“You’re not the limited, anxious person you think you are. Any trained Buddhist teacher can tell you with all the conviction of personal experience that really, you’re the very heart of compassion, completely aware, and fully capable of achieving the greatest good, not only for yourself, but for everyone and everything you can imagine.” Yongey Mingyur Rinpoche
You can replace the word “anxious” for any troubling emotion that personally plagues you like anger, depression, frustration, low self-esteem and so forth. Your true nature is naturally peaceful, it is never touched by these difficult emotions. It is like a wide open sky, not the thoughts and emotions that pass through it. You are not the emotions; they are just temporary phenomena.
So how do you come to know your true nature, which is currently obscured by an unending stream of dualistic thinking and emotional uprisings?
Meditation is the key
Meditation is the key to both calming and settling the mind as well as seeing it’s true essence. However, in the West, there is so much misunderstanding about what meditation truly is and often the assumption that it’s only meant for people who want to live their life sheltered away from the rest of the world.
In the Tibetan language, one of the words used for meditation is “gom,” which means getting used to or becoming familiar with. Meditation is simply the process of becoming familiar with your own true nature.
Mingyur Rinpoche tells us:
“According to the Buddha, the basic nature of mind can be directly experienced simply by allowing the mind to rest simply as it is.”
How do you accomplish this? Here’s a three-minute exercise from Mingyur Rinpoche to give you a feel for what resting the mind is like.
An exercise in non-meditation
“This is not a meditation exercise. In fact, it’s an exercise in ‘non-meditation’ — a very old Buddhist practice that, as my father explained it, takes the pressure off thinking you have to achieve a goal or experience some sort of special state. In non-meditation, we just watch whatever happens without interfering. We are merely interested observers of a kind of introspective experiment, with no investment in how the experiment turns out.
Of course, when I first learned this, I was a pretty goal oriented child. I wanted something wonderful to happen every time I sat down to meditate. So it took me a while to get the hang of just resting, just looking, and letting go of the results.
First, assume a position in which your spine is straight, and your body is relaxed. Once your body is positioned comfortably, allow your mind to simply rest for three minutes or so. Just let your mind go, as though you’ve just finished a long and difficult task.
Whatever happens, whether thoughts or emotions occur, whether you notice some physical discomfort, whether you’re aware of sounds or smells around you, or you mind is a total blank, don’t worry. Anything that happens—or doesn’t happen—is simply part of the experience of allowing your mind to rest.
So now, just rest in the awareness of whatever is passing through your mind…
Just rest …
Just rest …
When the three minutes are up, ask yourself. How was that experience? Don’t judge it; don’t try to explain it. Just review what happened and how you felt.. You might have experienced a brief taste of peace or openness. That’s good. Or you might have been aware of a million different thoughts, feelings and sensations. That’s also good. Why? Because either way, as long as you have maintained at least a bare awareness of what you were thinking or feeling, you’ve had a direct experience of your mind just performing its natural functions.”
I invite you to take three minutes to try out this exercise.
In my next post, I will include the excerpts in which Mingyur Rinpoche confides the big secret of what meditation actually is and describes the difference between meditation and the ordinary thinking mind. Stay tuned for the big secret.
Source: The Joy of Living, Unlocking the Secret & Science of Happiness by Yongey Mingyur Rinpoche
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