‘Before we start practicing mindfulness meditation, we must know how to practice. We need to have the right information and a clear understanding of the practice to work with awareness intelligently. This information will work at the back of your mind when you meditate.
1. Meditating is watching and waiting patiently with awareness and understanding. Meditation is not trying to experience something you have read about or heard about.
2. When meditating, both the body and mind should be comfortable.
3. You are not trying to make things turn out the way you want them to happen. You are trying to know what is happening as it is.
4. You have to accept and watch both good and bad experiences. You only want good experiences? You don’t want even the tiniest unpleasant experience? Is this reasonable? Is this the way of the dhamma?
5. Don’t feel disturbed by the thinking mind. You are not practicing to prevent thinking, but rather to recognize and acknowledge thinking whenever it arises.
6. The object of attention is not really important: the observing mind that is working to be aware is of real importance. If the observing is done with the right attitude, any object is the right object.
7. Just pay attention to the present moment. Don’t get lost in thoughts about the past. Don’t get carried away by thoughts about the future.’
- Sayadaw U Tejaniya, Observing Minds Want to Know, Summer 2008 edition of Tricycle The Buddhist Review.
You are now at a crossroads. This is your opportunity to make the most important decision you will ever make. Forget your past. Who are you now? Who have you decided you really are now? Don’t think about who you have been. Who are you now? Who have you decided to become? Make this decision consciously. Make it carefully. Make it powerfully.
‘It is possible to live happily in the here and now. So many conditions of happiness are available - more than enough for you to be happy right now. You don’t have to run into the future in order to get more.’
Each day is new and glorious, for each day opens up to us whole new concepts to try, and explorations to make. Each moment, His Silent Presence hides itself that we may seek and find Him. Each cross hides His shadow that we may take up that cross with purer love.
‘The Buddha’s Eightfold Path can either build upon or dismantle the sense-of-self, depending upon how we use it. When aligned within its proper orientation, the path appears like a perfectly formed diamond, each facet complimenting the beauty of the whole. After my meeting with Nisargadatta, the Buddha’s teaching became breathtaking in its simplicity and elegance. The entire path was, and had always been, accessible. prolonged retreats in silence or conversations over dinner had the same reference point. Nothing was ever at odds with its opposite. Every practice and action has its place and appropriate time, but never contradicted or enhanced what was already there. Everything was perfectly together, and every moment arose from that perfection.
This was the beginning of my understanding of lay Buddhism. A lay Buddhist is one who fully embodies his or her entire life of work, family, and relationships without spiritually prioritizing any activity. From this perspective all moments are equally precious, and whether we are practicing formal meditation on retreat or showing up for ordinary moments of our lay life, freedom is never diminished. The unequivocal resolve not to move away from where we are is essential. Once we abandon the belief that there is a more spiritually useful moment than the one we are in, we have embraced our life and infused it with the energy for awakening.’
- Rodney Smith, Undivided Mind, from the Winter 2010 issue of Tricycle: The Buddhist Review.
The mind, to ensure that it remains in control, seeks continuously to cover up the present moment with past and future, and so, as the vitality and infinite creative potential of Being, which is inseparable from the Now, becomes covered up by time, your true nature becomes obscured by the mind. An increasingly heavy burden of time has been accumulating in the human mind. All individuals are suffering under this burden, but they also keep adding to it every moment whenever they ignore or deny that precious moment or reduce it to a means of getting to some future moment, which only exists in the mind, never in actuality. The accumulation of time in the collective and individual human mind also holds a vast amount of residual pain from the past.
If you no longer want to create pain for yourself and others, if you no longer want to add to the residue of past pain that still lives on in you, then don’t create any more time, or at least no more than is necessary to deal with the practical aspects of your life. How to stop creating time? Realize deeply that the present moment is all you ever have. Make the Now the primary focus of your life. Whereas before you dwelt in time and paid brief visits to the Now, have your dwelling place in the Now and pay brief visits to past and future when required to deal with the practical aspects of your life situation. Always say “yes” to the present moment. What could be more futile, more insane, than to create inner resistance to something that already is? What could be more insane than to oppose life itself, which is now and always now? Surrender to what IS. Say “yes” to life — and see how life suddenly starts working FOR you rather than against you.
The past has no power over us. It doesn’t matter how long we have had a negative pattern. The point of power is in the present moment. What a wonderful thing to realize! We can begin to be free in this moment!