Approaching Meditation

Approaching Meditation (from SUS07: Sutra Session (questions) 00:56:53.00 - 01:02:54.00)

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A lot of people approach meditation as a place to recharge batteries and get calm, clear, feel good etc. etc. And there's nothing wrong with that. It's very, very helpful that way. But what I've tried to show you today is another possibility. And that is a way to actually practice living. We're actually practicing living by experiencing what is arising--not trying to do anything about it immediately, but actually experiencing it.

One of the other things I do alot--or do some of--is business consulting and you have no idea how often I have to say, "You're trying to implement a solution before you've figured out what the problem is." Something comes up and they just start doing something without taking a look at what the real problem is.

And so one of the things you can use this practice for is actually experiencing what's going on in you and you may have a much better idea of what the real problem is. And we heard that from many people when they said their relationship with the situation changed. And some said, "Oh this is just something--that's the way it is and I can experience it and I don't have to do anything about it." That's a very significant change in the relationship. And sometimes you actually see, "Oh, yes there is something I can do." So that's a second aspect to meditation--it's a way of practicing how to live and how to be in our lives.

There's a small danger here and I want you to pay careful attention to this. If we start using our meditation practice to work through problems, that's going to work for a while and then it's going to start to become a problem in our practice because we're going to be bringing this expectation of working through something. [sound of horn blowing] Oh, more distraction!

And eventually--and I'm trying to give you just a head start on this right now--we'll see that bringing that expectation of working through also creates a problem. It won't hurt at all for you to explore just opening to the situation without any expectation of working through it or changing things or figuring something out. That feels a little uncomfortable very often at the beginning, because there are a lot of things in our lives that we'd just like to solve and get rid of so we don't have to deal with them. But a lot of those things we can't and we may discover some very, very deep feelings in ourselves about--anger about why doesn't the world conform to my expecations more often. At least that's what I have, maybe nobody else has that one.

And through this we begin to come to another aspect of what mediation practice does. And again it's--one can put it as--it's a practice for living--it's about how to meet whatever arises with awareness and openness. So that we can actgually experience it because it's part of our life. What we're doing is practicing experiencing things completely. That may make very significant changes in our lives, but we can say that one way to approach this kind of practice is, "How do I experience my life completely?"

And in this sense we're very much like that NBA forward that I was telling you about, who's practicing, "How do I shoot this shot from here? How do I shoot this shot from here?" And you can go through all these situations in your life and actually practice, "How do I experience this completely? How do I experience this completely? How do I experience this completely?"

And then you may find that when you're going about your day something pops up and you know, because it's in your body, how to experience it completely. Because like that NBA player, when you've got two guys doing a double press on you and you've got one second or less to take the shot, you can't think, "How am I going to take the shot, do I remember?" It has to be so in your body that it just happens. And that's basically what we're doing in the meditation practice. We are practing this and experiencing this stuff over and over again so that When we encounter in our lives it just happens. It's not somthing that we have to remember or think, "Now what do I do here?" or that we've figured out what to do. We practice it so much that it just happens and that's the real purpose of doing this practice. Okay?
Thanks to Ann Braun for this transcription!