Wednesday, August 30, 2006

"Coming to Terms"


"The techniques of meditation practice are not designed to reduce active thoughts at all. They provide a way of coming to terms with everything that goes on inside. Once we have accepted what goes on in our mind as neither good nor bad, but just flashes of thoughts, we have come to terms with it."[Chogyam Trungpa, from "The Sanity We are Born With"]

Most of us think as meditation as a way of ceasing mental noise, of stopping the flow of mental chatter. And in some traditions it does seem to be presented that way (The Yoga Sutra, for instance). But I find another method much more appropriate, and that is simply watching what happens - no matter what it is. When I am able to do that, with compassion and forgiveness and acceptance, and begin to see thoughts as temporal and fleeting, then it is less likely that I will believe the internal voices or be dragged away in this or that direction. Then there is a peaceful Ground that is not swept about by the duality of up and down, pleasure and pain, good days and bad days.

In a related note, our church's pastor had a great message on Sunday that more-or-less speaks to this same topic. Click here to listen to the mp3 of: "Centered: Finding Rest in God's Dwelling Place."

9 comments:

isaiah said...

For years I believed meditation meant to 'cease all mental activity', have no thoughts whatsoever, and drift away into blissfull nothingness.

Now I find, like you, a more practical manner to meditate by simply observing. Observing breath (which one can do most anytime in any situation), thoughts, vibrations (through chanting or singing), motion, sounds...anything can be observed. Let whatever may arise, happen, and move along.

I take several dozen "mini meds" throughout the day: three- 12 deep breaths with eyes open (sometimes I'm driving) or closed and let "It" all happen...and observe the happening.

For me, the "peaceful Ground" supports, even when I am not in realization. Compassion, forgiveness and acceptance have fertile soil in which to grow from within.

I am still such a beginner- quick to anger and my temper frustrates me to ends. I am learning to observe this too, although it is a difficult thing.

I'm off to listen to the mp3 and will be back to add my thoughts. Much to say here. Glad you brought this up today, Trev. We are "here" to learn from each other and I am thankful for your presence and inspired by your being.

kevin beck said...

Trev,
That's a wonderful insight. Being present sounds so trite, but it is the truest way of witnessing what is.

kevin beck said...

I almost forgot...The artwork rocks.

Celeste said...

Great post and so true!

...I didn't take the Yoga Sutras to mean cessation of "mind stuff". Maybe I missed something? Will have to look again. I've been using Satchidananda's definition of chitta to just remind myself that when mental chatter arises, it's just "mind stuff" that I can either dive into, or just watch float by. It has been a big relief to remind myself that I don't have to identify with my thoughts.

anonymous julie said...

I like Dali.

And I like your thoughts, your redefinition of meditation, the description - peaceful Ground. It's especially nice that I share many of your observations.

Jon said...

Great post. That's a dead-on description of practical meditation. Thanks.

Meredith said...

This is such an important realization. To cease all mental activity is a manipulation - one most of us will never be successful with. However, to notice, to witness the workings of our own minds is to not manipulate, but to accept things as they are, and to find compassion for our own thought processes. Compassion rises when we observe our own thoughts without judgement. If we can do this for ourselves, we can do it for others. And, as you say, "we are not swept about by the duality of up and down, pleasure and pain..."
Thanks, Trev

Trev Diesel said...

Thanks everyone for your comments! Wow, what wonderful responses and insights.

To answer Celeste specifically, I always took the opening line of the Y.S. to mean "Yoga is the intentional stopping of the mind-stuff (chitta)." They say it's like mud slowly settling in unstirred water so that it becomes clear. I suppose that maybe is a result over time, but I don't believe it should be a GOAL in meditation.

You guys rock!

Craig LaSuer said...

Thanks Trev for having me listen to Jim's sermon. It was good. Happy Birthday to Kali from the LaSuers.