Posts Tagged ‘Meditation’

Calm Abiding Meditation

February 14, 2009

What I am sharing with you is not the insight of some spiritual superstar, but rather the reflections of a dense and obtuse practitioner who has been practicing “in the world” for the last 24 or so years.  My practice has at times been very focused and at other times rather casual.  I have done a lot of different Buddhist practices, but I have always had Calm Abiding Meditation as part of my daily routine

Calm Abiding (Samatha) Meditation is one of the foundational contemplation practices of most schools of Buddhism.  It can be taught in many ways but usually involves awareness of the breath.

While the practice of Calm Abiding is often taught as a stand alone practice, I would suggest that it works better within a religious world view and in particular within the Buddhist Dharma.  The Buddhist Dharma places our lives within the context of a very large, spacious, and complex universe where change happens over vast periods of time and the goal is nothing less that the cessation of suffering for all beings.  (Buddhists are definitely not under achievers!) 

What is Calm Abiding Mediation?

First:   Calm Abiding Meditation is rejoicing in the fullness of the present moment.  It is both blissful and peaceful while also being very alert / aware.  Calm abiding is not the stupor state of escapism.

Second: Calm Abiding is possible even for people with full lives.

Third: I don’t know about anybody else, but personally, I was so busy trying to meditate that it took me forever to recognize that Calm Abiding is about Abiding in the present moment.  Sounds, sensations, sights, thoughts, etc are all occurring in the present moment.  There is a lot going on in the present moment and we really need to pull back and just appreciate and wonder beauty of each moment.

Fourth: Thinking is stressful. (That’s dukkha to you Buddhists.) Take a break from thinking and analyzing and judging everything. (Trust me, your thoughts will wait around for you.)  Give yourself some time each day to sense fully the present moment.  Listen to the ocean, or the wind, or the bird,s or the traffic, or whatever, with your full being.  Don’t think about it, just perceive.

Fifth: You are not your thoughts.  In fact, your thoughts are just a small part of your experience.  Unfortunately, we tend to obsessively focus on our thoughts.  We confuse our thoughts about who we are, with what we truly are.

Sixth: Calm Abiding is joyful.  Really!

Seventh:  Calm Abiding Meditation takes commitment.  You need to make time in your daily life to just be.  You really do need that 30 minutes, or more, each day with nothing to do but sit, breath, and be aware.  (It is only boring because we have become accustomed to having our minds stimulated non-stop.)

Eight:  As you grow your practice will grow and change.   Calm Abiding is only one part of the Buddhist Path.  Buddhism is a way of life which involves: faith, study, ethics, ritual, community, meditation, self reflection and transformation.

If you want to change your life, you need to be willing to change.  The Dharma can help you make that change.

Peace, Paul

Rain

December 27, 2008

It has been pouring down rain since Thursday evening. I guess this not surprising since the Hilo area is supposed to get around 300 inches of rain a year, and it is the rainy season right now!

The nice thing about the rain is that it keeps you indoors. I have used the time for retreat: meditating, reciting mantra, and studying Buddhist texts.

In the Lotus Sutra the Buddha’s compassion is compared to rain, falling equally on all beings. I think I will take this latest deluge as very heavy dose of compassion and a reminder to keep the Dharma at the heart of my life.

Peace, Paul