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Lions Roar : May 2014
becoming less familiar with the inner elements that lead to deep happiness and positive social connectivity. Through meditation, we practice reawakening those qualities by feeling our own wor- thiness. yet when we sit down to meditate, we might not even understand what we are trying to awaken. We need to go on a journey to figure out what’s real. Basic goodness is intangible. On one hand, you could say it is the highest transmission in Buddhist tantra, which would be not untrue. On the other hand, you can see it in a baby. Basic goodness is the unconditional foundation of every experience. It is always available in the present moment, healthy, whole, and without fault. When we practice meditation, we strip away the words and discover how it feels to be human. We come to an inexpressible experience of our own being that can happen only when we let ourselves relax—when we are not afraid of ourselves, others, or the environment. Especially in a time when there is so much self- loathing, aggression, and mistrust—not just of the world but of our own inherent strength and sanity—there has to be a point where we allow ourselves to rest and feel who we are. That’s a very important moment, because when we feel who we are, we have the confidence of goodness no matter what experiences we are having. This is connected to nonattachment. Relatively we are having a lot of experiences, but ultimately we see that there really is no good day or bad day if you are thoroughly there to experience it. There is just basic goodness, beyond relative good and bad. Meditation begins with taking your posture: open in the front, straight and upright in the back, legs crossed, hands on the thighs. The balanced container we create allows us to rest in our own vulnerability and strength. A moment of calm and openness at the beginning allows for space in which experience can occur. As we practice, we maintain our mindfulness of the body and its language, which is the breath, and awareness of how we hold our mind, which is thought and emotion. Otherwise, obstacles arise—both spiritual and mundane—and instead of experienc- ing the confidence of goodness, we slowly withdraw. When we lose connection with feeling, life become discom- bobulated. We dive into our speedy routine and become myopic and self-effacing, just trying to get by. Before we know it, we are participating in the creation of a world where there’s more and more paranoia and less and less security for the human mind and heart. We’ve got to be very determined people in order to carry our openness and compassion into daily life. As well as kindness, we need to develop wisdom and strength. We do this by training in equanimity. In meditation we train in letting thoughts go. In addition, we discover that though a good meditation experience can be valuable, it can also be dis- tracting. If you overvalue a good experience, you’re increasing the chances that a bad experience will disable you. Equanimity increases the ability of the mind to go forward when encounter- ing the obstacles and vicissitudes of life. Without such freshness SHAMBHALA SUN MAy 2014 14