Meditation as a journey and practice: A personal reflection for insight into coming back to center.

“Breathing in, I know I am breathing in. Breathing out. I know I am breathing out,” I repeat this in my head over and over again as I imagine a wheel of breath turning inside my belly. This is where I go back to when I find myself daydreaming or experiencing anxiety. When I find myself veering off the road of meditation I have noticed it often comes from a place of anxiety and self-doubt. Learning to turn towards uncomfortable feelings, touch them and leave them has been the most helpful in softening my critical voice.

I am under the firm belief that the more aware I am of my actions in daily life, the more pleasant and relaxing my meditation practice will become. I keep my room tidy, I stay on a schedule and map out my academics so not to be distracted. I attempt to continue to be aware of my actions. I can set up my training wheels to continue to bring me back to the cushion, but when I believe that my words are too many or notice I am not actually engaging in active listening or I may have harmed someone, it is hard for me not to experience spinning thoughts. Sometimes the angst is so great, I would rather just daydream. In light of my self observation of actions and the uneasiness it has caused I began to go to the Shambhala Center on Monday evenings and it has seemed to take away the edge. When you’re surrounded by others meditating it makes it difficult to leave the room, you have nothing left to do but turn toward yourself, sense yourself actually being and see what is going on within. The biggest insight into this self perceived problem of when I am under the impression that my words are too much, I need to meditate and actively listen to my thoughts. When I hear my thoughts practicing radical acceptance has proven to be helpful in softening the blows. If I am feeling aversion to meditating, that is when I need to meditate the most! Turn towards my uncomfort and use my emotions as a tool; as I learned in class, touch it and let it go. When aversion is happening I have learned to either go to my daily yoga practice and arrive 15 minutes early; and on my mat I breathe, or I take myself on a hike without any distractions where I sense the world around me and focus on my breath. When I wander or feel anxiety arising, I focus back to what I have learned in class, reminding myself that I am here now, that I can both listen and speak. I have created an alter with all my stones, buddhas, incense and singing bowls. My cushions lay all around and my diffuser is not far away. In a well lit space in my room, meditation becomes enticing (take that silly demons!). With a daily yoga practice, regular hiking adventures, weekly classes at school and an altar in my room; sitting down with myself is becoming more like brushing teeth than washing the dog.

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Through this universal Life Energy, we can connect in a positive, accepting, loving way.

This is just one of the many ideas of Virginia Satir’s Transformational Systematic Therapy. The idea of her workings to me are something I strongly believe in.I have a firm stance that at human is made of matter(body) and energy (brain) coupled with a sense of spirit. 

So why do some therapies not address the spirit, or vital energies and life forces?  As one of the only living animals on this earth that can ponder what happens after life, it makes sense to take care of this energy source while it is alive. 

Satir has an in-depth therapy system that has worked across the world and for the past 70 years. Below lists basics concepts I like to live by and hope to understand more in-depth for the benefit of my life and clients.

1. Human beings are all unique manifestations of the same Universal Life Force. Through this universal Life Energy, we can connect in a positive, accepting, loving way. 2. Human processes are universal; all human beings experience themselves through doing, thinking, feeling, expecting, yearning and spiritual connection. Therefore, these human processes can be accessed and changed regardless of different environments, cultures, and circumstances.

3. People are basically good. At their core, essential level of Life Energy, people are naturally positive. They need to find this internal treasure to connect with and validate their own self-worth.

4. People all have the internal resources they need in order to cope successfully with whatever situations life provides and to grow through them. All necessary internal resources reside within, even those that people may have learned to judge in a negative way or those that are as yet undiscovered.

5. The “problem” is not the problem; how people cope with their problem is the problem. How seriously the person experiences the problem through the meanings they make, their worries and their copings, impacts on how great a problem it becomes for them.

6. The symptom is the subconscious solution to the problem, even if it creates dysfunctional patterns. It is the result of the person’s attempt to survive the pain of their problem. Although the person’s perceived problem needs to be heard and validated, therapeutic change needs to work on wholesome solutions from the person’s Life Energy and yearnings.

7. Therapy needs to focus on health and possibilities instead of problems and pathology. Life Energy is naturally positively directional and therapy needs to tap into the natural process of human growth in a positive direction. 8. Change is always possible. Even if

8. Change is always possible. Even if external change is limited, internal change is still possible. We can learn to be consciously responsible for and decide how we will live on our insides, even when the outside cannot change.

9. We cannot change past events; we can only change the impact that the past events have had on us. It is possible to resolve impacts from the past in order to live with more positive energy and be free of old hurts, angers, fears and negative messages in the present.

10. People do the best they can at any moment in time. Even when they have done very negative or destructive things, it is the best coping that they were capable of at that moment in time and is a reflection of their level of self-worth. Therefore, there is no reason to blame them for their past failures. Helping them experience their positively directional Life Energy will help them make new choices for the present and future.

11. Feelings belong to us. We all have them and can learn to be in charge of them. We can be responsible for them and make choices about them. We can listen to the positive life message from our feelings and give ourselves the validation we need. We can choose to let go of feelings that create negative energies and events and replace them with acceptance, appreciation, forgiveness, love and peace.

12. Wholeness, growth and evolution are natural human processes and, therefore, need to be the focus of any therapeutic change. Transformational change comes from the level of Life Energy and is a part of natural human growth and evolution. It means that people are becoming more of their true, spiritual Selves rather than their reactive, survival systems.

13. The therapist’s use of Self is the greatest therapeutic tool that the therapist has to create the conditions to facilitate positively directional, transformational change. Therapists who experience their own positively directional Life Energy are able to provide clients with therapeutic relationships based on care, acceptance and new possibilities. The therapist often experiences the positive nature of the client’s Life Energy even before the client does and connects with the client at that level.

14. Hope is a significant component or ingredient for change to take place. When the therapist experiences the positive nature of the client’s true Self, hope becomes a tangible aspect of the therapeutic process and guides the way towards change.

(Aspects taken from a briefing by Dr. John Banmen, RPsych, RMFT & Kathlyne Maki-Banmen, MA, RCC)

Fear

A simple meditation for being with your fears

Sometimes high up in the forest, I find a rock to perch upon. Sometimes, I read, other times I meditate but when I want to come back to reality and lose my fears of the future; I do this.

I find the highest rock. I find an area that seems comfortable to me, I stand tall and close my eyes. I stand there until I completely forget where I am, losing time and space. Gaining a fleeting feeling as if I am hovering above the earth.

rtable to me, I stand tall and close my eyes. I stand there until I completely forget where I am, losing time and space. Gaining a fleeting feeling as if I am hovering above the earth.

All I think about is this:

Do I trust myself deeply? Decisions, actions, future, past.

I trust myself deeply, decisions, actions, future, past all happened because I trust myself deeply.

I go through this until I mean exactly what I say.
Knowing that the universe provides always. Every time I close my eyes, I know I trust myself & the universe.

What am I going through:

Lately, I have been doing this often as my path to graduate school begins very soon. I look at where this beautiful life journey has brought me. In the beginning, I was upset I did not take this journey sooner, then I feared if it would be worth the money and as the time to descend to Boulder; I can’t help but think of how I will once again be leaving a home I just created for myself. I will be out of my element, standing out as me, the girl from California among a class of 40 other students from mostly the east coast. I have not been in a classroom since I graduated in 2012 from Fresno State. I will be asked to write & then I will be critiqued on my writing. I love to write but I fear, like so many times in the past, it just won’t be good enough. Will my conservative, liberal thoughts not be accepted by my peers? Do I realllllly want to do this? When I am feeling scared, alone or just not me, I can’t hop in the car to see the people who make me feel the best. The universe always provides, ALWAYS provides what it is & exactly what you need, the faith in me for that is deep. So while these fears are so apparent, my meditation has always gotten me to let go of these fears.

So I meditate like this

Knowing that the universe provides always. Every time I close my eyes, I know I trust myself & the universe.

Mother Earth

Today I laid arms spread wide as if I was hugging the earth.

I was supposed to be doing yoga, but half way through a posture I found myself hugging the earth.

Something inside of me deeply needed this.

And as I lay holding on to this beautiful mass we walk on every day, I felt my body melting. My mind completely still I felt it, I felt the beat of the earth.

It was at that moment, my belief in Mother Earth was greatly deepened, it was as if she was hugging back.

Mother Earth has been my support she has felt every heartbreak of every living soul, she has  witnessed every birth and will all over her cores energy, she holds us down.

Today, I lay on the ground, hugging the earth and I swear I felt Mother Earths heartbeat.

Today I became more of a human than I have ever been in my life.

Today I know, I am me.

Thank you, Mother Earth.

Forgotten

Why do I feel so forgotten lately?

It reminds me of when I was younger and my Dad was supposed to pick me up on Wednesdays from school and bring me to practice. He missed three weeks in a row before I decided to find my own way.

Its this knot that builds very low inside me. Slow building a rope that rises up through my head. Eventually cutting off my senses, I become cold, insecure and weak.

It is a feeling like not knowing if tomorrow the sun will rise.

This thought is ever lasting that there is something damaged about me, something that no one wants.

So every day I fall more madly in love with myself because I will always know who and where I am. That is what meditation has taught me to do, know my truth.

At some point, I think this can be so obsessive and how can I find a love that won’t forget me if I don’t forget myself. How can I receive with no hand to give hold to in return?

But self-loving is not just loving myself it is being selfless to others.

Giving yourself to others through simple actions. Choosing not to engage, to ignore anger, and show undenying love and affection to those who are in need of it, because I have so much for myself, everyone needs it too.

When I am not self-loving I destroy myself, breakdown and become someone I hate.

We all do.

So I choose every moment, to take it(life) as it is.

To remind myself to smile because no one likes a frowny friend.

To remind myself to be selfless because that is how you receive self.

Writing this to remind myself that this is who I am.

Practicing this & repeating these actions over and over can only change my life.

Each time I practice, the gaps in my selfishness becomes less and less.

 

This will be who I am, NOT FORGOTTEN.

Why yoga?

Why yoga?

Why yoga?

Why yoga?

This took me a while to contemplate because there are so many reasons why!

Because I don’t think I ever knew who I truly was. I started yoga as a way to clear my mind after I first started my 7:30 AM – 6:00 PM job (who willingly does that to themselves?) and had recently been diagnosed with Hashimoto’s. I read an article online that Bikram Yoga could rebalance my hormones, so I bought my first Groupon and was on my way. I did 20 out of the 30 days of class and saw my life radically transform, after staring at myself half naked in a hot room full of 40 other people, I started to see my body for what it is. I was able to concentrate more and my depressive habits began to subside. As I deepened my practice going from studio to studio throughout California I noticed that I no longer felt the need to drink heavily in social situations and could actually articulate my thoughts with confidence. I no longer found the need to get stoned or chain smoke when I was anxious I just met the mat.

When I finally did my 200-hour teacher training at Purusha, I learned about the Siddhis and how yoga can cleanse you of the siddhis. Yoga cleansed my life without me even knowing it. I HAD TO WHOLEHEARTEDLY BELIEVE THAT YOGA SAVED ME. Through yoga, I not only found my voice but discovered exactly who I am and what I am meant to be. That’s why yoga.

That’s why; yoga.

Yoga chose me, I did not choose yoga.

Day 17 – GIVING

The following meditation is from The New Meditation Handbook, by Geshe Kelsang Gyatso

17. GIVING

Purpose: To put our wishing love into practice.

We first think: “All these mother living beings are seeking happiness in life after life. They all want to be happy but there is no real happiness anywhere in samsara. I will now give them the supreme happiness of permanent inner peace.”

We then imagine that through the power of our pure intention of wishing love and great accumulation of merit, our body transforms into the nature of a wish fulfilling jewel, which has the power to fulfill the wishes of each and every living being. Infinite light rays radiate from our body and pervade the entire universe, reaching the body and minds of all living beings and bestowing upon them the supreme happiness of permanent inner peace. We strongly believe that all living beings experience this inner peace.

Object of meditation: The strong belief that all living beings experience this inner peace.

 Reflection:

This meditation holds depths for me. It is similar to my life dream that I often repeat to myself when I am clarifying my intentions for this life.

I dream that I can be successful enough to give my time to other beings. I can give my life without fear or being homeless or poor and share with others the gifts of the world.

Day 16 – WISHING LOVE

The following meditation is from The New Meditation Handbook, by Geshe Kelsang Gyatso

16. WISHING LOVE

Purpose: To gain the actual power to bestow pure happiness upon all living beings.

These living beings wish to be happy all the time but they do not know how to fulfill this wish. The happiness they experience from worldly enjoyments is not real happiness – it is just changing suffering, a temporary reduction of previous manifest suffering. None of these countless living beings experiences real and everlasting happiness.

Object of meditation: Generate and hold the strong wish that all living beings experience real and everlasting happiness.

Reflection

I have a strong wish that all living beings experience true and lasting happiness deep within themselves.

Day 15- TAKING

The following meditation is from The New Meditation Handbook, by Geshe Kelsang Gyatso

15. TAKING

Purpose: To purify our mind of self-cherishing and negative actions, to accumulate great merit, and, in particular, to strengthen our compassionate activities.

We begin by generating the superior intention: “I myself will liberate all living beings from their suffering.” Motivated by this superior intention we pray: “May all the suffering, obstacles, and fear of every living being ripen upon me, and may they thereby be freed from all problems.” We then strongly believe that the suffering, fears, and obstacles of all living beings gather in the aspect of black smoke, which dissolves into our heart, destroying our self cherishing and freeing all living beings from their suffering.

Object of meditation: The strong belief that the suffering, fears and obstacles of all living beings gather in the aspect of black smoke, which dissolves into our heart, destroying our self cherishing and freeing all living beings from their suffering.

Reflection:

This is something that I can get on board with. To take others fears, sufferings and obstacles and show them that it is all black smoke. While in the past, the smoke has been hard for me to see through, as I continue to deepen my practice, black smoke is merely air.

As I find this to be more true, I find a strong belief that all others sufferings can be destroyed through giving loving kindness and compassion.

Day 14 – GREAT COMPASSION

The following meditation is from The New Meditation Handbook, by Geshe Kelsang Gyatso

14. GREAT COMPASSION

Purpose: To generate a mind that sincerely wishes to liberate all living beings from suffering.

I cannot bear the suffering of these countless mother beings. Trapped in the prison of samsara, they have to experience again and again, in life after life, endlessly, the immense sufferings of birth, sickness, ageing, and death, having to part with what they like, having to encounter what they do not like, and failing to satisfy their desires.

Object of meditation: Generate strong wish to release all living beings from contaminated rebirth and suffering.

Reflection:

In many ways it is hard for me to agree with this. While I would like everyone to have a beautiful life now and forever, to look at others actions and to judge them in a way to say they will or will not have a contaminated rebirth and suffering is outside of my scope of beliefs. I hold to say, “They will overcome their weaknesses to find true happiness”

Day 13 – EXCHANGING SELF WITH OTHERS

The following meditation is from The New Meditation Handbook, by Geshe Kelsang Gyatso

13. EXCHANGING SELF WITH OTHERS

Purpose: To exchange the object of our cherishing from ourself to others.

Since beginningless time, in life after life, I have been a slave to my self-cherishing mind. I have trusted it implicitly and obeyed its every command, believing that the way to solve my problems and find happiness is to put myself before everyone else. I have worked so hard for so long for my own sake, but what do I have to show for it? Have I solved all my problems and found the lasting happiness I desire? No. It is clear that pursuing my own selfish interests has deceived me. After having indulged my self-cherishing for so many lives now is the time to realise that it simply does not work. Now is the time to switch the object of my cherishing from myself to all living beings.

Make the strong determination: “I must abandon self-cherishing and cherish only others.”

Reflection:


I am happy for you.

My heart is happy for you.

My spirit is happy for you.

THE UNIVERSE IS HAPPY FOR YOU.

 

Day 11 – THE DISADVANTAGES OF SELF-CHERISHING

Prior to reading this meditation, I read this prayer aloud a few times. I enjoy it because it does not mention the word god. God in my world describes the universal unknown. While some choose to say he walked this earth, I still have my doubts which is why I like alternative words for the greater not narrowing life to one creator.

PRAYER OF THE STAGES OF THE PATH

BY JE TSONGKHAPA

The path begins with strong reliance
On my kind Teacher, source of all good;
O Bless me with this understanding
To follow him with great devotion.

This human life with all its freedoms,
Extremely rare, with so much meaning;
O Bless me with this understanding
All day and night to seize its essence.

My body, like a water bubble,
Decays and dies so very quickly;
After death come results of karma,
Just like the shadow of a body.

With this firm knowledge and remembrance
Bless me to be extremely cautious,
Always avoiding harmful actions
And gathering abundant virtue.

Samsara’s pleasures are deceptive,
Give no contentment, only torment;
So please bless me to strive sincerely
To gain the bliss of perfect freedom.

O Bless me so that from this pure thought
Come mindfulness and greatest caution,
To keep as my essential practice
The doctrine’s root, the Pratimoksha.

Just like myself all my kind mothers
Are drowning in samsara’s ocean;
O So that I may soon release them,
Bless me to train in bodhichitta.

But I cannot become a Buddha
By this alone without three ethics;
So bless me with the strength to practise
The Bodhisattva’s ordination.

By pacifying my distractions
And analyzing perfect meanings,
Bless me to quickly gain the union
Of special insight and quiescence.

When I become a pure container
Through common paths, bless me to enter
The essence practice of good fortune,
The supreme vehicle, Vajrayana.

The two attainments both depend on
My sacred vows and my commitments;
Bless me to understand this clearly
And keep them at the cost of my life.

By constant practice in four sessions,
The way explained by holy Teachers,
O Bless me to gain both the stages,
Which are the essence of the Tantras.

May those who guide me on the good path,
And my companions all have long lives;
Bless me to pacify completely
All obstacles, outer and inner.

May I always find perfect Teachers,
And take delight in holy Dharma,
Accomplish all grounds and paths swiftly,
And gain the state of Vajradhara.

 

The following meditation is from The New Meditation Handbook, by Geshe Kelsang Gyatso

11. THE DISADVANTAGES OF SELF-CHERISHING

Purpose: To remember the many faults and disadvantages of self-cherishing.

Nothing causes me greater harm than the demon of my self-cherishing. It is the source of all my negativity, misfortune, problems and suffering.

Make the strong determination: “I must abandon my self-cherishing.”

Reflection

This statement I really enjoy. Deep into reflection I feel it to be supremely true. When I look at the times I have been the most distressed many of the times have been because of my own self-cherishing or others self-cherishing.

Self-cherishing is greed.

While a good amount of self-cherishing is healthy by accepting, acknowledging and celebrating that your body is a temple. Too much can only cause great pain.

The first and best lesson my father taught me when running sprints was to never look at the guy behind you.

I never really understood why he said this but when I ran sprint I never dared take a peek behind me. Any inclining of doubt in what someone may have that I did not, I knew was not good for me. So as I progressed through out my life, I learned to pay no attention to what others were doing. Because of this others find me to be EXTREMELY competitive, inside when I hear this I laugh. Most people see all that they desire in those who have mastered this skill undeniably, not knowing what they want is to not see themselves as a value. Knowing that I am no more or no less than others only makes me my truest self. In some ways, this can be seen as extreme self-cherishing. But here is the way I see it.

Sally has a nice car, a nice house, and a killer body.

Ren has a car, a house, and a body.

Ren meets Sally, the entire time Ren is with Sally she looks at herself and say’s “I want what she has”. So Ren works tirelessly, each day she works to get what Sally has, each day she looks in the mirror telling herself she is not good enough because Sally has it all. Each day she is instilling negativity, doubt, and suffering deep within herself.

When Ren finally attains what Sally has, she will no longer be capable of having inner peace because of the long installation of negativity, doubt, and suffering.

 

Day 12- THE ADVANTAGES OF CHERISHING OTHERS

The following meditation is from The New Meditation Handbook, by Geshe Kelsang Gyatso

12. THE ADVANTAGES OF CHERISHING OTHERS

Purpose: To remember the many benefits and advantages of cherishing others.

The precious mind that cherishes all living beings protects both myself and others from suffering brings happiness and fulfils our wishes.

Make the strong determination: “I must always cherish all living beings.”

Reflection:

This can often be hard to remember always. We get in a rush, we get upset at other simple mistakes. We forget to put ourselves in others shoes. We forget that all beings could have been our mother. But if we take a deep breath and say, I must cherish all living beings. Carrying this mantra throughout my day.

 

Day 10 – EQUALIZING SELF AND OTHERS

The following meditation is from The New Meditation Handbook, by Geshe Kelsang Gyatso

10. EQUALIZING SELF AND OTHERS

Purpose: To share our feeling of cherishing so that we come to cherish ourself and all living beings equally.

I will cherish myself and others equally because:

1. All living beings have shown me great kindness in both this and previous lives.

2. Just as I wish to be free from suffering and experience only happiness, so do all other beings. In this respect, I am no different from any other being; we are all equal.

3. I am only one, while others are countless, so how can I cherish myself alone while I neglect to cherish others? My happiness and suffering are insignificant when compared with the happiness and suffering of all other living beings.

Object of meditation: Generate and hold a strong feeling of cherishing all living beings equally.

Reflection

I am a part of a large world with many others just like me. I will cherish others so others can cherish me.

 

Day 8 – RECOGNIZING THAT ALL LIVING BEINGS ARE OUR MOTHERS

The following meditation is from The New Meditation Handbook, by Geshe Kelsang Gyatso

8. RECOGNIZING THAT ALL LIVING BEINGS ARE OUR MOTHERS

Purpose: To enhance our affectionate love for all living beings

Since it is impossible to find a beginning to my mental continuum, it follows that I have taken countless rebirths in the past. And if I have had countless rebirths, I must have had countless mothers. Where are these mothers now? They are all the living beings alive today.

Object of meditation: The recognition that all living beings are our mothers.

Reflection

I find this statement to hold heavy weight. Not only are we mothers in past lives but we are mothers of our own actions, thoughts, and current life.  Every moment we live is an opportunity to birth a moment of beauty. We make a conscious choice to create something wonderful or kill our unborn happiness when we live in a state of unconsciousness or are un-intentional with our own actions.

 

Prayer of Refuge and Bodhicitta       

I take refuge until I am enlightened
In the Buddhas, the Dharma and the Sangha.
Through the merit, I create by practicing giving
and the other perfectionsMay I attain

May I attain enlightenment for the sake of all
sentient beings.

The following meditation is from The New Meditation Handbook, by Geshe Kelsang Gyatso

7. DEVELOPING EQUANIMITY

Purpose: To free our mind from unbalanced attitudes

There is no sense in feeling attached to someone who appears attractive, feeling aversion toward someone who appears unattractive, or feeling indifferent toward someone who is neither attractive nor unattractive. Someone who appears attractive to me can be the object of aversion to others; someone who appears unattractive to me can be the object of attachment to others; and someone to whom I feel indifferent can be the object of attachment or aversion to others. There is no certainty. The appearances of attractiveness, unattractiveness and indifference are only my own mistaken projections; and they make my mind unbalanced, unpeaceful, and destroy my happiness.

Make the strong determination: “I must stop these unbalanced minds, and develop and maintain equanimity – an equally warm and friendly attitude toward all living beings.”

Reflection:

I feel like this is something I have easily done throughout my life. Not to judge someone based on what they look like or where they came from, what I need to continuously remind myself is that people’s actions are often times results of their past. I need to be more kind and open to others when their actions I feel are not respectable.

I must be more warm, friendly and accepting of all living beings. Not joking about other cultures or jumping to assumptions.

I will be more warm, friendly and accepting. – This is my new mantra, I have written it down & will repeat it daily.

Day 6 – DEVELOPING RENUNCIATION FOR SAMSARA

The following meditation is from The New Meditation Handbook, by Geshe Kelsang Gyatso

6. DEVELOPING RENUNCIATION FOR SAMSARA

Purpose: To develop the realization of renunciation – the spontaneous wish to attain liberation from samsara.

Unless I attain liberation from samsara – the cycle of contaminated rebirth – I shall have to experience again and again, in life after life, endlessly, the sufferings of birth, sickness, ageing and death, having to part with what I like, having to encounter what I do not like, and failing to satisfy my desires.

Make the strong determination: “I must abandon samsara and attain the supreme inner peace of liberation.”

 

Reflection:

How do I abandon samsara I deeply ponder.

Be a good person.

I will be liberated.

 

Meditation 5 -ACTIONS AND THEIR EFFECTS

Prayer of seven limbs

With my body, speech and mind, humbly I prostate,

And make offerings both set out and imagined.

I confess my wrong deeds from all time,

And rejoice in virtues of all.

Please stay until samsara ceases,

And turn the wheel of Dharma fo us.

I dedicate all virtues to enlightenment.

 

The following meditation is from The New Meditation Handbook, by Geshe Kelsang Gyatso

5. ACTIONS AND THEIR EFFECTS

Purpose: To encourage us to purify non-virtues and to accumulate virtues that cause us to take human rebirth.

If I purify all my non-virtues, there will be no basis for me to take lower rebirth. By accumulating virtue, I shall take a human rebirth possessing freedoms and endowments in future lives. Thus, I can make progress along the path to enlightenment continually, life after life.

Make the strong determination: “I must purify all my non-virtue by sincerely engaging in the practice of confession, and I must put great effort into accumulating virtue.”

Reflection

Be a good person.

This is what speaks to me after deep meditation. I remember living in San Francisco and having actions that did not feel like me. Inside I felt as if I was zinging, living at lightning fast speed, unable to control my surroundings; my actions were non-intentional and I often found myself saying or doing things that were harsh to others.

This to me in living non-virtuously. Affecting the ones in my world by thinking I am something better or of higher value, I can just walk all over my neighbor. Understanding that people make mistakes, slowing down and seeing the world for what it is. Whether this statement is true or not, I will believe in it because it will help me live sincerely and put more effort into gaining virtue.

Buddha said that human rebirth comes from the practice of moral discipline, wealth comes from giving, a beautiful body comes from patience, the fulfilment of spiritual wishes comes from making effort in our Dharma study and practice, inner peace comes from concentration and liberation comes from wisdom.

I like this statement because it is tangeable now and just superficial enough to affect my thoughts deeply. I have a great desire to fulfil my life spiritually, to have a healthy body, to find inner peace and concentrate. So I will take these notes and live patiently, with dicipline, by giving to others, to study and practice and find wisdom within.

 

To make my life and the life of others around me beautiful, I will be a good and patient person, all else will follow.

 

Meditation 4- Refuge Practice

Going for refuge 

I and all sentient beings, until we achieve enlightenment,

Go for refuge to Buddha, Dharma and Sangha.

The following meditation is from The New Meditation Handbook, by Geshe Kelsang Gyatso

4. REFUGE PRACTICE

Purpose: To enable us to attain permanent liberation from lower rebirth

Through receiving Buddha’s blessings and help from the Sangha, I shall accomplish profound Dharma realizations. Through this, I shall attain permanent liberation from lower rebirth.

Make the strong determination: “I must rely upon Buddha, Dharma, and Sangha as my ultimate refuge.”

Reflection:

It is hard for me to have such a strong determination. Deep inside of me I do not admit that there is a higher one power that can save me from all my mistakes. There is something higher that I seek a relationship with, we all have our person, Jesus, Buddha or the knowledge of the seed of life. So I begin to re-rationalize what this may actually mean to me. I do seek refuge in Buddha, that is what meditation is. Deep inside meditation I speak with my true self, my true self-speaks through me. The more I meditate, the more likely I am able to reach my true self for longer and longer periods of time throughout my daily life. I become more intentional. Buddha is just a man assisting me to seek refuge in my love for universal knowledge.

I am a devout human to the earth.

This phrase of relying on Buddha (the one), Dharma (acts of divinity) and Sangha (assistants of Buddha); is hard for me to swallow. I rely on me, my divine soul. To be tethered to one thought that this one celestial being will save me from living in a lower house, I am lost.

But I remember, I am a devout human to the earth and universe.

I will seek refuge in beliefs in something higher than me. My soul, your soul, our soul, that is what Buddha is right?

If I am a devout human to this earth, Buddha, Dharma and his buddies Sangha will assist me in attaining dharma realizations.

One like this: I am a devout human to the earth, universe, and universes unknown.

Meditation 3 – THE DANGER OF LOWER REBIRTH

Prior to beginning my meditation, I repeated this mantra 7 times.

I and all sentient beings, until we achieve enlightenment,

Go for refuge  to Buddha, Dharma, and Sangha.

The following meditation is from The New Meditation Handbook, by Geshe Kelsang Gyatso

3. THE DANGER OF LOWER REBIRTH

Purpose: To encourage us to seek protection from the dangers of lower rebirth.

When the oil of an oil lamp I exhausted, the flame goes out because the flame is produced from the oil; but when our body dies, our consciousness is not extinguished, because consciousness is not produced from the body. When we die, our mind has to leave this present body, which is just a temporary abode, and find another body, rather like a bird leaving one nest to fly to another. Our mind has no freedom to remain and no choice about where to go. We are blown to the place of our next rebirth by the winds of our karma. If the karma that ripens at our death time is negative, we shall definitely take a lower rebirth. Heavy negative karma causes rebirth in hell, less negative karma causes rebirth as a hungry spirit, and the least negative karma causes rebirth as an animal.

It is very easy to commit heavy negative karma. For example, simply by swatting a mosquito out of anger we create the causes to be reborn in hell. Throughout this and all of our countless previous lives, we have committed many heavy negative actions. Unless we have already purified these actions by practicing sincere confession, their potentialities remain in our mental continuum, and any one of the negative potentialities could ripen when we die. Bearing this in mind, we should ask ourself: “If I die today, where shall I be tomorrow? It is quite possible that I shall find myself in the animal realm, among the hungry spirits, or in hell. If someone were to call me a stupid cow today, I would find it difficult to bear, but what shall I do if I should actually become a cow, a pig or a fish?”

Generate a strong fear of taking rebirth in the lower realms. This feeling is the object of our meditation.

Reflection

If I die today, where shall I be tomorrow?

I repeat to myself over and over. Thinking of times I have mistakingly hurt animals or living beings. I am currently seeking refuge in Buddha to overcome mistakes I have made. I am admitting to my wrong doing and seeing that in the future to handle interactions with more grace. The spider that crawls across the wall will be put into a cup and placed outside, not smothered to death. Who knows what happens when we die, I am unsure where my beliefs lie but being a good person to all beings is important. I know my energies will come back to me in this lifetime and in future lives.

What will happen if I actually become a cow, a fish or a pig?

I hope I spawn and be sacrificed for human consumption so that I can be delighted in and graciously die. I can serve my purpose in life and hopefully return to becoming a human so that I can live a more sacred life. So that again I can return to live a more devoted life, free of such damaging mistakes I had made before seeking refuge and denying a higher power.

If I die tomorrow, where will I be?

It is my aim to be enlightened, for every lifetime of mine, to experience living/dying with my soulmate. To truly know and deeply understand what it is to live. To share the intimate experience of creating a life and growing it to become someone we deeply care about and who deeply cares about the world as it is. So when as they develop their own beliefs they will know what it is  not to live in fear of becoming a cow, fish or pig.

 

I’m blowing out my last breath as I write this, smiling to my innerself.

I am finding loser attachment to what is.

Meditation 2 – Death and Impermanence

Prior to beginning this contemplation for meditation, I followed my breath, unchanged, just experiencing what it was like to be alive. In my mind I repeated this:

My breath is life

Everything I project comes to light

My inhale is precious

My exhale is precious

My intake of the world, energies, and beings around me are equally as important as the breath I exhale, the thoughts I project and the actions I create.

I then began the following meditation

The following meditation is from The New Meditation Handbook, by Geshe Kelsang Gyatso

2. DEATH AND IMPERMANENCE

Purpose: To eliminate the laziness of attachment, the main obstacle to practicing Dharma purely.

I shall definitely die. There is no way to prevent my body from finally decaying. Day by day, moment by moment, my life is slipping away. I have no idea when I shall die; the time of death is completely uncertain. Many young people die before their parents, some die the moment they are born – there is no certainty in this world. Furthermore, there are many causes of untimely death. The lives of many strong and healthy people are destroyed by accidents. There is no guarantee I shall not die today.

Repeat: “I may die today. I may die today. I may die today.”
Conclusion and determination: “Since I shall soon have to depart from this world, there is no sense in my becoming attached to the things of this life. Instead, I will devote my whole life to the practice of Dharma.”

Reflection:

If we lose attachment to the things we find pleasure in, what is the point of living? This part of Buddhism I find very hard to see the light in. In the Buddhist tradition, we wait are whole life to die, releasing from the attachment of life and its pleasures only makes our death more painless.

Every aspect of life I love deeply. From tragic childhood experiences to dancing to my favorite songs with friends, life is precious. I choose to acknowledge life, that each day I live may be my last. I choose to acknowledge that if today were my last, I lived it according to my inner desire. I make each decision of this waking life knowing that today may be my last, and if this is fact, I am doing everything I can to live in a way that would make my soul dance.

Not every day of my life did I see this way. My thoughts, desires, and actions were clouded. I was young but that is no excuse. I would waiver over being good to myself and soul and tragically depleting it of all its worth. But what was the point of being so perfect all the time? I’m here to live not wait for death.

I can live more fully when I am conscious of every moment, action and decision.

So as I grow into DEATH each day I choose to DIE gracefully and with honor and respect to my eternal soul.

So as I grow into LIFE each day I choose to LIVE gracefully and with honor and respect to my eternal soul.

After this meditation and reflection, I spoke with a family friend of mine. She said a great way to remember this fact was by each time you blow out a candle, think “this is my last breath”.  Yes, this would be my mantra for the rest of the day.