November 12, 2010

Rebel Buddha—Getting together with your mind

During the month of November, the Tricycle Book Club is discussing Dzogchen Ponlop Rinpoche's Rebel Buddha! Look for daily excerpts from the book on the Tricycle Blog to inspire the conversation, which is happening here.

From Rebel Buddha:

"Whatever method you use, meditation is simply getting to know your mind. It's not about meditating "on" something or getting into a zone where you're blissfully removed from your mind's contents. Instead, the actual meaning of meditation is more like getting used to being with your own mind. Earlier, we talked about not knowing our mind—mind as the stranger in your neighborhood. Now we can look at how we can change this relationship.

Often when you want to get to know someone, you'll suggest meeting someplace for tea. You'll find a nice cafe, someplace quiet with comfortable seats, order your drinks, and sit down together. In the beginning, the conversation is just small talk, but as you get to know each other and feel more comfortable, an honest and open exchange starts to take place. Your new acquaintance will begin to tell you more and more about his or her life. Eventually, you start to feel that you know something about this person and what he or she is going through. You feel some connection and sympathy. You'll also have you're turn to share whatever you're going through. If you want to become a good friend, however, you have to be a good listener first. You have to be fully present and let your new friend talk. If you interrupt right away and take over the conversation, then you'll never have a meaningful dialogue. Your meeting won't result in getting to know and understand each other. At a certain point, you discover that no matter how mixed up and troubled your new friend may be, you still find something genuinely good and decent within all his or her confusion.

Getting to know your mind through meditation works much in the same way. You want to know your mind on a deeper level, so you plan to spend some time together. You make a date and find a quiet place where you can sit comfortably and hang out with your new acquaintance called "my mind." In this case, your practice of sitting meditation is like the cafe, the place where you meet. There are nice cushions to sit on, you look at each other, and then your mind starts chattering. In fact, in the beginning, it can't stop talking. All you need to do is be a good listener. It will go on and on, telling you everything that happened in the past or that might happen in the future. But whatever it says, whether it's wisdom or bullshit, imagination or reality, all you need to do is listen.

By being there and listening, you'll eventually learn what's going on with your mind. You'll be able to recognize its problems and come up with advice that will hit the spot. If you start diagnosing too soon, your advice will lead nowhere. If you wait to get the full story, then you can guide your mind in a direction that's productive and beneficial, one that will reduce its pain and relieve its emotional upheavals. However, knowing what will help is one thing, and getting your mind's cooperation is another. That's why developing this relationship is so important."

Have something to say? Visit the Tricycle Community Book Club to discuss Rebel Buddha!

and Shambhala Publications have joined together to offer Ponlop Rinpoche’s new book, Rebel Buddha, to all Tricycle Community members during the month of November at a 20% discount with free shipping, plus free e-book for instant download.

Here’s how:

  • Join the Tricycle Community at any member level. If you are already a Tricycle Community Member, you are pre-qualified for this special offer.
  • Purchase Rebel Buddha online via the Tricycle site, and receive a 20% discount plus free shipping.
  • Download your free e-book and start reading immediately.

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Click here to take advantage of this special offer.

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