Rinpoche discusses the importance of starting with a calm mind. Recorded in New York City at Tibet House. May 2013.
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Rinpoche discusses the importance of starting with a calm mind. Recorded in New York City at Tibet House. May 2013.
we’re back . . .
This Fall, beginning Oct. 28th, we will be meditating together on the second and fourth Sundays of each month. We will begin at 10a.m. with a short reading from a Buddhist text and will meditate until 10:30. A discussion will follow and we will stop by 11:15. Arrive at 9:45 to settle in as we plan to start on time. We will be inviting meditators to volunteer to bring a reading for the following month. Our intention is to offer a way to deepen reflection on important themes in our lives and enrich the experience of meditation free of clutter.
To celebrate Autumn, cider and donuts will be offered in the Tea Room afterwards (as well as the usual tea & coffee.)
We’ll look forward to your feedback about this new format and hope it enhances your experience and contributes to your meditation.
Meditation: 10-10:45am – Shrine Room
A 19 year old young man said something startling to me the other day. Reflecting on his meditation practice and his life, quoting from something he recently read, he reached the following conclusion:
One pays with oneself.
Think about that.
As his listener, I felt a rush of pure joy, the kind one feels when one’s heart recognizes truth.
It makes sesnse, doesn’t it, that the cost of crossing the bridge into spiritual waters would require nothing less than oneself, what Dzigar Kongtrul Rinpoche refers to as one’s “me-ness?”
Unfortunately, “me” goes where angels fear to tread.
Yup, a rush of inspiration lasts only so long. When the rubber hits the gravel road, I’ve worked all day, it’s 6pm, and I haven’t meditated, the naked truth no longer quite cuts it for “me.”. I’d rather pay for a foot rub, or at least get a shower and watch some CNN. You?
Don’t you think most egos, (well, mine at least,) don’t like the cushion? I mean, after the initial romance, aren’t we kind of dying to get off of it?
The Dzoghen Ponlop Rinpoche draws an interesting analogy:
As a buddhist, I often contemplate how, at the hour of my death , will I have wanted to have spent my life? I will have wanted to travel that road, gravel and all.
How will I ever make that happen? By lovingly limiting “me,” and taking heed of the wisdom of my 19 year old friend.
I’ve been around the block as far as spirituality. Perhaps it began when I was a kid and my parents told me that God was Nature. That brought this intangible, way-beyond-me thing right down to earth and in front of my senses. Bird songs, tall trees, and the smell of spring’s thaw were all right here. God didn’t feel far away and untouchable, God felt present & easy to reach.
As I grew I began to long for “proof”. I wanted to know viscerally that there was more to life than just the physical. And anyway…what did that mean…God is Nature? I can see nature…why can’t I see God?
High school science classes coincided with the era of Ouiji boards, ESP (Extra Sensory Perception) & The Great Kreskin. At 17 I reasoned: of course ESP, ie. psychic phenomenon, was real. It’s simple physics. If we are all molecules moving around and not solid as we seem, then of course the thoughts from my mind can travel into your mind & we can accomplish mental telepathy. That’s just logical. I’d lie if I said my friends were excited to know, or even understood, what I had concluded. I let the revelation fall away.
It would be decades later that, still seeking proof of a metaphysical reality, I took a weekend workshop in energy healing. I thought I was going to learn to see auras, but instead I would be positively shattered as old ideas of myself & the nature of reality came crashing down in a blaze of healing energy. It would be the launching of a painful, but valuable, journey of self-discovery and spiritual awakening.
I studied various forms of hands-on-healing, became a Reiki Master, learned meditation, practiced chanting, composed sacred music, learned hypnosis, gathered at the full moon, worked at a new age shop where I absorbed the energy of crystals and the knowledge of healers, ascended masters, channelers, gurus, avatars, and more. I became convinced by my first-hand experience that there was definitely a metaphysical reality and it was accessible to everyone, everywhere, all the time simply for the effort of tapping inward and drawing upon its vast resources.
Having access to powerful truths is a wonderful start, but actually accessing them consistently is the real work. It requires an acceptance of the truths as well…truth, and then acquiring the muscle to turn toward them even in the face of endless forces pulling every other way.
That’s where meditation comes in. It helps build the spiritual muscle required to turn (and stay turned) toward something beyond what can be seen or felt with our physical apparatus. Paradoxically, we close our eyes & turn inward, going deeply into the physical body, in order to transcend the physical and touch the metaphysical. I guess in the end, God is Nature and we are part of nature. If we can attune to our deepest nature we may indeed touch God.
-Lisa Jane Lipkin, contributor
Lisa Jane Lipkin is a piano based singer-songwriter who recently released her third CD called “Flying on Instruments”. www.lisajanelipkin.com This is Lisa’s second contribution to our blog.
A quiet Sunday morning. The bell rings. I intend inner quiet. Rooting my sit bones into the cushion, dropping my shoulders, allowing my spine to rise naturally to the base of my skull, allowing my head to balance like a ping-pong ball on a column of air, I remember: I intended inner quiet.
I notice my breath. Rising and falling, air travels up and out of my body then back down again. Miraculously, this Sunday morning, I am (at least for some bit of time) actually just noticing my breath. There is a vague awareness of having attached my mind to my breath as if it were a great mouth with teeth sunk into the movement of breathing. There is stillness. Then there is an image.
Being not of traditional Buddhist stock (being sort of a non-traditionalist in general) I gazed upon the image. It was that of a tennis ball being hit by a racket. Then, there was a golf ball being hit by a golf club. Finally, I saw a baseball bat strike a ball of the same sport.
As the images melted back into the flowing movement of my breath, I understood. What I was being shown was what to do with my consciousness, my thoughts, and in turn my life-force energy. I was being told to “keep my eye on the ball”. In the magical world of inner knowing, three simple images downloaded pages of guidance that I could apply right then and there and in every subsequent moment I would live. The “eye” is the mind. The “ball” is the center of the experience of being. The message: anchor your awareness deeply into your essential self and what you are aiming for will be reached.
Upon reflection, also in the mysterious manner of the mystical realms, this image would speak particularly strongly to me. I have a memory, clear and visceral, of a kind of shocked surprise, when for the first time, in an act of sheer will, I forced my eye to watch the bat contact the ball and as a result the ball travelled straight in the direction I wanted it to go. In all prior attempts, I had done the logical, but ineffective, act of looking out toward the place I wanted the ball to go. As most can guess, this only produced strikes, fouls or other non-starters.
So these images, simple yet profound, told me that all of my worries and wonderings over the trajectory of my life, what choices to make, where to put my energies and essentially how it will “all work out” will all be taken care of if I can stay rooted in the center of my being.
Later that morning, I had the good fortune to be discussing this realization with Sacred!Centre’s founder Deirdre Cole, and there came an enhancement. Contacting the center of one’s being seems to be fundamentally an alignment with the heart. And as we relate with the world through the actions we take, if we can stay anchored in the heart those actions will be infused with a quality of caring, compassion, and kindness and none of that ever seems to be bad.
And then I saw a final image, one of human arms leading directly out of human hearts, animating human hands that are the “doers” in the world. If we can stay centered in the center of our beings, in the energy of the heart, then when we strike a ball or lift our hands in action we find that we do attain our goals, the highest ones being inner peace and joy in living.
Lisa Jane Lipkin is a piano based singer-songwriter who recently released her third CD called “Flying on Instruments”. www.lisajanelipkin.com
“Beloved“ – Written & performed by Lisa Jane Lipkin. From her album ” A Prayer for Peace”
That’s all I’m thinking for this year and transitional time in our history as humanity. It’s certainly an interesting point. In some ways, it can be frightening. Will society collapse? Will our money be worthless? Are we living in the midst of a crumbling empire? The answer to these questions hasn’t arrived yet. I do know this. Massive change that a lot of us as humanity have been waiting for our whole lives for is upon us. The system as we know it simply can’t exist anymore. This form of predatory capitalism that the west has been practicing for so long is on its deathbed. There are people in the streets all across the country voicing their discontent.
I can hear all of you who have lived through the 60’s right now telling me…”not so fast there young guy. We lived through that. We marched. We stopped an immoral and unjust war. We tried to change things, and the reality of the situation is a peaceful utopia is impossible. So just go to school, and get a job” And I can get that mentality. I’ve had it at points in my life when I’ve seen past protests. Most protests we are used to seeing are more like large gatherings of like-minded folks pushing some sort of special agenda. However, Occupy Wall Street is something entirely different and don’t expect it to go away anytime soon.
I will tell you this. I’m really excited to see how the media is going to keep trying to discredit the movement. They’ve been trying to in vain since that cop took it upon himself to go on a pepper spraying spree back in September. We’ve already seen them try to paint all the protesters with that dirty hippie brush. I hate to break it to those empty headed talking heads on television feeding us the news, but there are not THAT many hippies all over the world. It’s been interesting to watch that, no matter how hard they try to laugh off the movement as nothing serious, it just intensifies. I think our leaders have underestimated us. I think I personally have been guilty of underestimating the intelligence and compassion that exists in this country. I’m pretty sure if I would have told you at this time last year that there would be a massive protest movement in the United States you’d look at me like I just told you Jesus was at my house stealing cable. I love the fact that every single day I’m at work and dealing with the public. It seems that people are more awake and aware than ever. For too long in this country we’ve been fat, happy, and content. We really didn’t care what our government was doing, or the CEO’s of banks or anything really for than matter. Just as long as we had our X-boxes, Ipads, and Doritos well, then we’d be happy. Well, now our moment is upon us.
I feel 2012 is going to be exciting, interesting and challenging. It feels like I’ve been preparing my whole life for the changes that are coming. I’m sure there will be a few rough patches here and there, but I feel in the end, humanity is going to make a choice. Are we going to live in a more cooperative world where we finally learn to share the resources of the planet with one another, or are we going to continue to let our leaders hoard all of the resources while we kill each other off for the scraps. I think we’ll find out in the coming years. In the meantime, now would be a good time to start praying, meditating, and getting your mind right. Also, don’t forget to enjoy the spectacle of it all
I love you all