Creatively Engage Your Thoughts ~ Martine Batchelor

I think one has to be careful not to think that meditation is about getting rid of thoughts. On the contrary, I would say that meditation helps us to creatively engage with our thoughts and not fixate on them. When people say, they cannot concentrate I say “No no no, you are concentrating—too much on single thoughts!”

I think it is interesting in meditation is to start to notice all the different places that our thoughts lead us—what distracts us and what occupies our minds. It is important to notice these things in meditation because these will be the same things that occupy our minds in daily life. As we become more familiar with our thoughts in meditation, we will see how repetitive they are. We often think very similar things over and over again, and it is actually rare to have what I would call a creative, original thought.  ~ Martine Batchelor

# 5 Be Patient

Be patient

When you plant seeds in the garden, you don’t dig them up every day to see if they have sprouted yet. You simply water them and clear away the weeds; you know that the seeds will grow in time. Similarly, just do your daily practice and cultivate a kind heart. Abandon impatience and instead be content creating the causes for goodness; the results will come when they’re ready.” ~ Bhikshuni Thubten Chodron

Meditating on Painful Sensations

Feelings like being cold, hot, hungry, full, heavy, or dizzy, or having a headache, a toothache, a stuffy nose, a sore throat, or pain your knees or lower back, are pretty much directly – though not always pleasantly – present to awareness. Because pain and discomfort are such direct sensations, they’re actually very effective objects of meditative focus. Most of us regard pain as a threat to our physical wellbeing. On one hand, when we worry or allow ourselves to become preoccupied by this threat, the pain itself almost always increases. On the other hand, if we consider pain or discomfort as an object of meditation, we can use such sensations to increase our capacity for clarity, simply through watching the mind deal with various solutions.

~ by Yongey Minyur Rinpoche, “The Joy of Living” , page 147

Everybody Sits

During the 1960’s, many unusual people showed up at the (Zen) monastery gate. Among them was a young electrician from Sweden, whose limited command of English was further hindered by a few beers. He was met at the gate by the director, who asked him what he wanted. “I want to study Buddhism!” the Swede bellowed.

“Have you ever sat?” the director asked, using our shorthand expression for “Have you ever done sitting meditation?”

The Swede didn’t know how to answer this question. It seemed to be a question in plain English, and he understood the words, but somehow the meaning eluded him. Was this some kind of Buddhist trick? Was the director making fun of him? Of course, he had sat. Finally, he decided that if the question were a trick he would not take the bait. He drew himself up to his full height and shouted, “Everyone has sat!”

The Swede entered the retreat center and remained there for several years. He was right, of course. All people have sat. We do it every day. We stand too, and walk, and lie down. ~ Lewis Richmond

Why make meditation into some holy and separate ritual when you can sit, stand, walk, and lie down in awareness?

From 365 Days of Nirvana by Josh Baran