Touch—and Go. ~ QOTD, by Chogyam Trungpa.

Via elephant journal
on Oct 7, 2009
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Via Shambhala Publications comes this good reminder via meditation master Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche:

trungpa shambhala publications

Have an emotional freak out? No big deal. Thoughts are thoughts. Emotions are emotions. Come back to the breath. Come back to the practice. Come back to the present:

Thoughts Are Not VIPs.

Usually, if you have mental chatter, you call it your thoughts. But if you have deeply involved emotional chatter, you give it special prestige. You think those thoughts deserve the special privilege of being called emotion. Somehow, in the realm of actual mind, things don’t work that way. Whatever arises is just thinking: thinking you’re horny, thinking you’re angry. As far as meditation practice is concerned, your thoughts are no longer regarded as VIPs, while you meditate. You think, you sit; you think, you sit; you think, you sit. You have thoughts, you have thoughts about thoughts. Let it happen that way. Call them thoughts.

From “Meditation: Touch and Go,” in Smile at Fear: Awakening the True Heart of Bravery.

Relephant bonusland:

How to Meditate.

Where emotions come from.


How to Meditate: The Dathun Letter, via Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche.

The shamatha style of meditation is particularly recommended by the Buddha. It has been the way for beginning meditators for 2,500 years. To describe meditation we could use the phrase touch and go. You are in contact, you’re touching the experience of being there, actually being there-—and then you let go. That applies to awareness of your breath on the cushion and also beyond that, to your day-to-day living awareness. The point of touch and go is that there is a sense of feel. The point of touch is that there is a sense of existence, that you are who you are. When you sit on the cushion, you feel you are sitting on the cushion and that you actually exist. You are there, you are sitting; you are there, you are sitting. That’s the touch part. The go part is that you are there—and then you don’t hang on to it. You don’t sustain your sense of being, but you let go of even that. Touch and go…”


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7 Responses to “Touch—and Go. ~ QOTD, by Chogyam Trungpa.”

  1. My additional observation is that even though the theoretical goal of meditation is "no-thought", for most of us mere mortals the real value is "different-thoughts" and "more real thoughts".

    In other words, gently clearing our mind of the usual chatter opens it up to a surprising array of impressions and thoughts that just had no way of getting any mind time before.

    These might be troubling thoughts, like suddenly realizing the reality of a relationship, or simple wonder, like suddenly noticing the beauty, complexity and wonder of that simple tree outside our window, but they're all the result of the gentle process of meditation.

    The better we get at meditation the clearer our minds become to see the nature of reality itself more clearly.

    Bob Weisenberg

  2. I have to tell you a very funny story. At least I hope you'll think it's funny!

    See, I decide I want to know more about Buddhism.

    So first I read several books and a bunch of stuff on the web. Need more.

    I go talk to my Zen Buddhist priest neighbor, but he's hard to talk to because he's very into making no effort, and talking about Buddhism is an effort, and everything is illusory anyway, so why talk about it.

    Then I decide to go to the source, the Dhammapada, becauses Eknath Easwaran's Upanishads is wonderful, and if he likes the Dhammapada, that's for me.

    But the Dhammapada leaves me flat. I have notes all over the margins saying, This could be Ben Franklin–do good things, don't do bad things, be earnest, spend time with good people, don't spend time with bad people, master all your thoughts, never be angry, etc.

    What have you got against Ben Franklin, you ask. Nothing, I say. I like Ben Franklin. I'm just looking for something a little more, shall we say, transcendental.

    So next I go to my online friend Linda for advice. She is very helpful with perspective and further reading suggestions.

    Linda also recommends I connect with her Buddhist teacher through Facebook. He has the very musical and evocative name Lama Surya Das.

    I pull up his profile on Facebook, and what do you think is the first thing I see, right at the very top of Lama Surya Das' Facebook page?

    A quote from Ben Frankin!

    "Contentment makes poor men rich; discontentment makes rich men poor."

    I'm still in stitches.

    Bob Weisenberg

  3. Ariana Saraha says:

    ha ha haaaaaa – thank you for sharing 😉

  4. Keep reading to the end of the Dhammapada. The last verse reads….

    Whoever knows all his past lives,
    Sees both the happy and unhappy realms,
    Is free from rebirth,
    Has achieved perfect insight,
    And has attained the summit of the higher life.
    Him do I call a Noble One.

  5. Thanks, Michael. At first when I saw your comment in my e-mail, I couldn't remember what words of utter wisdom I'd written that you were thanking me for.

    No wonder, it was over a year ago. You can only imagine how much smarter I am by now!

    Alway great to get comments like yours. Thanks for writing.

    Bob W.
    Yoga Editor

  6. […] I managed to convince myself that my trip to India was an inspiring tale of one mans journey to dist… One night while listening to a tape set by the American Buddhist teacher, Reggie Ray, I became convinced that what I really needed was a teacher that could pull down in me the essential meaning of the Dharma. This was both a genuine motive and a flat out lie. I did need an honest relationship, and in the past I had demonstrated an inability to be honest. So, I did need to meet someone who refused to be in a dishonest relationship, someone who lived honestly. I was in need of a true friend, someone who wouldn’t play my games. However, there was also an element of confusion in play. I blamed not having a teacher for all of my troubles. I said my inability to be honest was not really my fault; rather it was because I didn’t have anyone who could teach me how to be honest. In order to articulate this motive in less pathetic terms, I romantically translated my intentions, and pretended I was traveling through middle-earth in search lofty spiritual wisdom. I bought into the idea that a trip to India was a magical solution. So, disappointment was inevitable… […]

  7. Linda V. Lewis says:

    This video of VCTR is amazing, considering it's from 1974 to an audience of hippie hoodlums, one of whom was pregnant me! When more colorful Hindus were trying to seduce us with trips of bliss and all sorts of highs, Trungpa R. promises nothing but making friends with w/ one's ordinary mind, and finding it workable through the initially seemingly boring practice of meditation. Yet he got us to laugh at ourselves and popped the popular trend toward spiritual materialism.