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Building stronger mind-body connections
A Basic Meditation
BY SHYALPA RENZIN RINPOCHE by Shyalpa Tenzin Rinpoche
It is a misunderstanding to think that the practice of meditation is merely a method for relieving stress and achieving peace for oneself, alone. In Buddhist tradition, the act of practicing meditation should be approached as a means to beneﬁt others. In the same way, the momentum that grows out of this practice should also be dedicated to the welfare of all beings. Each time you sit down to meditate, make your practice an offering for all beings. Recognize that everyone is looking for ways to ﬁnd happiness just as you are. Meditation is a means to this end. Sustained meditation practice will bring you joy, and a joyful mind will naturally beneﬁt others. Resolve to meditate with this unselﬁsh attitude. When we begin meditation, we should ﬁrst learn how to focus. Some discipline is required in order to be attentive in the moment and experience it fully. Most of the time, we are unable to focus our attention and are easily distracted. Our minds wander, and we are easily mesmerized by our perceptions and thoughts. We have a difﬁcult time remaining focused.
relax and tell yourself. If you were to suddenly encounter a tiger in the jungle and were overcome with fear.com * FEBRUARY 2012 | 53 . Once you feel refreshed. If so. Throughout your day. Slowly settle into your breathing by counting the in and out movement of your breath 21 times. beyond the tip of your nose. perhaps just ﬁve minutes. this practice can be quite challenging. Obviously. you will lose your focus. or Shanghai. you might feel that you are struggling with your mind. the dirt will naturalsolutionsmag. it will take all of your attention and resolve. like a monkey leaping from tree to tree. The mind is running around like a restless monkey all the time. Similarly. Maintaining unwavering attention for ﬁve minutes is much better than getting lost in distraction for ﬁve hours. when you meditate. such as the form of the Buddha. Practice meditation for whatever length of time you wish. If you can hold your attention steady for ﬁve minutes. Observe how long you can hold the object of your attention without wandering. breathe naturally. Touch the tip of your tongue lightly to the roof of your mouth. Once you have adjusted your body and settled into your breathing. Staying with the object without drifting away is very difﬁcult. but most likely. You could select one aspect. You can move your body. Proceed like this—concentrating and then relaxing— for perhaps half an hour to an hour. go wherever you like!” Let your mind wander as far as Paris. If you ﬁnd yourself thinking about your stock portfolio or that you forgot to turn on the dishwasher. When you begin. you can practice this meditation technique whenever you have some free time. focus on a speciﬁc object. you are sleeping better. After meditating for ﬁve minutes. gently bring it back. You will be alert and prepared to face any challenge when you keep your eyes open. Let’s explore one approach: Sit up straight. When you notice that your mind has wandered away from its focal point. dance. New York. sit with your legs crossed.There are many ways to practice meditation. However. in the beginning. you are a great meditator already! Most likely. This could be an actual statue or an image visualized in the mind’s eye. The value of your stock portfolio is a mundane matter and your dirty dishes can wait. closing your eyes would not make the tiger run away. closing your eyes will not make your distracting thoughts and feelings disappear. without overexerting yourself. Practice for whatever length of time you ﬁnd comfortable. stretch. “You spoiled brat. or go a little crazy. and look straight ahead. Raise your tongue to the roof of your mouth again and concentrate. You may think you can meditate more effectively with your eyes closed. If you become drowsy. return to your meditation again for ﬁve more minutes. If possible. even for the most advanced practitioners. I would advise you not to close your eyes. This basic practice of focusing attention is important. practice for short periods. jumping from one thought to the next. keep your eyes open. such as the Buddha’s gentle eyes or his golden color. If you allow a glass full of muddy water to sit undisturbed. your tongue will drop down and rouse you from your slumber. return your attention to the Buddha’s image. you are not meditating better.
buffering you against serious injury. the trials and tribulations—the highs and lows—of your day-to-day life will not disturb you too much. In the case of the second sublime practice. This is the second practice and the core of the three practices. We dedicate our most precious essence and all the positive energy that we have accumulated from our practice to the welfare of all beings. After meditating. including myself. After your last sip. Always insure that these practices are inseparable from whatever you do. with | FEBRUARY 2012 * naturalsolutionsmag. Steady discipline. which we do mindfully. you will preserve this positive energy. you will experience lucidity and pure presence. rejoice and 54 dedicate the fruits of your practice to all beings. this will pale in comparison to the rewards of a regular meditation practice. rest in a sublime state. there are three sublime practices: ""THE FIRST SUBLIME PRACTICE is the generation of a compassionate and loving heart. the fruits of your practice will act like an airbag. You will have the strength and clarity to master challenging situations. You can draw on this energy for the dual beneﬁt of yourself and others. Whatever merit I have gained. You can live without a milliondollar deal. The goal of our practice is to free ourselves from stress and suffering. Even if you are transacting million-dollar business deals. anywhere in the world. and then gradually spend more and more time practicing. Make this aspiration: “Whatever beneﬁt I have gained from this practice. also known as pure intention. Our meditation will be pristine when we recollect. Prepare your tea while generating a compassionate heart. If you allow these teachings to remain only in your head. ""THE SECOND SUBLIME PRACTICE is the activity or practice itself. you have a speciﬁc target. you will respond competently. years. We need to experience these teachings directly and embody them in our lives. As your practice progresses. leaving a glass of pure water. The three sublime practices are the best way to elevate your thinking and walk with dignity on the path of awakening. We dedicate the virtue of every positive action to the beneﬁt of all beings. we should endeavor to practice. Practice by focusing and holding your attention. Even if the discipline of meditation does not come easily. the truth of the teachings will unfold within the depths of your heart. and pray that they may be liberated from suffering and awaken to enlightenment. In this tradition. but you cannot live without inner peace and well-being. Finally. May everyone. This is the ﬁrst practice. Like a king in command of his subjects. but instead we dedicate this positive energy so that someday the enlightened qualities of every being will manifest. Every moment is a new moment. For instance. There will be a more intimate connection between your meditation practice and whatever comes up in your life. combined with joyful effort. you will master your mind and emotions. follow your breath attentively. we must embrace the practice of meditation. It will calm your mind. while remaining in the natural state. Set aside a little time for meditation. you will have more space and less stress. I dedicate it for the welfare of all sentient beings. We cannot actualize this freedom using a purely intellectual approach. You will carry yourself in a majestic way and experience the regal qualities of your wakeful nature. you could carelessly misuse the rest of your precious human life. and lifetimes. dedicate the enjoyment of your drink for all beings. If your life swerves off the road and crashes. So be good to yourself. If you cannot discipline yourself in this way. may the residual effects last for many days. and with sustained practice. the perfect dedication is to dissolve your merit in the unconditional state. With joy. if your activity is meditation on the breath. simply drinking a cup of tea becomes genuine meditation because of the three sublime practices. This is why I strongly recommend the practice of meditation. beneﬁt from the wisdom and clarity accumulated in this practice. In this way. you could easily ﬁnd yourself behaving like a spoiled and pampered child who feels helpless when confronted with a challenging situation. no matter what the circumstances.inner balance settle to the bottom. so we need a fresh approach to meditation that can be practiced by everyone. Merit refers to the wholesome and positive momentum that grows from our practice. Endeavor to practice some form of meditation each day. Make a profound deal with yourself to practice every day. We have to tame our neuroses and pacify our restless minds.” By making this dedication.com . ""THE THIRD SUBLIME PRACTICE is the dedication of merit. In the Buddhist tradition. Everyone must master this discipline before they can proceed further in their practice. until all beings attain enlightenment. When you develop the capacity to be present. In this way. As beginners. Then drink the cup of tea with complete mindfulness. even something as simple as drinking a cup of tea. The ﬁrst and last are quite straightforward. free from distraction. is the best way to respect and care for yourself. you will begin to reap the rewards. The rays of the sun provide warmth for all creatures without discrimination. Even if chaotic or fearsome events turn your world upside-down. and your practice will grow stronger in the future. Practicing this simple technique of focusing and restoring your attention when your mind wanders will pacify your restless thoughts. and at the same time be mindful of its ephemeral quality. Apply these three sublime practices in all of your activities. When you practice meditation. This is not a practice for beginners only. the pure intention to beneﬁt all sentient beings. since your body and mind will be more relaxed. We begin each activity with the positive intention that our action will be of beneﬁt to others. we do not hold on to the merit that we have accumulated for our own beneﬁt alone.
Proceed in a relaxed and natural manner. chanting prayers. there is nothing left to meditate on because the mind is no longer distracted! There is nothing more to grow accustomed to. All other methods of meditation are steps that lead us toward this all-pervasive awareness. True practice means learning to handle every situation skillfully. If you must have a quiet and secluded place to meditate. Nonmeditation is the ultimate meditation. with moment-tomoment awareness we can manage any situation. Printed with permission from New World Library. This is moment-to-moment awareness and the perfection of nonmeditation. Whatever comes. This dynamic form of meditation can be practiced nonstop. and quietly meditating. Once you realize the truth. Whatever you are doing. We have to survive and navigate the strains and stresses of everyday life. Moment-to-moment awareness is the supreme form of meditation. Each thought has no dwelling place or destination. When you are alert and aware. your practice is still ordinary. do it comfortably. but a tool that helps us discover or “get used to” the true nature of mind. When resting in the mind’s nature. there will be no one to suffer or experience any torment. Shyalpa Renzin Rinpoche is the son of spiritual Buddhists and a renowned Tibetan Buddhist spiritual leader. However. We should not spoil a single moment with an unwholesome thought. the basic goodness in all beings. You will experience thoughts arising one after the other.inner balance an open heart. you will not get lost in your thoughts. naturalsolutionsmag. At this point. the “possessor” of these thoughts will eventually disappear. showing how these centuries old practices help people ﬁnd meaning and satisfaction by living each moment fully. It will be clear that you are not your thoughts and that your thoughts do not deﬁne you. When you train this way. you are capable of handling it because everything is self-liberated as it arises. Recognizing the essence of one’s mind and learning to remain in this essence is true meditation. This is what we need the most because life is often chaotic and challenging. Buddhist practice is not simply a matter of reciting mantras. Adapted from the book Living Fully: Finding Joy in Every Breath ©2012 by Shyalpa Tenzin Rinpoche. In Tibetan. There is no time to be narrowminded or territorial. He celebrates Buddhist philosophy and tradition. meditation means “getting used to.com * FEBRUARY 2012 | 55 . Thoughts are like the ﬂight of a bird through the sky: the path of the bird leaves no trace. as life is too precious to waste. A thought comes and it goes.” We could say that meditation is not the goal. you no longer need the tool. so that living itself becomes meditation.
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