Week 4 - Class content
Today we recapped what we have covered over the weeks.
The first stage of meditation is to cease distractions and make our mind clearer and more lucid. This can be achieved through the various techniques we have tasted and practiced over the weeks. ie. using different objects of meditation eg. breathing, senses, mantra etc. Perhaps, this is more about creating the time and space within our lives to experience ourselves in our true nature. Sitting with ourselves.
At first the mind will be very busy. You many even feel meditation is making our mind busier, but in reality we are just becoming more aware of how busy our mind actually is. We may be tempted to follow different thoughts as they arise. We eventually lose the need to follow these thoughts and remain focussed single-pointedly on our sensations of breath. If we realise our mind has wandered, and followed our thoughts, we immediately come back to our breath - eventually the mind settles on the breath. We practice patiently in this, gradually distracting thoughts will subside and we shall experience a ssense of inner peace and relaxation. Our mind will feel lucid and spacious and shall feel refreshed.
Creating this stillnesss, has allowed us to 'let the sediments in the murky water to settle'. Referring to the analogy of meditation being a process where through creating the space or stillness, we can let the flying thoughts in our chaotic mind or 'sediments in the murky water' to settle. Allowing us to see with clarity. Clarity to see who we are defining ourselves as and our environment. Lets keep this in mind... that the stillness creates clarity...
From this we moved on to the concept of the 'duality of the mind'. It can be defined as having two components the conscious and subconscious. This is explained more in this week's class notes. The concept of the mind and its functions have been described in many forms. We have called the Conscious Mind as consisting of whatever is occupying your awareness at any one moment, whether this be thoughts, sensations, feelins or emotions. The conscious mind - consciousness - is essentially the part of the mind in which we feel ourselves to live. eg. the gardener as per class notes.
The Subconscious consists of those mysterious depths which are generally inaccessible to the conscious mind without the use of appropriate techniques (hypnosis, dreaming and , above all, meditation). This we referred to as the 'bed of rich soil' which helps grow all kinds of seeds to sprout and flourish, whether good or bad. In class we discussed, if we ow thorns, will we gather grapes? If we sow thistles, will we harvest figs? So every thought is a cause, and every conditions is an effect. This is the reason it is so essential that we take charge of our thoughts. In that way, we can bring forth only desirable conditions.
In class, we did the 'who am I?' exercise. Where we were not allowed to think but to automatically write down the first thing that comes to mind, each time we are asked 'who am I?' We touched on the topic of when a child is born, it is born of no definition and a truth of boundless potential. As adults we forget we are still this boundless potential but for some reason or other we have forgotten our boundless potential and restricted by definitions we have placed upon ourselve or by others.
So this week's homework, in addition to practicing our stillness, is to see and notice how we choose to feel or meet our external experiences. Firstly, to notice who or what we define ourselves as, what labels have we placed upon ourselves? Then to see with clarity, if these definitions/labels are applicable in the greater scheme of ourselves. Do these labels serve us in defining who we are or want to be?
One example we used was that one who affirms to oneself 'I am trying to be a writer' will naturally struggle and experience the difficulties of 'trying to be a writer'. When another 'label' or definition that can serve oneself better is "I am a writer" - rather than confirm an sense of inadequacy as a writer.
So I have suggested to just observe what labels we place upon ourselves during the week and more importantly, see if we can change one of these 'labels' or thoughts of ourselves that do not serve us. Some examples used in class were "I am confident", "I have plenty of time", "I am a natural writer", "I am true to myself", "I am complete as I am".... whatever is applicable for you. But just commiting this week to choosing one 'affirmation' and seeing how this affects our experience of life internally and externally ie. our experiences with others, and what emotions we experience within - is it dependant on the situation and circumstances or is it determined by how we feel inside, eg. at peace with ourselves.
Lots covered this week. Many things to contemplate and experiment. Its an exciting week to explore our current reality. Looking forward to sharing your experiences. Hope this makes sense, it is a bit late afterall - please feel free to call or email to discuss.