Oakville Zen Meditation

#254 The practice of Meditation: to be or not to be Dec 16-18

   The practice of Meditation : to be or not to to be

During a 2014 retreat in France, famous Zen Master Thich Nhat Hanh asked:

“ Do you want to know what meditation is all about?”

His students were eager for the answer.

“He said: “ The secret of meditation is “thoughtless thinking” that is focusing w/o analysis, w/o judgment and w/o decision. It is practicing mindfulness in its purest form that is JUST BE......JUST BE IN THE NOW

“ Just be present, right there, right now in the moment, focus on your posture ad breathing;

No grasping, no analytic thinking, no effort. You are a mirror reflecting what your mind is producing. When a thought or feeling appears as it always does, accept it as it is whatever you like it or not.

Then delete it and go back to your anchor such as breathing. Nothing more needs to be done.

The Tibetan word for meditation is “gom”, which means To become familiar with something by repeating it over and over”.

When we meditate, we return to the same technique again and again. This familiar return can be comfortable or not. It can be also perceived too repetitive and boring, resulting in the resistance towards this regular practice and eventually strong desire to quit.

What can we do against this boredom, resistance, feelings of wasting time and routine?

To avoid these perceptions of repetition, boredom, and déjà vu, the great Japanese teacher Dogen used to tell his students to practice “don’t meditate”. “Non-meditation” means that, every time we sit, we have to experience this sitting as something totally new experience.

We can achieve this by considering each sitting as your very first time.

As we know, any new stuff such as car, date, job, gift, food, book, etc. generated some sort of excitement.

By refrming our daily practice as a new experience every time, each session becomes unique.

Once a while, instead of being focused on 3specific goals such as posture, breathing and awareness on incoming thoughts, just pay attention to the present reality and present moment in a mindfully way w/o judgment w/o decision. You practice of just resting in the here and now will help you.

When you are in the present concrete reality, a sense of adventure will often spontaneously arise, because anything can happen such as surrounding sounds, light, and body perceptions as we ride the wave of now.

They are many types of meditation such as transcendental, with music, pictures, even guided.

They are meditations where incoming thoughts are filtered so one can analyze a specific one to deal with. This is not genuine meditation but the practice of being your own therapist.

I have nothing against these various types as long there are useful but they deviate from genuine

Zen meditation. Why?

Because these meditation techniques imply an intellectual, rational and sensorial process that is a mental exercise where the mind is running the show and not you.

Mindfulness meditation is the opposite since its main goal is to tame our restless mind rather than be controlled by it. Focusing / paying attention on one target such as breathing is a “non-analytic, non judgmental non decisional mono-thinking” rather than” analytic, judgmental and decisional multi-thinking

Final words:

Try to consider each sitting as a new discovery which all the excitement that every discovery and new stuff can bring in our daily life. This is not easy.

You will discover some freshness in your daily sitting practice.

Your mindfulness meditation practice will remain dynamic if not joyful.