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Lions Roar : March 2012
SHAMBHALA SUN MARCH 2012 20 normal, healthy thing to do for the body, self-reflection is a good thing to do for the mind. But because we cannot see the mind and heart, the benefits of meditation are not as obvious—and in our culture, it is hard to simply be. We are more inclined to always be doing. However, like the crops in the field, we all need a fallow period of enriching and gaining. Meditation is a very personal experience. Even if we sit there for only five minutes, our mind is not doing nothing. We are exploring how our mind really feels, unconditioned by family, education, friends, culture, and even our concepts about medi- tation. Resting in this space is self-empowerment minus the ego. By contacting that open feeling, the inherently pure stream at the depth of our being, we are laying the seeds for those feelings of love to grow within our own consciousness. Then those potent seeds will materialize in our life. How we feel is an important part of being in a community. If we can feel a little bit, then we know how somebody else feels. This gives birth to the thought of helping others. The great bod- hisattva Shantideva says that there is not a better feeling and pur- pose than that thought. He instructs us to water that thought with the six paramitas: generosity, discipline, patience, exertion, meditation/feeling, and prajna/intelligence. When we are relaxing and feeling, we are being present, and when we are present and feeling, that moment is whole. Our mind knows how to be and how to feel, and the whole thing is one complete moment that we call happiness, pleasure. We know how it feels. However, if we do not know how happiness or pleasure feels, we are continuously looking for it, never able to appreciate its simplicity. Feeling and being are not necessarily taught in school. That is why the meditation tradition has survived—so we can train in the ability to relax, to feel and embody our nature. When we embody compassion and kindness, we have potency and strength. Then even good posture is an expression of how we feel inside—not just something we are imposing on ourselves. So let’s practice from the inside out. Taking time to feel the compassion and kindness at our core has an effect on our health, our state of mind, how we relate to our family, and how we work. No matter what is on our mind, we can find time in the day to feel where we are, and just be. We are not talking about being ourselves in an egotistical way. We are simply talking about being human. Goodness is always present, and with the practice of meditation, our feeling for it continues to grow. ♦ SAKYONG MIPHAM is the spiritual leader of Shambhala, an interna- tional network of Buddhist meditation and retreat centers. He is the author of Turning the Mind Into an Ally and Ruling Your World. His new book, Running With the Mind of Meditation, will be published this spring. We need to take time every day for a period of self-reflection, however brief. It’s how we learn and how we change. New certificate program offering five stand alone modules focusing on professional development, spiritual practice and innovative approaches to End of Life Care. Metta Institute Trainings in Mindful & Compassionate Care Faculty: Frank Ostaseski, Rachel Naomi Remen, Ram Dass, Norman Fischer, Charlie Garfield, Frances Vaughan, Angeles Arrien, Ange Stephens and more. Visit mettainstitute.org for 2012–2013 programs. 2012 Date s session 1: april 20–25; session 2 : september 11–16 www.mettainstitute.org 415 331–9600 san Francisco Bay a rea inFo@mettainstitute.org