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Minding The Gap In Meditation

Meditation is mostly a mental journey that looks at your mental preparedness as an individual. In this journey, the process seeks to build your resilience, all while teaching you how to counter your challenges with an open mind. In order to counter problems as they appear in your life, it is vital to find an appropriate balance, and the best way to do this is through meditation. here’s a space, a gap between this clingy thought, that fixation, and the arising of the next episode of being distracted, getting caught up. With time and practice, we realize that the space, the gaps, are much bigger than we ever imagined. At first, we experience them as short breaks between thoughts. But as we pay attention, the gaps become bigger and bigger until we see that the entire background of our mind is spacious—it’s a big gap! And all the thoughts that come, however many there may be, cannot obscure the gap.

It’s like when you watch a scary movie at the cinema—you lose track of the screen and you forget that there’s a projector, that you’re in a theatre, and that there are other people around. You get tunnel vision about what’s happening. And the same thing goes on in our lives. We get tunnel vision that restricts what we see. By training in mindfulness and awareness, we learn to pull back and recognize that we are in a theatre: our experience is just play-acting, it’s just a thought, a moment. This makes us aware of the spacious mind: everything is happening in a big space. But in the beginning, we aren’t aware of that.

We see how the mind is producing thoughts, and realize that awareness of thoughts doesn’t have to take us away from being present. This is where the meditation becomes more about awareness, where mindfulness becomes awareness. Mindfulness and awareness are not separate: they work together. Each time we’re aware of something—a thought, an object—we become more aware of the space around it. Think about it! Everything happens in space!

Before we started practicing, our ordinary way of functioning was to focus intently on one thing, then another, and so on. There was virtually no sense of the space around us or the relationships between things. But now, as we practice being mindful and letting go, we’re becoming much more aware of the background. And naturally, whatever comes in the foreground is less problematic for us. We don’t have to get rid of thoughts because we see that they just come and go, and space is always there. This is how the gap functions in mindfulness, how it becomes an awareness of the great spaciousness of everything—of the mind and the world outside.

I believe that after you’ve started on this journey and have reached the point where you recognize the spacious quality of your mind behind all the thoughts, there will be a great sense of relief! But first, there might be an initial twinge of fear because getting caught up in thoughts is our default mode—it’s what we presume we’re comfortable with. We’re used to this monkey mind jumping around, flitting here, flitting there, creating an incessant internal dialogue, and obsessing about things.

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Rinzai 77

As I see it, there is not a thing to be disliked. If you love the sacred, the sacred becomes a mere word and a snare. There are some students who claim that they saw Manjushri on Mount Godai. What nonsense this is! They are deceiving themselves. There is no Manjushri on Mount Godai. Do you want to know Manjushri? He is here right before your eyes functioning ceaselessly without change, everywhere clearly perceptible and beyond doubt. This is the living Manjushri.

Commentary:

‘There is not a thing to be disliked. If you love the sacred, the sacred becomes a mere word and a snare’ means that both the disliked and the sacred are just words, imaginary labels which come from discrimination. If we are attached to them, they become snares which bind and restrict us. ‘There are some students who claim that they saw Manjushri on Mount Godai. What nonsense this is! They are deceiving themselves’ implies that such people are still deluded by the illusion of Manjushri Bodhisattva, believing that Manjushri is different and separate from the Buddha and that they can see the Buddha only in temples, and Manjushri only on Mount Godai. You should know that there is nothing else but the Buddha and that all Bodhisattvas, including Manjushri, symbolise the functions of the Buddha. Even you are the Buddha as well, and your actions are Bodhisattvas. In fact, we cannot do other than always see and hear the Buddha and cannot escape from Him even for a moment. The problem is that we cannot recognise Him now.

Student: “What is Manjushri?”

Master: “You are showing him to me, and I am showing him to you now.”

Student: “I don’t understand. Show him to me again.”

Master: “He is on Mount Godai.”

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Download Free Meditation Music For Relaxation And Dreaming


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Free Meditation Music Downloads From Meditation Life Skills When meditating in any type of environment, it can be helpful for many people that cannot block out the outside world to have music to meditate to. Free meditation music makes it much easier to clear the mind for many people, as it allows you to breathe […]

This blog post is originally from Download Free Meditation Music For Relaxation And Dreaming and written by Don Weyant/Meditation Life Skills

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Q. Is everything really perfect, or is it that one no longer resists the imperfection of existence thereby making it perfect?

A. Everything is perfect by itself unless you make it imperfect with your imaginary standard. Imperfection comes into being when you see things with an imaginary standard created by your greed, or desire. The imaginary standard cannot help but be imperfect since it varies depending on the perspectives of beholders.

A tree in the mountain, for example, is perfect as a tree. However, when you look for a tree for landscaping your new house, it can be problematic. It is not easy to find a perfect tree for your garden in terms of its shape, size, the type of tree, the cost for transporting it to your house, etcetera because you have your own imaginary standard of a perfect tree.

To conclude, we make imperfection out of perfection through our discrimination. Dissatisfied with the imperfection, we struggle to turn it into imaginary new perfection, which is compared to trying to grasp one’s shadow. The frustrated emotions we feel when we fail to grasp the shadows are referred to as suffering in Buddhism.

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Jinfeng’s “The Way of Going Beyond”

Jinfeng was once greeted by a monastic. Jinfeng grabbed the monastic and said, “The way of going beyond is not easy to attain.”

The monastic gestured to listen. Jinfeng then slapped him.

The monastic said, “Why did you slap me?”

Jinfeng said, “I want to have this koan practised.”

Student: “Why did Jinfeng say that his slapping was a koan to be practised?”

Master: “Because you have not gone beyond.”

Commentary:

The way of going beyond is not to trip over a shadow on level ground.

©Boo Ahm

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Rinzai 76

Why is this so? Because you have come to understand that the four elements are like a dream, or a phantom. Followers of the Way, he who is now listening to the Dharma, he is not the four elements; he is the one who can use the four elements. If you can see it thus, then you are free in your going and staying.

Commentary:

‘Why is this so?’ means ‘How is it possible for you to walk on water as if it were land and on land as if it were water?’ ‘Because you have come to understand that the four elements are like a dream, or a phantom’ means that it is possible because we can realise that the four elements; earth, water, fire and wind which compose our physical body are empty. ‘He who is now listening to the Dharma, he is not the four elements; he is the one who can use the four elements’ implies that the essence of your being is not your physical body but the one who controls it. What is making your body read this article at this moment? ‘If you can see it thus, then you are free in your going and staying’ means that if you can see clearly what is controlling your body, you can be free to see everything in both ways, which is also known as transcending birth and death.

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Understanding Mindfulness: Why Mindfulness Is An Inspiring Superpower


MeditationLifeSkills.com

Understanding mindfulness meditation is a form of meditation in which one learns to be mindful, both about the thoughts that occur in one’s head due to the outside forces that exert themselves upon the mind, as well as mindful of the actions that one makes to affect the surrounding environment. This type of meditation was […]

This blog post is originally from Understanding Mindfulness: Why Mindfulness Is An Inspiring Superpower and written by Don Weyant/Meditation Life Skills

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Q. If there is nothing to grasp why do we suffer much less by the practice of letting go?

A. The key problem is that, in fact, we still strive to grasp what cannot be grasped even though there is nothing to grasp. Our suffering is from the failure to grasp it, or from losing what we believe we have succeeded in grasping.

The reason why we do not cease struggling in vain for what cannot be grasped is that we are not aware that there is nothing to grasp, that is, all we try to grasp is empty. The purpose of Buddhism is to help people to realise this fact.

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What is the meaning of Bodhidharma’s sitting for nine years?

A monk asked Master Ja-myung, “What is the meaning of Bodhidharma’s sitting facing the wall for nine years?”

Ja-myung answered, “There was no reward despite many years of effort.”

The monk asked the same question of Master Yang-ki, who answered, “He didn’t know Chinese because he was an Indian. The monk asked the same question of Master Hoe-dang, who responded, “He had no blanket to cover himself in spite of cold weather.”

Student: “Each of three masters made a different answer to the same question. Which is a right answer?”

Master: “All their answers are wrong.”

Student: “What is the right answer?”

Master: “It was not said.”

Commentary:

Calamity comes in taking what was not said as what was said.

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How To Come Out Of The Comfort Zone Gently?

I am sure all are heard about leaving the comfort zones. It is essential to come out of the comfort zones to achieve great things in life. Many achievers recommend getting out of the comfort zones to experience and get the things that seem beyond your limits.

But I know it is easier said than done. But the secret is getting out of the comfort zones work do wonder in everyone’s life. But it, not the most natural thing and this everyone knows. So, here are the steps that help to achieve the goal.

Know your habits

Science says if you do the same thing for three weeks, you will convert that into your habits. But to get out of the old habits and from your comfort zones, you need to determine what practices are holding you back. If you understand and break those habits which are blocking you from doing different things, you will start to progress. In short, if there is no new idea, there will be no new learning, and you will not be able to come out of your zone.

Do something different

Even the most successful habits and things you did in the past will eventually become ineffective. So, you need to get out of those things. You can do that by doing different things. Each time you do something different than your daily chores, it will give confidence, and you can able to come out of your zone of comfort.

Take small steps

Once you know what the things holding you back from getting out of the comfort are, take baby steps to come out if it. It is hard to see the complete change overnight. If you break down your goal and take small steps each day, it will eventually help you to come out comfort zone. The other advantage of taking tiny steps is it is not so scary.

Don’t compare and judge.

Comparing yourself with other successful people and judging yourself is not going to help. Because, all of us are different in every aspect of life. Lifestyle and habits are also different. Comparison with others leads to quitting the things you started and setting unrealistic goals. But understand the things that are easier for you are difficult for others and vice versa.

Say Yes

It is easy to say no to the tasks which seem complicated, and it is the human tendency to avoid the things we are not familiar with—but saying yes and then figuring out how to achieve the task help to gain confidence and assist you to come out of the comfort zone.

Practice

There is no substitute for practice. You need to break down your goals and practice daily to achieve that. The things that looked impossible before becoming like a play for you, doesn’t it? The same will happen to your immediate goal that seems hard to accomplish now. But the practice is the key to success.

Celebrate

If you set goals and achieve them, it is vital to reward yourself. Don’t matter; those are small are big or look insignificant to others. You reward yourself and focus on the next task in hand.

So, follow these steps and enjoy your life and get out of your comfort zone to get the things you wanted in life.

 

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