How to meditate ?
Meet the emotions
To meditate, you must first sit down and to start cleaning out all the preconceived ideas that we have about meditation. Relax, let go, you are simply there.
What does it mean to “relax”?
At the end of a day when we finish what we had to do, that work is completed, and we returned home. We sit on the couch and say “phew!” There is no more research, no more concerns, we are just there. Such a state of openness and simplicity is a prerequisite for meditation.
Until you have reached this letting go, we will not have access to the spirit. When the spirit is agitated and confused, we depends on emotions thoughts as jealousy, pride, etc.
Therefore this is the reason why we have to stop, relax and watch. Then we can see that we always tended to identify defects outside our self. Unable to recognize the game of our emotions, we see the faults in others and we judge. Even the spirit works though these defects, these emotions, we are unable to see them and we project them on others.
Our whole attitude is based on that and we never could find enough space to relax.
That is why the first thing in meditation is to reverse the eye inward, to do nothing and become aware of emotions and their movements.
First we did not realize the density of emotions.
For this reason, with a relaxed look and without trial it is necessary to see our own faults.
This is not to say that this is not good or bad.
To the contrary, it is question of having in a clear and simple sight, to accept what appears. And then we see that our entire relationship to the world is defined by the network of thoughts and emotions that we crystallized and which we identify our self. Take conscience as the first step. Initially, we can be discouraged by the number and the intensity of these emotions.
In fact, the ego is discouraged, so it’s quite healthy.
This is the first challenge.
Once we saw this, we wonder what to do!
We become aware that it is necessary to change, but we do not possess the tools yet to transform our self.
Buddha gave us many methods to achieve it.
For each emotion, he gave an antidote.
In everyday life, when we become aware of an emotion, we can transform it. For example, when anger rises, someone irritates us or a situation upsets us; we must first see the anger. Then wonder what the cause is.
Is it another or is it ourselves?
We realize that it is ourselves. Indeed, at a certain times, a situation will make us angry and at other times not. The cause of the anger is not external aggression, but our inability to respond. Reflecting like this, we adopt a more flexible approach with what is happening to us from outside, and then we will create a space in which anger can be pacified, and making a space gradually for openness, tolerance and patience. It is a primary way to react to anger.
Jealousy is the inability to recognize others qualities. Jealousy is an emotion difficult to see because it is very insidious. One way to identify it is to realize that when we are with others, we are never satisfied with the situation because of the external circumstances that we do not like. We don’t see that this dissatisfaction stems from the fact that we cannot accept the qualities of those around us.
The cure for jealousy is rejoicing. Recognizing the qualities of others, we will rejoice in them. It is a very simple thing, but we don’t have the habit of doing so. The moment we adopt this attitude, it creates an opening in relation to others. If everyone appreciates the qualities of others, relationships will be often much simpler.
Pride is the inability to recognize our self the way we are. The remedy, as we have already explained, is to become aware of its defects in order to transform them.
Regarding ignorance, we must understand what it is.
Ignorance means not to see something, and what is not seen is the fundamental openess, the ability of the mind to recognize itself. We seek happiness, but we do not know the causes. Our experience of ourselves and the world is frozen solid. Remembering that whole process is illusory is the cure for ignorance.
We then find the fluidity and flexibility of the situation and ability to laugh.
It is the first way, to interact with emotions.
When emotion rises, we administer an antidote.
This practice has several advantages: we can use it in all circumstances and it allows us to become familiar with the emotions, and be more comfortable with them.
In Tibetan, they use “gom” for the word Meditation, which means practice. Currently the process of the ego is automatic; the trends are rooted in us since time without beginning. We don’t create anger, it rises by itself
Pride is a natural process of identification, etc. Meditation will change that. If we begin to apply the antidotes, alone and with others, the process of the ego is gradually reversed. Finding ourselves overtaken by emotions, we can remember the remedy, put them into practice and it changes the relationship to the situation.
This leads us to a second type of meditation that is a more direct view on emotions. This is not the time to provide a specific remedy for each emotion, but rather to stop listening to what it is saying to our emotions or our thoughts, and let us just try to follow its movement.
What is an emotion?
It’s a movement. Take anger for example. Something irritates us, somehow we are attacked, and suddenly the anger rises. What it happening really?
It is a movement in the mind, something that takes place and invaded both the mind and body.
If you listen to the anger, and identifies our self to it, then it control us, we say things that we do not want to say and will do things that we would not like to do.
But if, rather than entering the anger, rather than identify our self to it, allow it to rise and give it space, just watching its movement, trying to see where it rises from where it settles, where it disappears, we will not find anything really existing.
The same goes for other emotions, ideas, feelings, perceptions, for all that is in the mind.
Rather than listening to all this, rather than trying to manipulate, the spirit watches itself.
If you do not grab the thought or the emotion that rises
if we do not identify it with our self,
then it frees itself.
It is a key statement of the Buddha’s teaching. If we relaxed a spirit that is bent, it will release it, there’s no doubt. This statement simplifies the relationship with our self. This means that when we relaxed the mind, when we leave enough space to let it unfold itself the mind pacifies, just like a wave that rises from the ocean she returns herself to the ocean. There is nothing to do, nothing to be manufactured or built. It is a natural process and the spirit has this ability to pacify itself. But if a thought arises, and we grab it; we will think about it, we add others, which leads us into a train of thought with still more confusion and movement.
In fact our mind is like a small agitated pool of water, the water and the mud are continuously mixed and the pool is cloudy. If you stop mixing the water, the mud settles to the bottom and the transparency and clarity of the water appear. That transparency cannot be created, it happens by itself.
The same goes for the spirit; he can only be pacified by himself. Moreover, if we do not grab the thought that rise, and allowed it to pacify then it will reveal the qualities of the spirit. It has the ability to recognize itself for what it is, it has the creative ability to recognize
the consciousness that we have now about things which is nothing else than this basic awareness of the spirit, veiled by entering selfishness. We have within us the potential of clarity; we have this mind capacity to know and to understand the phenomena directly. It can be accessed only by relaxing, stopping and letting go. This capability has been there forever, but is not recognized because of ignorance. So meditating is first of all relaxing, observing what the spirit is, and having the courage to let the spirit meet itself.
How to Meditate?
To not be overwhelmed by thoughts requires a bit of method. In meditation, we need a support, a reference point. The Buddha gave many. The easiest is to use breathing; it simply follows the movement of breathing, expiration, inspiration … By being one with our breath, with the movement of air entering and leaving, people can get away gradually from the restrictions, and then the spirit can take its proper motion. Anyway, we do not own our thoughts and letting them go where they want is permitting them to leave. Practicing this way, we will be able to phase out the Supports and the walls to finally use the thought itself as a carrier. The movement of thought will bring us back to meditation. And from moment to moment, whenever a thought arises, it will relinquish and it will free itself. From thought to thought, we will leave the spirit free itself and a relaxed spirit, without attachment, will pacify itself.
A proper position of the body is also necessary.
The key is to have the back straight, shoulders relaxed,
neither to forward nor to far back,
the head in the extension of the back, the face relaxed,
because it is the site of many tensions.
If you sit in fine clothes, great,
if you sit on a chair that’s fine too.
The key is to be comfortable, right hand and left hand resting on the legs, palms up. The feet should be placed on the ground.
Do not cross the legs or arms, you will prevent the energy to move freely! Eyes remain closed.
Putting the body in the right position and the spirit in a vigilant relaxation, being aware of what happens when it happens, then we have everything to pacify the mind and regain its clarity.
If we want to get success in meditation, it is necessary “to practice with regularity, we must find daily our meditation cushion, watching the spirit and his movement. This is not a question of meditating long but often, the morning and evening regularly. A long period of meditation for a beginner would only strengthen the will and the distraction. Short sessions can find the freshness and the spirit is renewed.
A spirit that is meditating is a fresh spirit. It is said that the one that meditates is like a stupid shepherd because he is sitting there, watching his sheep and he does nothing, just happy to see them. The one meditating is like a shepherd with silly thoughts, he watches them go, here and there, he does nothing, he just lets them. The spirit of meditation is like a child who enters a temple for the first time he is faced with many colors and shapes, and is amazed. We should be surprised at every thought!
Without trial, without intervention, the spirit of one meditating is like space, it is totally unobstructed; anything can take place because everything is there, and everything is within us.
It opens and it relaxes the spirit, life is easier.
Every thing will rise then take place and then be released.