An Experiment: The Path to Simplicity in 33 Words.

Via on Jun 27, 2011
Photo: Chaojikazu

Simple Instructions For The Practice of Meditation.

Recently, I asked a class, “Why did you come to the practice of meditation?”

One person, a long time student, replied, “Simply put, I got tired of all the crap.”

When we come to the practice of meditation, often times, we are exhausted. We have been running around like chickens with our heads cut-off trying to get our relationships and careers in order—trying to piece our lives together. Getting our lives in order is like herding cats, you can never get everything in line. We have been in the business of micromanaging all the details of our lives for far too long, and are looking for a way out.

All too often, meditation is introduced as more effective means of micromanagement. We are instructed to crawl into our heads—a place many of us spend to much time—and try to manage our thoughts. This is a cruel game that quickly spirals out of control, because the only resource we have at our disposal to manage thought is just more thoughts. Before long our heads become intolerably loud and we start to think that relaxation is a myth created to torment adults!

The instructions below are simple instructions for the practice of meditation. They are not an excuse to sit there and zone out, or obsess over your stress and anxiety. But they are instructions on how to retire from the game, and rediscover simplicity. We do not have to control our mind. The point of meditation is not to obliterate thought. Enlightenment is not a state of catatonia. It is simple awareness…of everything! In fact, it is the realization that everything arises in simple awareness. Things are waves, but awareness is the water from which they arise. In other words, whatever arises is an example of awareness. So there is nothing to be accepted or rejected. There is no need to control anything; simply observe. If your mind begins to churn out thought after thought, simply notice that this is what the mind is doing, no need to fix it. If you notice that your mind is dull, simply notice that this is your current state of mind. Rest in the awareness and not the activity. When you rest in awareness instead of the activity you will notice that your mind is naturally peaceful and simplistic. It is never dull or excited, but always clear and precise.

If these instructions do not work for you, please discard them. If they do work for you, please pass them on!


~Pith Instructions for the Practice of Meditation by Benjamin Riggs.

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About Benjamin Riggs

Ben Riggs is the director of the Refuge Meditation Group in Shreveport, LA. Ben writes extensively about Buddhist & Christian spirituality and politics for The Good Men Project, Elephant Journal, The Web of Enlightenment, and is the editor & chief for Henry Harbor--an online magazine concerned with art, culture, spirituality, & politics in the deep South. To keep up with all of his work follow him on Facebook or Twitter. Looking for a real bio? Click here to read my story....

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7 Responses to “An Experiment: The Path to Simplicity in 33 Words.”

  1. Ang says:

    This article came at the perfect time for me. I needed this reminder and insight – thank you…I'm off to sit :)

  2. yogiclarebear says:

    simply….brilliant benjamin.

  3. Eric says:

    "Whatever arises, meet it with relaxation." (~Tenshin Reb Anderson)

    Thanks Ben!!

  4. Sarah says:

    Love it… Perfect timing… Thank you :)

  5. Brent Binder drbinder says:

    As always, an example for us all.

  6. [...] after all I had all the outward signs of it, but each night I returned home utterly exhausted and unhappy. I pushed for more in all realms: more work, longer workouts, and more dates with different men. [...]

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