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Deepening Meditation, or maybe it should be Lightening Meditation?

 

This week, six of us continued the exploration of what deepening of meditation practice might mean.

Initial reactions to the topic were: ‘That’s too scary.’

‘I can find a place of ease and connection in my meditation, why would I want to go deeper?’

‘Good to do if could keep awake!’

After our usual check in and 30 minutes meditation practice, we started the discussion with one person’s comment: ‘My meditation is so shallow, I spend the time thinking about shopping or cooking, or my new vacuum cleaner!’  A response to this was: ‘well, any daily life awareness/mindfulness practice involves paying attention to ordinary tasks like cleaning and cooking.  Is that shallow?’ So what is shallow and what is deep?

Further discussion ranged from how we can realise troubling thoughts are just thoughts happening in the present and not in the time of memory; how this is so hard to do as the thoughts are experienced along with body feelings, body memory which can even include experience of our parents or community; is heart and gut experience still controlled by Mind, or the other way round?. And then this exchange:

Participant No. 1: You can also be aware of being aware, isn’t that right?

Participant No. 2: I find that the minute I am aware that I am aware I lose it, it’s really frustrating.

Facilitator (with interest): What do mean you lose it? What does that feel like?

Participant No. 2: Well, I begin to think about it, and once I’m thinking about it I have lost it.

Facilitator (with even more interest): Ah, how interesting, once you think about being aware you lose that sense of being aware? Is that it?

Participant No. 2: Yes, and I then don’t know how to get it back again.

Participant No. 1: But isn’t the whole point of meditation to repeatedly ‘wake up’ to those times of losing it, so, when I know I have lost it, I am actually there! With IT!.. back in awareness?

Facilitator: Wow. Yes, there is actually no getting away from awareness, no matter how much we think we are not aware! But not to say we don’t experience it as loss as well.

Participant No. 2: It seems to goes into a place beyond language, we can’t really talk about it which is an uneasy and difficult place to be.

A couple of people shared how frightening it can be when we touch a place in meditation that goes beyond our conceptual certainties, and boundaries of self and other.

‘For me it’s less making the effort to deepen (like dig out), rather it’s more a letting go, letting meditation happen more freely, without effort and without thinking’.

December 22nd and dates for next year

Dec 22, 2018

Saturday December 22nd is the day after the Solstice – the return of the light – and also the day of the Full Moon. So instead of meeting at Studio iO as usual, we’d like to invite you to a Full Moon Feast at our house in Brighton. There will be meditation, recitation and entertainment and .. eating. We’ll start from 11:15 as usual but probably won’t end before 2.

If you’d like to come, please contact us on 07712 834840 or sherab-dorjay@redbuddhahouse.net and we’ll provide details of where we are and how to get there.

From January, we’ll be back in Studio iO – dates as follows

2019

Jan 5, 19

Feb 2,  16

Mar 2, 16, 30

Apr 13, 27

May 25

Jun 8,  22

Looking forward to seeing you there.

 

Sherab

Join us fortnightly for meditation, reflection and discussion

Please get in touch if you’d like to join one of our formless meditation classes and Dharma explorations in Brighton. We meet fortnightly from 11:15 to 13:15 at Studio iO, 3 Queen’s Place, Brighton BN1 4JY. You can find more information on our Dates and Events page.

 

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Our usual format is to meet and meditate for 10 minutes, then have a brief period of checking in, followed by a longer period of meditation.

After that, we use listening, reflecting, meditation and discussion to explore a particular Dharma theme, based on the teachings of Lama Shenpen Hookham …. and of course, there’s tea, and laughter and friendship as well ..

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Deepening Meditation

Mind’s true nature is primordial purity
In its natural state it has always been free
Nothing to attain, no one attaining anythingMilarepaCrop2

Khenpo Tsultrim Gyamtso

Meditation is a wonderful way to become calmer and feel more competent in the world. But anyone with any longer term experience knows that this is often a very superficial change. Feelings of peace and confidence on the meditation cushion often evaporate in the daily confusion of Samsara. Old patterns and habits re-emerge.. Carrying on with meditation can reveal the hidden shadows of our lives – the places we don’t want to visit. And we discover that things we thought were incontrovertibly true are just habitual assumptions – that we continuously invent and re-invent our lives and our selves.

We have made the world into a cage for ourselves. We thought it would keep us safe. But all we have done is create a claustrophobic space for our nightmares to fill. So meditation opens up the space, gives our hearts a place to breathe and the confidence to look our world uncompromisingly in the eye. It allows us to see ourselves and our world clearly and with love.

Meditation rattles the bars of our cage until the door springs open. If we step out and look back, we realise not only that it was never locked – but that there was never a cage. Let’s step out together.

Fortnightly from 11:15 to 13:15 at Studio iO Brighton. See our Events Page for more information.