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Lions Roar : March 2018
How Everything Becomes Meditation by Chögyam Trungpa THE PRACTICE OF MEDITATION is not so much based on becoming a better person, or for that matter becoming an enlightened person. It is seeing how we can relate to our already existing enlightened state. To do that is a matter of trust, as well as a matter of openness. Trust plays an extremely important part in the practice of meditation. The trust we are discussing is trust in yourself. This trust has to be recovered rather than developed. We have all kinds of conceptualizations and attitudes that prevent us from uncovering that basic trust. These are known as the veil of con- ceptualization. We have to know what we mean by meditation. Sometimes we use the word to mean emptying out or letting go. Sometimes we mean relaxation. However, the point of meditation practice is actually to rediscover our hidden neurosis and our hidden sanity at the same time. Although meditation involves training and discipline, the point is not to become a good, highly trained person who will behave in a certain enlightened style, so that you will be accepted among the buddhas and bodhisattvas. Rather, the meaning of meditation is intense lightness. Meditation is intense, because the practice is demanding, and your commitment to the sitting practice of meditation day after day is very demanding. At the same time, the practice of meditation is very light, because you have nothing to do, and nothing to accomplish, when you practice. So intense lightness or intense freedom is the meaning of meditation. Another important aspect of meditation is discipline. Disci- pline leads to openness, but that does not mean one’s frivolity is included as part of the path. Discipline is very severe and extremely demanding. You are expected to take part in this severe discipline, which is the discipline to be, to sit, to practice, and to completely involve your attitude, your conceptualizations, your subconscious mind, your emotions, your domestic affairs, and every aspect of yourself in your practice. Everything in your life situation becomes part of meditation, which is an enormous demand. Meditation is also about exerting yourself and using your inquisitive mind as part of the practice. In order to be a good student, you have to be highly inquisitive. Then information is no longer a foreign element; it becomes part of furthering your inquisitiveness. Meditation is about relating with two factors. It relates you with yourself, and it also relates you with your world. Through the practice of meditation, you are able to synchronize your world and yourself. Working with the two eventually produces a spark. It is like rubbing two sticks together or striking a flint against a stone to produce a spark. The spark of light you pro- duce is called karuna, or compassion. When you first come to meditation, you may not like your- self very much. You may feel that you even hate yourself, or hate your world. But you continue to practice and relate with your world and yourself simultaneously, both in meditation and in everyday life situations. Doing so properly, thoroughly, and completely, some kind of warmth begins to develop. You find that the phenomenal world is workable after all. It may not be lovable yet, but at least it’s workable, manageable. And you realize that maybe you too are workable and manageable. The practice of meditation is the only way to develop this basic trust in yourself and your world. So the practice of meditation is composed of these three elements: working with yourself, working with the phenomenal world, and working with the warmth that develops. Every- thing is part of your world and a sense of workability begins to develop throughout your life. ♦ CHÖGYAM TRUNGPA RINPOCHE (1939–1987) was a seminal figure in twentieth-century Buddhism and author of such classics as Cut- ting Through Spiritual Materialism and Shambhala: The Sacred Path of the Warrior. LION’S ROAR | MARCH 2018 53