The Essence of meditation
2nd February 2023
The Essence of Meditation - Suryacitta
(Please note this is a transcript from a live recording which Suryacitta does each week whilst walking his blind dog Bankei. It is called Walking into Wisdom - Reflections of a Buddhist Dog Walker. It is recorded over WhatsApp and each member receives this recording. It is free, if you would like to join just click Walking to Wisdom)
Good morning, good afternoon and maybe even good evening.
It's 8.05 in the morning here in the UK, we have a gorgeous turquoise coloured sky, and a few pink clouds where the sun is rising.
Bankei is lying in the wet grass just waiting for daddy to give him some more attention.
Mindfulness and Overthinking
When playing with Bankei I sometimes throw the ball for him and because of his blindness he rarely catches it, but he never judges himself for missing
It, and he misses it 99 times out 100.
He doesn’t create stress or anxiety, his identity is not invested in how well he does. There is just the joy of trying and trying again. I would think that there is only the joy of attempting and that each attempt is new and fresh.
But it’s different with us. If we miss the ball we often criticize or judge ourselves, which then sets up tension and anxiety, and so we don’t perform so well. We start to overthink it. And you can’t catch the ball with a thought.
Mindfulness and Overthinking.
Overthinking can be a real problem for us. For example, we can spend a lot of our time thinking about what other people are thinking about us. If that’s not bad enough, we then try to change our behaviour to accord to that thinking. It’s all just happening in the mind. It’s a story or a mind movie and we take it for being real. Nobody else has privy to your little movie, they have their own little movies going on. They are not interested in your little movie and I don’t mean that unkindly. We need to begin to become more mindful of overthinking.
Bankei doesn't appear have that part of himself looking at himself, judging and criticising, there is just play.
We however, appear to have a part of us, or a voice apart from what is happening which often criticising and judging. This voice is an add on, it’s unnecessary, and just leads to distress most of the time.
Take the example of having a shower. You can simply be having a shower, but very often you are not only showering, you have your mind movie going on and appearing in it can be your boss, friends, some past event or some future event, which may never even happen. We are not there having the shower, your attention is fixated on your home movie with all the cast. Right here is the cause of much anxiety and stress. This is because once your attention is lost in the mind movie, it feels real, it appears to be really happening whilst we are lost in it.
So that’s why I say get out of your head and into your life. You can’t live a joyful life in the head, bring your attention back to your senses and rest there.
Silent Meditation Retreats
Essence of Meditation
This is the essence of meditation - to rest in presence or being-ness and seeing the mind movie for what it really is. Even if at first you come into your senses for a few moments a day, it’s worth doing to begin to break the spell of the mind.
Right now as I speak there is the sound of a helicopter overhead, there is the breeze on my face, and the sight of Bankei waiting. These are not mind movies, but really happening.
One of my teachers used to tell us to listen to the traffic rather than the anxious, chattering mind. Don’t get me wrong, the mind is a wonderful tool when used wisely but this form of unconscious thinking often just leads to distress.
When you watch a movie, you get engrossed and can really enjoy it, but you know it isn’t real, with a little mindfulness practice we can have the same attitude towards the mind movies.
So pause during your day, come back to NOW and feel what’s here, do the ABC. If you missed that audio it’s on YouTube - Walking into Wisdom.
This is what we run silent meditation retreats and mindfulness courses. It gives us the opportunity to see this more clearly and deeply. Almost everything I say points to becoming free from of this addiction to our personal drama, most of which isn’t real.
I think that’s it for now, Bankei is stirring, so have a good day…from Bankei, and me.
What I have explained is one side of meditation, the other side as it were is mindfulness of thinking to observe the thinking and to free yourself from its grip.
Tagged as: essence of meditation, meditation retreats, mindfulness and overthinking, silent meditation retreats
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