Guided Meditation – Sort Of

March 26th, 2006

Meditation is the realization of this moment. The “practice of meditation” is the sitting down to work on this before it becomes fully natural to live that way. To abstract it further, we can use anchors such as counting, visualization, and pointed awareness to help bring our attention to our breath.

I’d like you to stay as present as possible during this talk, but I will be talking much more than a normal guided meditation, hence the “sort of” in the title. I want to show you different ways to meditate and use ideas to help find stillness. Please look for other guided meditations as there are many good ones out there.

Set the intention of spending this time to work with your mind and thoughts. Be committed during your practice time to coming back to your experience, back to your breath no matter what thoughts arise.

Stillness is the quality of listening. Notice when we start adding thought, or content, and see how that is not listening. When we notice this, we come back to our breath and pay attention, or “listen” to the moment. That is the quality of meditation.

Work with counting. We learn to use anchors until stillness is loud enough within us. So we place our thinking on something we can see, and judge (counting). Count on the in breath for a while, then the out breath for a while, then both. This is also a good way to time yourself if you don’t have a clock. You can commit to a certain number of breaths.

Be sure to notice and work with the energy underneath the breath. We mentioned that everything is in the breath, all sounds, etc. The breath is really just a link to what is. Open to the energy underneath the breath.

Work with closed eyes, and finding a sensation, then watch opening our eyes and trying to hold that sensation. Did it go away? The content changed, can we hold onto that stillness, that sensation?

A more mature practice is just breath, then thinking, then breath. We come back again and again as we think. We start by learning the landscape of thought.

Another anchor is shifting attention to something small, like just the opening of the mouth and nose while breathing. Later we open it to the bigger full breath from mouth to stomach and back out. Eventually we can start to move the energy all around the body. We’ll discuss that more in another talk.

I mentioned that there are things that help practicing meditation. Committing to a certain area, and using a seat and timer can be a help. One place online to buy meditation gear is Amida: http://www.ami-da.com.

Lastly, we don’t need to spend a lot of time meditating. Just a few minutes is useful to bring us back to center. Sitting in the morning and evening for three to five minutes can have a profound affect on your life. I call it bookending your day with meditation.

The Gift of Trauma

March 19th, 2006

Trauma is horrible, and we shouldn’t forget that. We all have trauma to one degree or another. We all have “our stuff.”

Trauma has the potential to widen and deepen our experience of pain. Which allows us to have a higher “high.” Imagine someone who hasn’t had much stimulation in either direction, good or bad. Their circumstances are not as wide and as varied to draw from. They have a skinnier history to draw from. So something somewhat “bad” seems potentially horrible – like gas prices going up. Whereas, someone who has lived through a rape, or a major car accident, might not be as affected by social issues. They care, they just have a different historical comparison to weight the situation against.

Trauma also allows us to see that we survived. We went through that stuff and are still here. It didn’t kill us.

This is not to say that we should look for trauma, or inflict it on others. Life brings enough of it on it’s own.

How does pain and trauma allow for growth? Well, let’s look again at someone who is sheltered. They never get the challenges to test themselves. The Buddha is the iconic representation of this. He left his palace to learn about life and pain. He was unsatisfied with being given everything. You, your kids, and loved ones will be equally unsatisfied. Have you seen wealthy kids at the mall who have everything? Nothing surprises them, nothing thrills them. They are bored. These kids may begin looking for trauma. They won’t know that’s what they are doing, but their boredom has the potential to make them look for thrills. Those thrills, in the form of drugs, etc. can end up giving those kids their share of pain. This is a stereotype used only to make the point that pain and growth is a part of life. We can use pain to stimulate our desire to live differently.

Pleasure and pain are related. In the spectrum of self, pleasure and pain mirror one another. To leave the ego realm of pleasure and pain, it can help to go through enough pain to say “I don’t want to live this way any more.”

It is really important that we process our trauma. We need to begin to work with our pain, and process it fully. We need to feel it, rather than run from it.

Our pain is the substance that we are supposed to traverse to grow. The more of it, the more we want to wake up from it. So as we hate it, from a certain point of view it is a blessing.

We can relax a little with our children and loved ones. We can realize that pain is a part of life, and that we need to allow for some of it to grow. It is often a dis-service to over-protect a child. Pain in general is there to wake you up. It’s asking for you to be present. To drop the valuation of the situation. To open your consciousness. This is how we can begin to kill the ego, or wake up from it.

Trauma can jar us free of the ego. It can re-prioritize our lives. Sadness, fear, and anxiety that is the result of trauma can become so loud that we want to put it down. Without that pain, we might never have woken up. We can become sick of being unhappy. That is a very healthy state to be in.

So how do we want to relate to our trauma? Do we want to be fearful of it, or realize that we’ve been through it, and we’ve beaten it? It’s important that we don’t continue the cycle of abuse. It’s our responsibility to end the cycle of abuse.

Show Music: The Shanghai Restoration Project

The Human Condition – An Overview

March 12th, 2006

What is the human condition? Humanity seems quite insane. What is the root of that insanity?

Our core problem is the fact that we feel separate. We are ego, but we are not only ego. We need to evolve into the realization that we are much more than that.

There are two parts to that evolution. The first part is the realization that we are identified with an ego, time based self, and that we can drop that identity. The second part is the practice of coming back to this moment (leaving ego) over and over again every time you realize you are lost, until it becomes normal. Every problem comes down to this, and is fixed once we realize and act on this.

Discussed lots of the old shows and mentioned briefly how they relate to this core condition.

Lastly, as we learn what our ego is, and that we can drop it, we realize that we can change the human condition. The fact that it is only a “condition” and not an absolute, or permanent, state of being is a wonderful thing.

Referenced: Eckhart Tolle

The World Is Your Body

March 5th, 2006

This is an advanced talk. Many people may find this content weird, but I’m serious when I say that the world is your body. We’re trying to learn to look at the world differently. This is very literally a different way to look at the world. It’s a shift in consciousness.

Normal subject/object consciousness has ego and self boundaries involved with it. It’s important that we don’t look at these ideas from a place of self. We need to drop self to understand these ideas.

Subject and object aren’t separate. The act of listening, seeing, tasting, hearing, feeling can’t occur without both the subject and the object. That being the case, the actual act of sensation is the real content, and the parties involved are only ideas. The listening, as an example, *IS* the thing that’s going on. When we learn to dive into experience on that level we widen our perception of ourselves, and the world. Our experience is further out than we thought. We start to realize that we are larger than we thought.

Another point to understand is that we become, literally, whatever we focus on. When we see a sunset, we are the sunset. When we think a thought, we are that thought. When we hear a car horn, we are the car horn. The reason most of us don’t feel that way is because we are too busy bouncing from thought to experience to thought, etc. to realize any content deeply enough. This understanding is a new way of approaching things, but it allows for many freedoms.

What are the benefits of these ideas? An unchecked ego is the basis for all of our pain. This is another way, or facet, to understand dropping the ego. It’s another way to describe a new way of being. This will allow us to be filled with what is: sunsets, car horns, stillness, joy.

The practice is to realize that you are not a separate thing. You are an integral part of the greater whole. You are necessary to the process of life. Everything you hear, taste, smell, see, and feel shows you a wider self. That horn down the street is you. That breeze is you. You are vast. Realize it. Imagine, as a side benefit, how respectful we’ll be of the world once we realize it’s us.

Lastly, realizing that your body is the world quickly allows us to relate to the idea of “oneness of being” that all great philosophies speak of. This understanding is a way to realize that oneness.

Show music: La Bella Monterosa by Sahnas