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Lions Roar : September 2008
SHAMBHALA SUN SEPTEMBER 2008 20 meditate we are not going to make any progress. We regard practice as secondary to our daily activities, and our spiritual development becomes less and less relevant. Then the dharmic path is gone, and our way becomes worldly. We lose our discipline, sense of humor, and delight. Clearing obstacles to the proper view and developing certainty is the secret aspect of working with ourselves. Generally speaking, obstacles are connected with karma and conditions. Obstacles are particularly associated with the kind of environmental conditions we establish. These are related to ha- bitual tendencies of body, speech, and mind, which are karmic. As far as actions of body goes, the worst-case scenario is killing or causing others harm. In terms of speech, being verbally abu- sive creates negative conditions. Obstacles to mind occur when we create an unhealthy mental environment, such as being over- ly desirous or unappreciative of others. From these nonvirtuous actions, obstacles tend to blossom. What we say or do creates an energy, a frequency, that attracts them. What is the antidote to creating the conditions for obstacles to oc- cur? On every level, the basic antidote is mindfulness. A practitioner who had been hit by a car once asked my father, Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche, why it had happened. He imagined there was something karmic in his past that had caused the accident. To his surprise, my father told him that he had simply failed to be mindful. It’s easy to be mindful on the practical level, such as looking both ways before crossing the street, but mindfulness extends be- yond that to being appreciative and observant of our life. Speed is the enemy of mindfulness; we forget to look at what is hap- pening. When we’re arrogant and cavalier, taking for granted the details of our body, speech, or mind, an obstacle arises. Then we wonder what happened. At whatever level we are practicing, we need to pay attention to our life and appreciate it. The antidote to inner obstacles is practice. In peaceful abiding (shamatha) practice, we use the present moment as a reference point for relating to our mind and overcoming its discursiveness. Returning our mind to the breath is how we learn to be mindful and aware. If we’re feeling obstructed by strong emotions, there are two approaches we can take: If we’ve developed our practice to the point where we can just breathe and let a strong emotion go, that’s what we should do. The second technique is to dis- mantle the emotion by contemplating it. We begin investigating the feeling. We ask ourselves, “Why am I jealous? What has made me feel this way?” In contemplating the reasons that our nega- tive emotions have come together—and how they create pain, suffering, and anxiety—we can begin to take them apart. This technique creates more mindfulness and awareness. Laziness is such a big obstacle that it deserves special atten- tion. Laziness can keep us from ever getting to our meditation seat. It can also manifest as busyness or—at the other end of the spectrum—feeling disheartened. Once we do sit down to medi- tate, it can keep us from relating properly to the practice tech- nique. Although it occurs on every level, the obstacle of laziness is always connected with our view. The antidote to this obstacle is inspiration. We need to start over. Create your own sacred space for meditation. Zen Home & Gift Since 1994, Chopa has offered uplifting, Zen inspired gifts for you and your home. Please view our ever-changing collection of over 600 items online at www.chopa.com 1.800.961.2555 - Tatami Mats - Shoji Screens and Doors - Meditation Supplies - Kimono - Home Decor - Zen Gifts SEPT 18-39.indd 20 SEPT 18-39.indd 20 7/3/08 1:29:58 PM 7/3/08 1:29:58 PM