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FACILITATING SIGNIFICANT SPIRITUAL, PERSONAL, ATHLETIC & PROFESSIONAL TRANSFORMATION
HOW TO USE ZEN, TIBETAN AND THERAVADAN
BUDDHIST PRACTICE, STRUCTURAL INTEGRATION BODYWORK AND NETHERTON-REICHIAN
BODY-MIND THERAPY IN A MUTUALLY SUPPORTIVE WAY
I’ve been describing who we are. But we don’t see that because our mental thoughts and emotional feelings are in the way. I give the picture that everyone’s head is filled halfway up with water. That water extends downward into the body and through the body’s tissues into everyone else’s’ bodies and heads.
Our usual state of mind is where the water is churning and splashing so we can’t see into the water beneath the surface. We have so much busyness and chaos going on. And we are continually at the effect of this churning and splashing. Not only does that carry us away, and get us lost in these transient ups, downs, twists and turns, but it also keeps us from seeing something that will give us much greater contentedness; what “we” really are. And then, in our everyday affairs, we can simply behave in accord with this contentedness.
The aim of the sitting and walking meditation, the mindfulness, and the other practices I’m describing, is to calm down that splashing, then go into the water deeper and deeper, calming it down further as we go farther. Eventually, we go through the water in the lower half of the head, into the torso, arms and legs, then into the water in between us and others, and then even into others. While this is not an exact analogy of what happens, it does describe a lot of it.
By practicing who we are, we get to see, and transform into that state. So, we could even say we’re already like this. We just have to uncover it.
The distractions of the “little mind” are categorized as greed, anger and ignorance. And ignorance is the major problem. It is the lynchpin that holds all our suffering and discontentedness in place. Our limited view has given us thought patterns and belief systems that express these qualities. And by getting caught up in the turbulence of greed and anger, we don’t get to dissolve away the ignorance. Greed, anger and ignorance entrap us significantly, because we haven’t developed ourselves sufficiently to see what else there is. And that’s why the world is how it is.
Dissolve away ignorance, even a tiny, tiny bit at a time, and our attachment to the greed and anger goes down, too. While many people may find power and pleasure in these expressions, a deeper look inside them can show how much they are dissatisfied. That’s why so many seemingly “powerful” and wealthy people act so greedily and angrily. The human condition of ignorance creates dissatisfaction. And dissatisfaction gives rise to the compensational behaviors of greed and anger.
Without knowing about a way out, even rich people suffer from the dis-ease of dissatisfaction.
Concentration meditation is a way to start finding the way out. And you don’t have to be a monk, nun, priest, renunciate or weirdo to do it. As has actually happened in the past, you can be a general in the army, a business owner, a member of the government, a university student and even a mother of six living in a small apartment. Doing it gives us all benefits.
One of the first things that happens when people practice breath concentration meditation is that they suddenly notice they’ve stopped thinking. And they’re still here. And everything is OK. And it feels nice. Especially nice for people who have heavily responsible and busy lives.
We can all take a vacation, every day, without leaving home, without leaving our desk, and even while we sit in the car. Breath concentration meditation is well known, even in medical circles, as a method that “greatly” reduces stress. Results even show up on tests. For one thing, breathing abdominally, with our attention down in the lower abdomen, strengthens the parasympathetic nervous system, the part of us that governs rest, regeneration, digestion and sexual energy.
Do you know people who are afraid of what will happen to “them” if they stop thinking? If you can just see this, and keep practicing so you’re enjoying the quiet and “focus” more and more, then the neurons in the brain that connect up not thinking with fear and death won’t get activated.
Of course, our thoughts start right up again because that’s the nature of this “little mind.” But this level of insight never goes away. We have discovered something. And we’re a tiny bit freer.
Then we can even practice watching the thoughts come and go in the mind, as if we were sitting on a hill, watching cars go by on the highway down below. And some time later, we start to see that the thoughts have ideas that “we” don’t really have to identify with. We have reached a state of being in that water where it has become somewhat calmer, and where we have become something else than the splashing and churning.
This discovery has made us a little freer still. We can actually see that we don’t have to behave in those ways anymore, all the time. Further practice enables us to “drop” those feelings easier when we see they pop up.
We are developing our “power” of consciousness. We are developing “another place to live” besides inside those splashing waters.
Then, when we need to be firm, or angry, or kind, or sad, or even fearful, “we” can be that way. Obviously, this is a terrific ability for actors and other performing artists to develop. And it’s quite a help to speakers, salespeople and managers, too. But wouldn’t it also be nice if you and your spouse or partner could be more “genuinely yourselves?”
As our practice develops strength, we notice that our concentration power in the present moment has gotten stronger and steadier, and our intuition seems more often “right on.” This is even great for athletes. Imagine being able to hit the ball, catch a pass, and do your swimming strokes more powerfully and accurately. Even our mental creativity seems to be developing. And then we notice that nicer qualities get expressed in our personality.
Part of these qualities involves the reduction of greed and anger. We are becoming automatically more satisfied because the state of who we really are has a quality of contentedness. And psychologically, it’s more satisfying to notice we’re getting some nice benefits from our meditation efforts. We are getting more convinced that this new way of developing ourselves is a way out.
Then we can even apply the power and insight we have developed to the “better” use of greed and anger. It’s all in the belief system and attitude. You can be greedy for helping the poor and sick. You can be greedy to make your employees and customers happy and more satisfied in their work, so you, yourself will feel better about your accomplishments and even make more money. And you can be greedy about wanting to feel better and better from the meditation.
You can become angry at injustice, at wrong behavior by officials, at the destruction of the Earth’s eco-system, and at bullies who beat up your kids at school. You can also be angry in your practice, at your own inability to be more of what you see could be done. But here, don’t beat yourself up. Use it intelligently to increase your determination. In fact, this kind of justified anger, if free from getting hooked into ongoing upset and blame, can actually give you more power to correct these other kinds of behaviors.
As we develop more of our connection in the water with everyone else, we quite naturally “identify” more with everyone else. Even in the limited theaters of business dealings and international negotiations, this personal development gives a person distinct advantages. More options at creating win-win start to appear as we are more freed up from those limited thought patterns we’d been totally identifying with. Obviously, this helps in social and romantic relationships, too.
Human beings who are still being run by their thoughts of fear, insecurity and power-control will not be able to take advantage of this state for their success. Thought patterns and internal belief systems get created in events and then “we” can use those “understandings” as tools. Using a raincoat when it’s raining and dressing warmly when it’s cold are these kinds of understandings. We have complete little computer programs that allow us to notice and evaluate events, and then take appropriate action on our conclusions.
Being stuck to these scripts, however, might make “us” unconscious. At these “triggered” times, if no aware observer is present, then all that is operating the person in front of you is the script of those thoughts, the ones that were developed in the past experiences. And obviously, any new dialogue from outside has absolutely no available response from the script. So you can’t talk to that “person” because only a script created with other people, some time ago, is speaking and listening. When a person has no inkling about dry weather, or warm sunny days, their choice of wardrobe can be a bother. Being stuck to scripts, even very subtle ones, is limiting. Whereas, the ability to function from deep in the comfortable, non-churning water gives us more wardrobe selections. In fact, we are able to make more appropriate selections for our different circumstances.
To help us have more kinds of clothes and have more “consciousness” in how to use them, we can look at some of the methods we’ve been introduced to in Buddhist practice. You will see that your own religion and your own successful corporate and personal successes embody many of these practices, too. And remember, that the more we do the meditation practice, the more capable we can be with them.
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