This Monday, Marie will facilitate. She shares:
When you meditate, to what extent are you resting? It can be all too easy for me to have "meditation" as an item on my to-do list and then bring an element of effort on to the cushion. I am meditating, but am I resting?
In his book No Self, No Problem, Anam Thubten writes that:
"Meditation is about resting completely. Not just physically resting, but resting completely. Compete rest includes letting go of all forms of mental effort. Mind is always busy doing something. Mind has a very huge job to do. It has to sustain the universe. It has to sustain existence, because if our mind collapses, then there is no universe.... There is nothing there when the mind stopes maintaining this virtual reality. There is no universe. It's like riding a bicycle. When you ride a bicycle, you have to constantly keep pedaling. If you pause, the bicycle doesn't run on its own; it just falls over. In the same way, as long as we don't create this imaginary world, it just collapses. Whatever you call it, samsara, reality or illusion, it collapses. It collapses because there is no one there working constantly to perpetuate it.
Because of this, the mind feels like it has a big responsibility: to constantly construct and perpetuate this world of illusions. So, to rest means to pause, to pause from working very hard, to pause from continuously constructing this world of illusions, the dualistic world, the world that is based on the separation between self and other you and me, good and bad.
When you completely take away the ego mind, the creator of this illusory world, then realization is already there and truth is automatically realized. Therefore, the heart of Buddhist meditation practice is to relax and to rest.
We think we know how to rest. However, when we meditate, we discover that the mind has a tendency to work constantly, to exert effort and to attempt to gain control over reality. Mind is not peaceful or relaxed. We find different layers of mind's effort. This is quite amazing to notice when we sit. At first we think: "Oh - my mind is completely serene and peaceful". But if we keep paying attention to our consciousness, we see that there is a very subtle effort. This is the mind exerting effort, trying to have control over reality. Maybe mind is seeking enlightenment. Maybe mind is trying to transcend ego. Or, we might think: "I don't like what I am experiencing right now. There is pain in my joints". Maybe mind is trying to....whatever... finish the meditation session.
Mind is always making up stories. Therefore, the idea of resting completely involves letting go of all of this. Let go of all the thought. Let go of all the mind's effort and completely be in that natural state of your mind, the truth, the "what is" and then realization is already there."
I find it refreshing, in fact liberating, when I remember and practice these words. On Monday, we will have an opportunity to practice in this way together and to share our experience. After our first sitting and walking meditation, we will have a guided meditation. I hope you can join us.