Tuning in, not tuning out

Our minds, believe or not, are very much like a radio. I’m sure most folks don’t use radios as often with the advent of iPods and mp3 players, but back in the day, before digital tuning, we had to use a knob to find the station we wanted to listen to.

Turning the knob back and forth, we fought off the static until we would get a nice clean station to listen to. Tuned in, we would sit back and enjoy the music coming from our speakers, and it was easy to listen to once tuned in properly.

As meditators, I think one of our goals is similar to the way we used to tune in the radio. As we sit, quietly with our minds, we try to tune into something a bit different, silence. In silence we tame the static of our minds and we are able to truly listen to that space underneath. There, we can begin to cultivate the other goals our practice may call for. Whether that is compassion for all beings, equanimity, quelling anger and destructive emotions, etc.

It is important to be tuned into our minds during meditation, or else our “monkey mind” will get the better of us. In the stillness of our minds, the random chaos that is the thinking brain can be tuned in to a state we can comprehend the dharma in a way that is pure and unadulterated. The teachings are easier to comprehend and the information we absorb during this time of contemplation stays with us more.

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Online Meditation Crew?!?

I’m sure by now, those of you who use Twitter, have seen quite a bit of the #OMCru which stand for, you guess it, Online Meditation Crew. For those that haven’t seen the hashtag being used, here’s the low down… (description taken from Online Meditation Crew blog)

The Online Meditation Crew (#OMCru) is a group of individuals who, through the wonders of technology and a common interest in shared practice, have bumped into each other along the path. The purpose of the OMC is to foster the meditation practice of the individual through the support and company of a crew. Anyone and everyone is welcome to come along on the journey. You can sit. You can walk. You can snuggle under the covers. Just be one with your meditative practice and one with the Crew in sharing your journey.

So how do you join in with the crew? Simple… join Twitter and follow some members of the crew. At the bottom of this post, there is a list of folks to follow that way it’s easy to find them.

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Back To Basics

© Heidi Younger

Yet again, things seem to be getting a bit stale. Life is going well, but my practice is a bit… hmmph you know? I think I am trying to hard, doing this type of practice, reciting this, etc. Maybe I just need to get back to sitting, just sitting.

I feel like I stepped up to the plate, stayed in the batters box for a good while, battling off foul ball after foul ball.

Here and there I’d blast a single out into the gap, running hard to make it a double, I keep getting tagged out though.

I’d get that slow floater, right down the middle… *crack* this one is gonna be a homer, it’s going… going… son of… it was caught, out again!

It’s times like these a guy needs to get sent down for a minor league stint, get things back in order.

At this point, I think it’s time to start over though. Head on down to Florida and start spring training all over again.

I’ve overstepped a bit, got myself a little to deep here and not fully comprehending what it is I am doing here. My throw is off, can’t even reach home plate from the infield..

This is where I am at, sitting here in my virtual Ft. Myers starting all over again. Time to work on my swing a bit, loosen the ole arm up and get back to basics

Illustration Credit: Image by Heidi Younger

Back from Retreat, I’ve joined the Zombies

Arrived home from retreat yesterday. Wow, what a time. The ego comes up with some amazing things when it knows it’s control is threatened, some of them scared the pants off me.

The retreat was titled “The Power Of Mindfulness” and was led by Christina Feldman and Chas Dicapua, both teachers at IMS in Barre, MA (Christine also being the co-founder of Gaia House in England).

Driving through Worcester, MA I was unsure of the “secluded” location I was headed to, but things became rural, really rural, after only a few miles. I passed a few farmhouses, some horses and realized that yes, I would be secluded. As I pulled into the parking lot I picked up the cell phone to let my wife know I arrived safely– no reception. Yup, this is seclusion!

I, and everyone else as they arrived, were given a brief tour of IMS. It’s quite the place, with an interesting history. Rooms for the retreatants are set up much like a dorm, which worked out very well. After the tour, paperwork is filled out and each person is assigned a yogi job. My job was to clean one of the bathrooms, I couldn’t contain my excitement.

I won’t go through every minute of the retreat, but skepticism started arising almost immediately after the opening talk and silence was invoked.
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Life. It happens.

Life is what happens when you aren’t paying attention.

In November I got hit with Bell’s Palsy. Even though I knew I would recover it still hit me pretty hard. Quite a few things came up at work that increased my stress load. The week after Christmas my son wound up in the ER (don’t want to publicly discuss that yet).

During all of this I let my practice fall off.

Why am I posting that I have failed at my practice and need to start over? So you know you aren’t the only one if it happens to you.

Today is a good day to begin again.

Sit Down, Rise Up 24 Hour Meditation Marathon

On November 6th and 7th, the ID Project will be hosting their largest fundraiser to date in the form of a 24- hour Meditation Marathon in the window displays of ABC Carpet & Home in NYC. They are aiming to raise funds for the organization to develop as a true community center, develop a radio show, and develop their activism projects in the coming year. They also need additional support in order to raise funds for the organization to continue providing great classes, events and projects for the upcoming year, and expand the scope of their transformative community.

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Taking Comfort In Suffering

A few posts back I mentioned a co-worker that became a teacher. He recently sent me the gift of Netflix free for a month. I love it! I’ve canceled my movie channels and use Netflix and Xbox live for streaming movies along with the famous red envelopes. How does this apply to Precious Metal? I was finally able to see the Meditate & Destroy DVD because Netflix offers it. See Nate’s review by clicking here.

Something Noah pointed out on the DVD is that we take comfort in our suffering. His example was how abused children will cry when they are taken from abusive parents. The child was treated terribly but he finds comfort with his parents, even though they cause him pain. It sounded crazy at first but then I realized I’m living that life right now. No, I’m not abusing a child. I’m taking comfort in my suffering.

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Stop Looking For Teachers

We need to stop looking for dharma/buddhist/zen/spiritual teachers because we will never find the one we want. Why? Because nobody can live up to the expectations we create in our minds!

There are plenty of teachers out there and if you keep your eyes open you will spot them when they cross your path. Learn what we can from them while you can and keep moving down your path.

How will you know when you see a teacher? Will he be wearing a saffron robe? Will she be meditating on the beach? Will he have a group of followers writing down his every word? Will she have an ethereal glow? If you are looking for any kind of sign you are doing something wrong. Know what it is? You’re looking for a teacher! Stop that.

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Meditation groups say cyber generation is looking inward to counter stress

Thanks to Sumi for posting this up on Facebook!

From Boston.com

Nestled in the woods of this small town, 96 young adults recently gathered at a quiet mansion for a weeklong sojourn, away from buzzing cellphones, humming iPods, and the myriad callings of human and cyber civilizations.

Keeping even the most basic forms of communication, like speaking and writing, to a minimum, they meditated in silence, practicing vipassana, or insight meditation, an ancient Buddhist technique that involves focusing one’s attention on the present, on the breath, mind, and body.

“It was just meditate, eat, sleep,’’ said Kestrel Slocombe, 19, a student at Vermont’s Bennington College who spends much of her time rushing to class, worrying about a novel she’s writing, and painstakingly planning her days, sometimes weeks in advance.

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