Understanding Sati and Samadhi in Meditative Practice

When mindfulness (sati) is continuous, then (samadhi) STABILITY OF MIND will become established–from the teachings of Sayadaw U Tejaniya, a Theravadan Buddhist monk and well-known and highly respected meditation teacher.

Deeper and deeper into the teachings of Buddhism, there is this ‘me’ attempting to walk in the steps of the Buddha.  No, this is not about religion–more about psychology . . . study of the mind.  We all have one but how many of us really observe how the mind works?  How to use the mind in a way that serves the greater good, so-to-speak.  That’s where I’m coming from.

Recently, a new level of understanding and wisdom arrived within my life spectrum, this continuation of consciousness.

Anyone who knows of this ‘me’ probably knows of the difficulty experienced due to moving from places of quiet and solitude for nearly 20 years.  The short version has to do with the difficulty adjusting to suddenly being around noisy humans and family drama.  Moving closer to my daughters has been wonderful in so many ways, but not without the challenges that come along with sudden change.  Here’s what I’m trying to get at . . .

Until my recent study, it wasn’t entirely clear to me that the states of Samadhi established in meditation could be maintained during regular activities of daily living,  outside of a formal meditative state–in other words, off the cushion.  Yet, while living in the mountains many times was there in a stable mind-state without knowing it.   I’ll explain more in a moment.  Additionally, in recent days my study has uncovered another real eye-opener. And that has to do with percentages of attachment equaling the same percentage of aversion.  Here’s what that means . . .

The attachment that has been present to a personal desire and preference for silence has been way too strong or large.  As a result, the aversion or anger to it’s opposite (loud neighbors) has been equally as strong.  It goes back to the basic core phrase we always hear, “Accepting what ‘is'”.  It’s not so easy to accept anything as it is when you have a high percentage of attachment to its opposite.

Of course, there are other factors that filter into the equation of imbecile aversion which include a high level of sensitivity that comes along with open awareness.  Making peace with it while maintaining a stable mind is my continual challenge and the area of focused work in this life.

When living in the mountains, days on end of samadhi, stable mind, occurred — it was as if living in my own hermitage or retreat center.   It is only now that the realization comes that when the mind was pulled into worry about finances or when going into town and mingling with humans that the state dissolved and aversions and defilements arose within the mind. I didn’t think of it as samadhi at the time.  My personal definition of that word involved deep stillness (not necessarily awareness) in which there was no awareness of a self at all.  A new or an additional understanding of the word is the stability of mind, maintained over long periods of time toward the goal of having a stable mind indefinitely or at all times.  That’s the goal.  Frankly, some days it has felt impossible but it always comes down to this moment here now . . .  being aware, mindful or aware of what the mind is doing this very moment.  Being fully in it and observing what the mind and body are doing or the reactions–watching those.

Watching the mind can be a real sport if one’s heart is into it.  Stop a moment and ask yourself, Am I aware?” 

The answer is always Yes, don’t you see?  You will find that there is always that overseer called awareness.  How deep is the awareness?  Is it superficial or is there recognition and acknowledgment of thinking whenever it arises. Is there recognition of sound, feeling (all of the senses) whether pleasant or unpleasant as those arise?  Can you remember in the midst of any aversion that begins to arise that it is only nature happening and not personal?  Neither are your reactions–that’s just nature happening too.

These are just a few of my personal thoughts and experiences on these subjects for any reader’s discernment or consideration.  

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All’s Well That Ends Well

alls well that ends wellWarning: mostly boring stuff.  This is a journal entry that I started on Facebook and it started to get too long so I finished it here.  I picked up a few documentaries at the video store the other day–one was on hiking Kilimanjaro.  And the other entitled “When we left the earth” about the space program, NASA and the astronauts.  Found both very enjoyable and no problem to ease into watching after leaving the gym today.  The last 10 minutes on the treadmill required mental discipline to get through but even though it’s Friday, I didn’t accept any excuse from the weak mind that kept offering excuses to quit prematurely.

They were giving away free T-shirts so picked up a few for myself, daughter and granddaughter; so soft and a nice little treat.

The last of the pottery Xmas gifts are being fired and tomorrow I will finish one of the last ones.  Hope to go the movies later to see Hunger Games with some of the family and aside from that, just waiting for news about an upcoming move to my own apartment.

This little place which is like a little house of it’s own has a front and back porch for my plants and steps up with a railing–not many; maybe 6 or 7.  The whole apartment area which is more like small little houses is really surrounded by woods and a creek is nearby or so I’m told—its a gem to find a place surrounded by woods here in the city.  Another bonus is that it’s not far from family and even closer to the gym than where I reside now.

Yeah, so I’ve been renting a few movies which help to keep my mind away from wanting to attach … well, you know this saying, right?  My Dad used it all the time, “Don’t count your chickens before they’re hatched”, he’d say to me.  Evidently, Dad (rest is soul) noticed the tendency toward disappointment in me at an early age.  It’s taken all these many years to finally integrate that message of non-attachment.

The other day I was listening to a Buddhist teacher who said when you begin the path of awareness and mindfulness that you sometimes do a lot of karmic clearing all at once.  This brought a moment of consolation for the difficulties that I’ve experienced integrating here from my hermit lifestyle in the woods.  The Winter Solstice before even considering a move (or having the foggiest hint that I’d be doing so) I remember standing up on the mountain ridge behind my house hanging i-Ching and Buddha coins on a sweet little naturally growing live white pine tree which I assigned as my personal yule tree.  I clearly recall that I asked for more knowledge about Buddhism and “to become more Buddha-like”.  Yep, that could have done it!  LOL  I’m not kidding –really, I’m not.  I was quiet serious about expanding knowledge about Buddhism at the time.  And actually, not long after that (there being no sanghas in those old mountains, I learned about Vajra TV which I considered to be a miracle!)

And now that I’ve left the mountains, I will be happy to be once again in my own little nest.  (I’m sharing an apartment with my sister and niece–add that one to the challenges faced since moving here.)  Anyway, when the move happens (and it will eventually!),  I plan to eat better, cook healthier food.

simple life
Mentors Channel posted this on Facebook today; I relate

You know… I look back over my life for the past… well,  since the summer of 2012 (and we’re soon to be in 2015 in a few weeks) and realize even more so now how this “heap-load of intense karmic clearing” could really be a viable or possible truth.

I hope not to have incurred further or additional karma these past few years, but if intention is part of the cause/effect karmic equation for the future, this may ease any future karmic consequence.

One can only hope for the best on a karmic level and to offset that to perform good deeds, so tonglen meditations, and  as they say accrue merit to create good karma to balance.

Anyway, I can correlate so many Buddhist teachings with my experiences over the past 2+ years and while I may have struggled a good deal with reality/life, many realizations have occurred.  And this is one more thing to be grateful for.

My daughters have their apartments all decorated for the holidays now.  I hope for them that they experience that time goes slowly so that they can enjoy their Christmas trees and bright things each day.

In contrast, and as for me as I’ve grow older, it seems that holidays come and go so fast that it’s hardly worth the effort to drag the decorating stuff out before you have to put it back again.  I gave my holiday decorations to my girls for that and various reasons.

I know that I will be releasing even more items/things/stuff, giving more away since the new apartment will be even smaller than the old one that I had here.

Anyway, speaking of releasing, somehow I lost a few pounds recently and this time I hope to keep that going! I think I owe a thank you to the treadmill. 🙂 I am so grateful to be able to go to the gym.  I want to get back into swimming soon too–all these big plans.  LOL

Letting things go…  materially, emotionally and mentally!  And as Shakespeare wrote, “All’s well that ends well” and yet it is still debated if that play was a comedy or tragedy.  Perhaps, like all of our lives, both.

PS– oh, and that apartment house I mentioned… it’s an 11 (numerology).  But then there I go again; you’re right about those chickens Dad.  Yeah, I’m psychic and my intuition tells me things but it’s still better to take Dad’s advice.

Better put in another video.  🙂

Karma, Ground Consciousness, Habituation and Meditation – mindfulness can create happiness

Karmic imprints

Karmic imprints.  They accumulate and are latent in ground consciousness or base mind.

This area of psyche gathers up or collects  (through the many layers of it’s nature)   all the karmic latencies that are gathered over eons of lifetimes.

And the responses to those tendencies create more imprints and here in this reality, on the earth,  they are able to be stimulated.

I used to think that we were completely in control of moods via our thoughts–and while that is partially true, the karmic imprints that settle into consciousness awaken in us as experiences of suffering or experiences of happiness which sometimes are seemingly out of our control.  I’ve been thinking about  karmic latency and habitual tendencies.  Do we say something like, ‘Oh that’s just how I am an I can’t help that‘ or what?  Just how does it all work anyway?   These thoughts that follow are influenced by Buddhist views by the way and they make perfect sense (to me).

Positive or negative karma ,it is said, does not always  immediately express itself. These karmic latencies resting within ground consciousness can arise later, even in future lifetimes.

Sometimes I can correlate karmic events to the Nodes of the Moon (North Node, South Node)  in an astrology chart–imprints remain in ground consciousness to ripen under the appropriate circumstances.  And we can correlate that to aspects to the birth Nodes and the transiting Lunar Nodes.  Anyway…

Negative and positive qualities increase due to habitual patterns–if a person tends to be angry again and again then becomes habituated to anger, it creates an increase of anger-latency in the mind.   The same is true with positive qualities such as love and compassion.  These qualities (either positive or negative) creates the foundation for the mind–ground consciousness.   Even in remembering some experience of the past, the remembering of it strengthens the latency.

For these reasons, we should be ever-aware and mindful–otherwise our disturbing emotions gradually increase from day-to-day and lifetime-to-lifetime.

We can create mindfulness latencies in the ground conspicuousness (habitual pattern of mindfulness).

Through meditation we can create positive latencies of love, wisdom and compassion which does overcome negative imprints when meditation is increased to focus on that love, wisdom and compassion.

We are born with a particular proclivities or latent tendencies developed in previous lifetimes.  We see this within seconds, minutes, hours of a baby’s birth.  Not all babies have the same newborn tendencies—some are restless, some are peaceful, etc.  Some children are naturally very kind due to positive latencies developed and imprinted in previous lifetimes into their ground consciousness.  Other children are very aggressive due to their own latent tendencies.

Some people are unable to deny themselves their desires and cannot say no to themselves–others can deny themselves but have difficulty saying no to others. Yet, we can change through cultivation of mindfulness or being aware of our tendencies and developing positive virtues where needed.

It seems like another lifetime ago when I asked higher mind/spirit guides [_____ fill in your own preferred word (s) here] a question. (Divination)

I really wanted to know why we were here and what we’re doing here and what the whole bottom-line point to our lives here were about.

And I was told that we are here to develop virtue.  And now, many years later, I see how true that answer was; although at the time I wasn’t satisfied with it.

With the correct understanding and with mindfulness in life and developing good qualities through  meditation we will be able to develop new latencies, new habitual  patterns, new tendencies.

Is that easy?  Is being mindful and conscious of our latent habitual tendencies at all times easy?  It’s as easy as that — or as difficult.  It depends on us.

We can develop positive or negative tendencies throughout life!  They come and they go depending upon our own awareness and contribution to the habitual patterns.

Our experience of happiness is based upon ground consciousness no matter which realm we are in.  Creating karmic imprints in the present reality results in experiencing their results in the future.

Just like a child who goes to school and studies hard creates an imprint in the mind that allows the child to later on do something with the imprint like become a teacher or a doctor.  If there was no type of imprint to start with (no schooling, no education) there would be no possibility of becoming the teacher in the future.

Well, this is all I have time to write on the topic for the moment.  I hope some of these words will find their way to the right person at the right time out there in cyber world and in doing so be helpful to that other.  

 

Yogic Conduct, Entering the Action, Embracing Life

BUDDHA DOODLE EMBRACE YOUR SELF-AWARENESS BRAVELY

I do love the way Divine Mind operates–that’s just me talking to It!  A friend sent me that BUDDHA DOODLE [image above] moments ago via email (credit to Molly Hahn/Buddha Doodles).  This image correlates with the post I was thinking to make here relating to something I heard a Rinpoche (teacher) speak of the other day.  Before I get too complicated with it all–and I really don’t have to since the doodle says it all really–there is a term I heard that really rang those ‘Buddhist Bells’ with me!

Oh, by the way, I have tingsha bells and they are an economical substitute for singing bowls and gongs and other tools… they don’t take up much room either. But let me go to the point about this term or phrase used by the teacher.  I don’t know if this is the correct interpretation of exactly what Rinpoche was intending, but here’s what he said.  When a highly evolved yogi reaches a particular state of evolution it is said that they are in YOGIC CONDUCT.  Rinpoche’s translator said it means they have “Entered the Action”.

Interesting.  For this particular yogi they were referring to first studied at the university and then meditated in seclusion for a long time and then taught students and then following that he went into “Yogic Conduct” or “Entered the Action”.

Sounds a bit like going into battle doesn’t it?  I wonder if that means  (to do what we think of as ) “walking the talk” in a way that is more intense or “activated” or “active”–??

I thought of my own life since haven come down from the mountain into a densely populated area of sentient beings, including souls of blood relation, family.  It’s been totally intense, like I have “entered the action” in some way or another--fer’ sure!

Again, I have no idea of that’s what “yogic conduct” means or what the Tibetan Rinpoche and his translator were really talking about or it means something else entirely. But I thought the term to be interesting.  I tried to goggle it and found nothing.

But anyway; I am about to be putting all of my things in storage for a while and having one room for my personal space like a monk or yogi in a monastery–like a monk’s cell.

And further will be living with two family members, sharing half the rent in another apartment.  (My hope is that this is very temporary until space opens in other housing where I have made application–and also supplication!  ho-ho, hee-hee)

But the monastic cell is going to be awesome (compared to previous lifetimes!-Ha!) –live plants, big windows, TV, computer, desk, etc.  Heaven in comparison!  (And the company of fine family companionship…. I am most grateful to my kind sister for sharing with me temporarily so I don’t have to break a lease elsewhere and can be ready when the place to which was supplicated has an opening.)

Anyway… self-awareness, remaining mindful, allowing emotion to become the  path–that’s what the Buddha Doodle means to me.  Another recent blog post covered a good deal more about working with emotion as the spiritual path.

Entering the Action!  Yogic Conduct!  Om mani padme hum.

ASPIRATION:  May I be able to practice the genuine dharma!  

May I remain mindful and awake!  

May all beings, through their virtue, perfect the accumulations of merit and wisdom! 

May this blog post be helpful to someone in cyber world!

No Mud? No Lotus! Downstairs Neightbors and Spiritual Awareness

 Lotus Flower

No Mud? No Lotus! 

That quote came over my Facebook Timeline recently attributed to the often quoted and well-respected spiritual teacher Thich Nhat Hanh (the Vietnamese Zen Buddhist Monk).

That’s put so simply that it startles one—or it did me.  I collect images of the lotus flower and really love that symbol related to spirituality.  Then I had to break out laughing thinking how my downstairs neighbors from India are like my mud and tonight when their voices trailed up alongside me at my computer desk… the quick, choppy straining human voice sounds began to distract while I was writing.  No mud, no lotus I thought.  Likely, I’m their mud too in reverse.  We hear each other mostly because they do not put on their air conditioning to muffle the sound and have no furniture to absorb sound and the floor has no sound proofing!

I had a message for a client this evening and there was a reference to using others in relationships in order to process mental energy.  Suddenly, I wondered if this is like the two Indians beneath me—maybe they have to ‘talk it out’ all the time in order to process busy intellects.  Sounds like venting; releasing — lovely.

It’s neither their fault nor my own that there is no insulation and that we are living in essentially a mocked up tent and that they love the heat (apparently) and don’t run air conditioning.  The maintenance guys tell me that Indian apartments are stifling.  I sometimes resent that I run my unit to keep their noise down and they don’t and their heat rises to my upstairs apartment—no mud, no lotus.

I’ve essentially been dealing with the neighbor issues much better—although no one would know it but me; it’s all an inside thing.  Tonight was a mild setback—their incessant talking got to me.  But Nhat Hanh says that dirty dishes, red lights, and traffic jams are spiritual friends on the path to “mindfulness”—the process of keeping our consciousness alive to our present experience and reality.  Same for the boisterous and talkative downstairs Indian couple—when they go at it, it brings me to the present reality too.

Should be this way since I have Saturn transiting my 3rd house in Scorpio now; well, maybe not ‘should be’ but the location of the planet of lessons in the house that represents neighbors does explain a few things.

I’m going to turn to Nhat Hanh for more spiritual teachings because I do like that one–its simple, direct and profound:

No mud.  No Lotus.

No challenges.  No spiritual evolution.

Okay, I still wish they would go away…  meanwhile, mindfulness of the present reality is what it is.

PS–I must be growing lots of lotuses by now!