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Lions Roar : November 2006
SHAMBHALA SUN NOVEMBER 2006 22 come familiar with that good mind. Sometimes our meditation is fun; at other times, it can be boring. But overall, if we’re hold- ing this view and applying the technique, meditation makes us stronger. We’re learning what the mind is and stabilizing our- selves in that reality. This ability gives us a very powerful tool. Our mind is always becoming familiar with something. Most of the time we’re becoming familiar with things that ultimately have little relevance to us. We get familiar with the fantasy of food, a relationship, or a holiday. Of course we may have to pay the rent—there are always concerns on which our mind can chew—but in our daily meditation, we practice unloading those concerns from our mind and experiencing the precious oppor- tunity to become familiar with something more meaningful. One way to ground ourselves in the view is to feel fortunate that we have the time and technique to meditate. We can say to ourselves, “I feel very fortunate to be able to follow my breath because, number one, I have a breath.” It’s not necessarily guar- anteed. For us to sit here and not appreciate what’s going on is ignorance, because we’re taking our lives for granted. What happens when we feel fortunate? Inspiration is born, and it grows. Without inspiration, we don’t have any reason to return to the breath. Sitting is just an exercise. It’s like working in a factory: we’re just putting in the time until we can go home. Our noble qualities are not increasing. Without the view, our meditation is like a rock at the bottom of a lake. What happens to a rock at the bottom of the lake? No matter how much time passes, nothing happens. In a hundred years, it will still be a rock at the bottom of the lake. Even though our understanding may be small, we should have confidence that the practice of sitting in this way and placing our mind on the breath is special. It’s been handed down by people such as the Tibetan yogi Milarepa. He did not leave us the mes- sage that“Meditation’s not really worth it,” or “I looked in my mind and there’s nothing really there, but it’s a great way to lose weight.” He didn’t say that at all. Rather, he wrote 100,000 spon- taneous songs that celebrate the basic goodness of our mind and the precious opportunity we have to develop our noble qualities. These are real. As our mind sticks with them, our level of prajna, or intelligence, rises. When we meditate, we’re not idly passing time. In following the breath and learning to deal with our thoughts, we’re lay- ing the foundation for a shift in attitude that has the power to change our lives in a truly meaningful way. There’s a lot of dark- ness and aggression in our world. Developing our noble quali- ties has an immediate effect on ourselves and others. When we apply ourselves in practice, we’re not only doing something very present; we’re also creating the conditions for how our lives can move forward. ♦ SAKYONG MIPHAM RINPOCHE is spiritual director of Shambhala, an international network of meditation and retreat centers. He is the au- thor of Turning Your Mind into an Ally and Ruling Your World. Overseas College of Medical Qigong Henan University of Traditional Chinese Medicine Please visit www.MedicalQigong.org for more information or call toll-free 1-800-848 -0649 Twist and become whole. Bend and become straight. Empty out and become full. —Dao De Jing The true measure of a man is how he treats someone who can do him absolutely no good. International Institute of Medical Qigong 2007 Masters in Medical Qigong (MMQ) Certification Seminars • Introduction to Medical Qigong Therapy February 9-13, 2007 or March 30-April 3 (no prerequisite for enrollment) • Introduction to Diagnosis and Treatments April 27-May 1, 2007 • Clinical Foundations of Medical Qigong June 15-19, 2007 • Treatment and Exercises for Organ Diseases August 10-14, 2007 • Clinical Internship September 28-October 2, 2007 Dr. Bernard Shannon, DMQ Executive Director, IIMQ Deputy Director, OCMQ, HUTCM