Answers by Sakyong
Mipham Rinpoche and Bill McKeever to common questions:
Since I've begun sitting
my mind seems much busier with thoughts.
Can meditation have the opposite effect than
When we sit still, we experience—perhaps
for the first time—the real state of
our mind. Most of us are shocked at how busy
our minds are. Such a welter of discursive
thoughts, a vortex.. You may be amazed b
this and wonder if meditation is actually
bad for you.
The simplicity of meditation unmasks
how much gobbledygook is going on all the
time. Meditation texts have many images
for what we discover: a waterfall of thoughts,
babbling brook, violent cascade… The
first thing we often discover is how unbelievanbly
discursive, how fickle we are.
Is it really alright if I
can only sit ten minutes a day regularly?
Setting your goals and holding to them
is most important. Better not to be unrealistically
ambitious.Ten to fifteen minutes
a day, even a few times a week, is a lot
better than nothing.
difference between zero and ten
minutes is a quantum leap
bigger than between ten minutes and ten
is that? If we can’t
ever sit — if we can’t ever
do it — it’s because we’re
be driven by and following after our thoughts
as if they’re all real. And if we
can stop for ten minutes and get some perspective
on our minds and step outside the momentum
our thoughts and emotions, that’s
a big deal.
We've emphasized over and over again in
this course the importance of taking the
posture, of expressing the intention, "I'm
going to practice for ten minutes." Of
course if you can do ten minutes you might
be able to do a bit longer. The important
thing is to commit and try.
What are the benefits of
Is it important to find a
group to meditate with?
Many people find a balance
is most productive. Most of us find it’s
hard to establish a practice on our own.
Some people have strong individual discipline.
Many find the practice slips away and that
a group's support and schedule help.
Group practice is supportive,
but you don’t want to be dependent
on a group either. So a balance is ideal.
In a group when you experience a time when
you really can’t stand it any more,
you don’t leave because no one else
is leaving. At home you’d be out
of there –lured by the refrigerator,
the telephone, out the front door, whatever
it is. But solitary practice is also important,
because you have to mix it with your life.
Setting up a space at home
that’s supportive helps maintain
your practice. This doesn’t have
to be a separate meditation room, but create
a place where your immediiate visual field
is not too cluttered and distracting sounds
I want to sit, at least I
think I do. What I've read and heard in this
course makes so much sense. But I find myself
avoiding and sometimes even dreading sitting.
making friends with yourself sounds sounds
quite nice, warm and fuzzy, when it comes
down to it there’s a huge amount
of ambivelance and avoidance. It’s
a challenge to work with our mind, If there
was a part of our body that was as undisciplined
as our mind, we’d be in a hospital,
we’d be at the doctor’s office
or the gym. We try to rest our mind, it
won’t rest. When you try to find
it it hides. When we want to go to sleep
it wakes up, When we want to be awake it
goes to sleep.
I really look forward to
my meditiaton time. But then when the time
comes I have trouble sitting down and settling.
you stay you want to go, when you
go you want to stay. When your situation
is like that, the best pace for you
is the meditation cushion.
How does my peacefulness
help the rest of the world?
If we can extend lovingkindness,
compassion and clarity to ourselves it inevitably
spills out to the rest of our world. And
If we’re driven by pain, anxiety, neuroses,
conflict internally it inevitably spills
out into the world. If the world is run by
mean-spirited, angry, scared people, it’s
going to be a scary, mean aggressive world.
If the world run by people who are kind and
confident and clear and willing to take a
chance, it can be a very different world.
Sometimes I feel like I'm
really taming my mind in meditation. Sometimes
I experience what I'd call bliss states.
Then the next day my mind is out of control
and I feel like I'm getting nowhere.
Sometimes it feels worse
than just getting nowhere. How about taking
a break if it's really bad?
One of the antidotes is effort
and this course has encouraged effort and
determination. Sometimes I feel I am being
lazy. But other times — maybe as my
own antdote to my laziness — I feel
I'm trying too hard.
When we begin meditation
practice, you may experience the obstacle
of trying too hard.
We think meditation practice is something special or
different, that we’ve got to twist or shape force
ourself into something we’re not. The entire
point of meditation is to tune ourselves in to the
innate wakefulness that’s already there.
Because that’s the
point of meditation practice, because it’s
that’s direction we’re going
in, one of the most important instructions
is to relax. Relax. This is not an invitation
In conventional life there’s
often a dichotomy between work and play,
between exertion and relaxation. And often
exertion has a of connotation of pain or
obligation, and rest a connotation of floping
and relief and we go back and forth between
Buddhism is known as the
middle way between extremes, and sitting
meditation practice exemplifies this. There’s
a sense of relaxation but it’s relaxation
with a sense of precision, presence, developing
a gentle affection and interest in our
experience moment to moment.