July 10, 2007

Meeting the Masters

So my meditation instructor told me to hang into and “lean into” that feeling of not wanting to be there during sitting. She said the easy thing part of sitting on the bench was just spacing out, not meditation because it wasn’t done with any intention. When I told her I constantly find myself thinking “I don’t get it. What’s the point?” she said there is no point and something about not being able to go into it looking for some specific goal.

If there is no point, how can there be an intention? If there is intention, shouldn’t it be an intention towards something? Doesn’t intention have to have a goal? A point? Can intention be pointless? If there’s no point to meditating, no goal, no benefits, then WHAT IS THE POINT?

I don’t understand what she means by “lean into” that feeling, but I didn’t ask for clarification because I figured if that was the best way she could describe it, I probably wasn’t going to understand what she was talking about. I’ll just keep on noticing when my mind starts rattling cage and see if that is what she meant. She said this time when my mind really starts to rebel can be a very fruitful period if I just stick with it.

It wasn’t the most helpful meditation instruction I have ever gotten, but I’ll do my best to follow her advice. Whatever it was.

Last night I also go to meet The Sakyong, the head of Shambhala International and the Dharma Heir for his father the Vidyahara, Chogyam Trungpa. He seemed tired. I know he has to be over forty, but he seems very young. We chatted briefly, but I didn’t sense any kind of connection.

The level of deference shown to him bothers me a bit. One lady, who has been in the sangha since his father’s time, even referred to him as “His Majesty.” Despite my liberal Buddhist tendencies, I’m still American and there is just something slightly creepy about that. He’s late for everything, too. I’m a punctual freak, I admit, but I tend to view tardiness as at best disrespectful and at worst dishonest. He seems like a nice enough fellow and I like his book Turning the Mind Into an Ally. I haven’t read his latest book, Ruling Your World, but I find the title a little off-putting.

I wonder if my own tiredness (I think I’m missing something in my diet here), my dissatisfaction with my meditation practice, and my financial difficulties (the saga continues) which are just making me less charitable towards everyone lately.

“All suffering, without exception, comes from the desire for happiness for oneself, while perfect Buddha hood is born from the desire to make others happy. This is why completely exchanging one’s happiness for that of others is a practice of the bodhisattva.” - His Holiness the Dalai Lama in Essential Teachings, p.52

He’s the Dalai Lama; he should know, right?


Stuff said...

You're not the first person to mention how meditation seems pointless.

I wonder if your instructor meant that you could take your agitation as a point of analysis? While you're sitting there being agitated, perhaps you can try to see why you're agitated?

If it turns out you really feel that sitting doing nothing is pointless, you maybe could do something else entirely, or start from the beginning and revisit and make concrete the reasons why meditation can be beneficial . .

I find myself having to do that quite often . . I try to see the difference between a few days of meditation, and a few days without, and make notes. It's a slow process though . .

The last thing I remembered from the 'Spiritual Materialism' book, was that when you're very frustrated, just give it all up completely for a while. This lets you relax and not have to worry about it, and you can think freshly about it . .

Erm, anyway. It's hard and it can suck, but what are the alternatives?

Good luck!

Monica said...

Well, I'm doing shamatha meditation (calm abiding) so I don't think I'm supposed to turn it into analytical meditation to try to figure out why I'm not abiding calmly. I think I'm just supposed to notice the thought/feeling without trying to pick it apart. I do plenty of that kind of stuff outside of meditation anyway.

Thanks for the encouragement though. I haven't tried keeping notes. Maybe that's help.

Take care!