June 27, 2011

An Experiment: The Path to Simplicity in 33 Words.

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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drbinder Jun 30, 2011 2:13pm

As always, an example for us all.

Eric Jun 28, 2011 7:56am


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Benjamin Riggs

Ben Riggs is the author of Finding God in the Body: A Spiritual Path for the Modern West. He is also the director of the Refuge Meditation Group in Shreveport, LA and a teacher at Explore Yoga. Ben writes extensively about Buddhist and Christian spirituality on Elephant Journal, and his blog. Click here to listen to the Finding God in the Body Podcast. To keep up with all of his work follow him on Facebook or Twitter.