The Path of Meditation (part seven)

Buddhism has some wonderful meditation techniques and is very open to sharing them with anyone who is interested in learning. Along the way, information about the wonderful state of enlightenment is also shared and many people read books and get teachings online or by recordings to hear more. Eventually, you might even want to become enlightened and have confidence that meditation is the way to get there!

However, so many good and kind people begin a meditation practice with high motivation but soon give it up in disgust. For a number of reasons, they are unable to overcome the obstacles to maintaining a steady daily practice that brings the many benefits described in books or by friends who meditate. By examining meditation and its inner process, which is the Vast Path to the perfected state, the exploration and many levels of self-assessment will cause us to recognize problems.

One of the problems that many find to haunt them in meditation is not any terrible delusion, but just their poor habits. For example, you may decide to get up a certain time in the morning but instead, as usual; you turn off the alarm, so no meditation that morning. Perhaps you are ready to sit on your cushion, and a certain special someone calls on the telephone, so you spend two or three hours on the phone, even though you know this time is scheduled for regular meditation. Later, after the call, you probably are too tired or just do not feel like meditating any more. This is not necessarily just about meditation, but in general, you might lack discipline. Meditation is not meant to be a struggle or demanding, because you do not want to stifle that wonderful emerging being of light that you are inside, that is genuine. You want that true inner you to feel good.

However, perhaps you have lousy habits regarding making time for meditation. Since you already have many good habits, there is no need to work on those, however, we cannot use them as an excuse for not working on our bad habits either. In general, no one actually wants to look at unskillful behavior, so we usually have many excuses for why we do not try harder. We should become even more skillful in self-honesty so that many more years do not pass before we can tolerate periods during the day or evening, being by our self, working on transformation seriously.

On the other hand, sometimes a good habit can become excessive, for example, too rigidly controlling, perhaps by guilt or shame. Also, sometimes even our good habits such as a balanced view of compassion motivation while in meditation can degenerate, while we still think it is present, but it is not. A trick of the mind can make us feel as though we are correct even after it has degenerated, because we have not monitored our self correctly.

Another issue that causes meditation to suffer is disruptions. Everyone needs a quiet and private place for meditation, where pets are not going to jump on them or feel that the telephone sitting right next to them or the cell phone in the pocket, is about to ring. It would be better to turn the phone off before sitting to meditate, and to the best of your ability, eliminate any other distractions or disruptions. Some people hang a note on the door, "Meditating. Do not disturb." To the best of your ability, eliminate the possibility of disruptions by planning ahead what to do if disruptions arrive. If someone knocks on the door, perhaps you do not answer it. If the phone does ring, usually meditators will let it go to voice mail instead of jumping up.

To our delight, as we practice meditation, our capacity for compassion for others definitely increases. We begin to notice injustice around us, by personal experience, reading on the Internet or newspaper, for example, about people who abuse helpless animals. Although it is natural to become upset, it is also noted that some will take sides with the weak and be very angry with all humans because of their capacity to harm others who should be caring for the less able instead. The great altruistic view of the Mahayana, wishing to save all living beings can become distorted by righteous anger, "I have bodhicitta. I just do not happen to like people, but animals I like a lot. It is people that I have a problem with.” Another variation could be "I do not like people, and I do not like most animals, but horses, now horses, I like," or "Hate dogs. Love cats."

The motivation to become enlightened for the benefit of all sentient beings probably would mean that eventually, you would no longer even be afraid of spiders or other dread living beings. What do you particularly hate? Motivation to be of benefit to all living beings means that at some point, you might even have to deal with arachnophobia. To be continued……


  1. Thank you very much for this post.

    It is interesting to notice the connotation style that leads automatically a persons' mind to discouragement. I guess that mentioning examples is quite important, but what's about the benefits of the same.

    I guess that meditating is not an exercise but a state of mind, as pondering on a specific subject can be considered as a state of meditation.

    Most of persons are not seeking for salvation or for illumination, but lots of persons are seeking for peace of mind, and for a better self conditioning of oneself health.

    For some reason, the buddhist teachings are wonderful and can help tremendously number of person outside the field of illumination...

    For example our societies managers are lack of emotional balances, due to mind over-lasting ... but then some of them are lead to other mystical fields that won't necessarily assist them because the assistance they seek is within themselves but nobody is telling them those...

    Too many persons are complaining about distort in nowadays society, but byside family and cultural surroundings, I think that education itself if limited, limitless won't spread out...

    Let there be light !!!
    Many blessings.
    Sonia C. Tavares


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