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Lions Roar : May 2009
49 SHAMBHALA SUN MAY 2009 the discomfort of being ruled by them. I can’t promise you that it will always be pleasant simply to rest in the awareness of your thoughts, feelings, and sensations—and to recognize them as in- teractive creations of your own mind and body. In fact, I can pretty much guarantee that looking at yourself this way will be, at times, extremely unpleasant. But the same can be said about beginning anything new, wheth- er it’s going to the gym, starting a job, or beginning a diet. the first few months are always difficult. It’s hard to learn all the skills you need to master a job; it’s hard to motivate yourself to exercise; and it’s hard to eat healthfully every day. But after a while the difficul- ties subside; you start to feel a sense of pleasure or accomplish- ment, and your entire sense of self begins to change. meditation works the same way. For the first few days you might feel very good, but after a week or so, practice becomes a trial. You can’t find the time, sitting is uncomfortable, you can’t focus, or you just get tired. You hit a wall, as runners do when they try to add an extra half mile to their exercise. the body says, “I can’t,” while the mind says, “I should.” neither voice is particu- larly pleasant; in fact, they’re both a bit demanding. Buddhism is often referred to as the “middle way” because it offers a third option. If you just can’t focus on a sound or a candle flame for one second longer, then by all means stop. Oth- erwise, meditation becomes a chore. You’ll end up thinking, “Oh no, it’s 7:15. I have to sit down and cultivate awareness”. no one ever progresses that way. On the other hand, if you think you could go on for another minute or two, then go on. You may be surprised by what you learn. You might discover a particular thought or feeling behind your resistance that you didn’t want to acknowledge. Or you may simply find that you can actually rest your mind longer than you thought you could. that discovery alone can give you greater confidence in yourself. But the best part of all is that no matter how long you practice, or what method you use, every technique of Buddhist medita- tion ultimately generates compassion. Whenever you look at your mind, you can’t help but recognize your similarity to those around you. When you see your own desire to be happy, you can’t avoid seeing the same desire in others. and when you look clearly at your own fear, anger, or aversion, you can’t help but see that everyone around you feels the same fear, anger, and aver- sion. this is wisdom—not in the sense of book learning, but in the awakening of the heart, the recognition of our connection to others, and the road to joy. ♦ Reprinted from joyful Wisdom: embracing change and Finding Freedom, by Yongey mingyur Rinpoche. © 2009 by Yongey mingyur Rinpoche. Published by harmony Books, a division of Random house, Inc. helped to resolve his problem as a young man with panic at- tacks. his teaching has been well-received by the increasing numbers of researchers who are seeking to verify the results of meditation in Western scientific terms. three of mingyur Rinpoche’s brothers are also well-known Dzogchen teachers. the eldest, chokyi nyima Rinpoche, has been a highly influential teacher for the past twenty-five years. his books include Union of mahamudra and Dzogchen and Present Fresh Wakefulness. Drubwang tsoknyi Rinpoche has a seat in nepal that is home to a monastery, international medi- tation center, and translation committee. From his other seat, in crestone, colorado, tsoknyi Rinpoche travels extensively in the West presenting teachings in a style similar to his father’s, but in colloquial english. he is author of Carefree Dignity and Fearless Simplicity. tsikey chokling Rinpoche, author of Lotus Ocean, is considered the reincarnation of the tibetan master who discovered the secret teachings that formed the basis for much of tulku Urgyen’s teaching. ♦ Joyful Son Mingyur Rinpoche comes from an extraordinary family devoted to the teachings known as “the Great Perfection.” Barry Boyce has their story. mingyur Rinpoche at age seven, with Tsoknyi Rinpoche and their father, Tulku Urgyen Rinpoche. phOtOBYmIchaeLgODenaU