Quiet Mind Meditation

This is a quiet space .. designed to inspire, nurture and support your meditation practice so that you might find your own quiet mind

Tuesday, 10 May 2011

Susan Piver : The Open Heart Project

I'm thrilled to introduce you to Susan Piver .. I have been reading Susan Piver's blogs and website for many years .. she is an inspiring writer and teacher of writing and meditation .. and Buddhist practitioner. She has written 5 books (with a 6th on the way), writes for Huffington Post and owns a book packaging business Padma Media. More recently Susan has started offering weekly meditation instruction via her blog called 'the open heart project'. I emailed Susan recently because of this beautiful piece she wrote on meeting and listening to our inner voice .. and so with Susan's permission I have reprinted her article here .. thank you Susan ..
How to be more disciplined? The practice of sitting meditation begins to shed some light on the Buddhist view of discipline. In meditation (instruction here), you cultivate focus and awareness by placing your attention on your breath rather than your thoughts. PS It has nothing to do with emptying the mind of thought!! Almost impossible!! Stop trying!! Big hoax!!
Instead, you take a different view of your thoughts by seeing them as passing phenomena while your primary allegiance, attention-wise, is to your breath as it flows in and out through your nose. When you forget to do this and become wholly absorbed in thought again, you simply come back. With kindness toward yourself.

This gentle coming back is our first clue as to what true discipline is. It has nothing to do with bullying yourself. It has nothing do with being “good” or “bad.” In fact, it has nothing to do with anything other than simply coming back. There is no narrative attached to this action, it is what it is. Coming back is always possible–whether to your breath in meditation, the taste of your dinner, the ache of your heart which needs attention, the beauty of the flowers in your garden, or the eleventy thousand things you have to do.

To come back, you have to have a sense of what it means to be gone, to be able to recognize where you are altogether. In meditation, something happens to let you know that you are “gone,” i.e. absorbed primarily in thought rather than breath. That something is very, very interesting. You’re sitting on your cushion, following breath, following breath, following breath, thinking about dinner, worrying you’re too fat, admonishing yourself to eat more vegetables, remembering that time you ate vegetables with that person you used to go out with, hey whatever happened to him/her, I really loved him/her, what an asshole s/he was for breaking up with me, no one will ever love me, hey, I’m really getting hungry now, is that a stain on the carpet?… and so on. (This is how mind works.) Suddenly in mid-longing, mid-kvetching, or mid-meandering, a voice comes in from, well, somewhere. It says, “Thinking. You are thinking. Time to go back to breath.” And so you do.

Have you ever wondered where that voice comes from? I have. A lot. I don’t really know the answer, but I do know what it feels like when this voice re-arises to point out to me my whereabouts.

She cuts discursiveness.

She is like a breath of fresh air.

She is extremely precise and aware.

I love her.

She leads me back to where I want to be, over and over again.

With her, I can remember that I’m supposed to be writing or practicing or thinking of others. Then I am free to act on what I know is right. She cuts into the stream of laziness I so easily get swept away by, not by shaming me, not at all, but by reminding me of who I am and where my devotion lies.

She is the key player when it comes to discipline.

Meditation practice introduces me to her, over and over.When she is extremely active, it is easy to stay on task. She brings me back to whatever I am doing. And I don’t have to tell you what it feels like at the end of a day where you have honored your commitments to yourself, to others, and to your very own life—you feel complete, unadulterated joy. All is right with the world. You feel tremendously heartened. Inspired. Light.

Whether or not things have gone well or poorly, when you stand right in the middle of your life, honoring your true priorities, the day ends with a kind of delicious fatigue. You are in the game. You are living your authentic life. You feel like you can fly. You can’t wait to get up in the morning and begin again.

The key to living like this? Coming back. That's all there is to it. If you can only remember one thing as you go through your day and your life, remember this:

You can always come back.

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