlightened environmentalism, proposing a belief in the interdependence of people and nature as the genuine way to “go green”: “When we come to see ourselves as part of the green web of life… we are naturally drawn to respond with compassion.” A good read for Buddhists or anyone from any religion. Mindfully Green
Anam Thubten — No Self – No Problem
No Self – No Problem
shows how to realize the ultimate meaning of life in each moment by dissolving all notions of ego-identity. It asks that spiritual seekers wake up to their true nature, which is already enlightened. Based on Buddhist wisdom traditions, this easy-to-read book discusses in simple, but profound and inspiring language, how we can live a life full of love, satisfaction, and happiness. No Self – No Problem
Sharon Salzberg — The Kindness Handbook
“It takes boldness, even audacity, to step out of our habitual patterns and experiment with a quality like kindness–to work with it and see just how it might shift and open up our lives. This book is an invitation to do just that. — From The Kindness Handbook
Eckhart Tolle’s amazing best seller, A New Earth
Dr. Jill Bolte Taylor’s wonderful book, My Stroke of Insight: Nirvana is just a breath away!
And this one by Sharon Salzberg and is entitled: A Heart as Wide as the World: Living with Mindfulness, Wisdom and Compassion“.
This is a new one for you by Pema Chodron entitled: When Things Fall Apart: Heart Advice for Difficult Times
Always remember this wonderful quote from Buddha ….
“You yourself, as much as anybody in the entire universe, deserve your love and affection.”
Shanti everyone, … (A sanscrit word meaning, “Let there be Peace. Peace, beautiful Peace. Peace within, Peace without. Peace in this world. Peace for all beings.”)
“Peace comes from within. Do not seek it without.”
Have a peaceful day!! —
P.S. If you’d like to read my memoir/novel, you can access it here: