Thursday, 9 July 2009

The power.....of meditating in a group

This morning I woke up feeling more tired than I have in a while. Last night I did an hours meditation with a group of people and I can really feel the effects this morning. I am tired but it's not a tiredness where I don't want to get up. I'm excited about the day but also very calm. The session last night was divided up into two parts. The first one which lasted half an hour was a guided meditation on the Buddhist concept of loving kindness or metta as it is more often called. This was for half an hour and then there was the opportunity to share whatever was there for people. This is different to how this school of Buddhism practiced it when I belonged many years ago. Then there was no sharing of experiences after meditation practice and it was something I longed for. But now, I see that my longing for it then was for the mind so that it could have the distraction from the silence that thoughts bring. I see now that my desperate wish for some talking was the actions of a mind deeply threatened by meditation and by what it makes possible.

The sharing started and one man wished for all of us present peace of mind. My heart lept in compassion for the turbulence he was obviously feeling. I remember so well that turbulence and the inability of the mind to be still and I wanted to go up to him, give him a hug and say 'keep at it, it will come'. But of course I didn't do this. I was also struck last night by what the mind will latch onto to prevent the consciousness becoming still. I found the voice of the person who guided the meditation to be soothing and relaxing but for another person that soothing voice was too low and so the mind latched onto this and created thoughts of frustration and agitation as the words were trying to be grasped and so there was no stillness available for that person on this occasion.

The purpose of meditation is to still the mind so that something different can arise. What arises when the mind is still is the language of the soul. Intuition, insight and illumination arises when the mind is still. Meditation is not easy because the mind fights with everything it has not be still and then we blame ourselves for not being able to meditate. There are two parts to us there is our personal identity which uses the mind to keep things the same and predictable and then there is the deeper part, what Buddhists call 'the witness' that watches all of the antics of the mind with a deep compassion. The aim of meditation as I see it is to make stronger the witness so that at a certain point the mind surrenders. It is this surrender that it is terrified of but the truth is that it is this surrender that is its liberation.....

Another day today.......what will this day bring...

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