Wherever You Go, There You Are

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Wherever You Go, There You Are by Mind Map: Wherever You Go, There You Are

1. Part III

2. Part I: Defining Purpose and Attributes of Mindfulness and Meditation

2.1. Nature of the Mind

2.1.1. Functions of the mind

2.1.1.1. To compare

2.1.1.2. To judge

2.1.1.3. To evaluate

2.1.2. "Soul Work"

2.1.2.1. Definition

2.1.2.1.1. The development of depth of character through knowing something of the tortuous labyrinthine depths and expanses of our own minds

2.1.2.2. Relevance

2.1.2.2.1. We understand much of the world through stories and myths by using the morals and characters from these stories to relate to our own experience

2.1.2.2.2. Knowing these stories is to come in touch with the forces of one's own psyche, its own initiation

2.1.3. Thoughts Are

2.1.3.1. Ideas

2.1.3.1.1. Less than accurate, uninformed private opinions, rejections, and prejudices

2.1.3.1.2. based on limited knowledge influenced primarily by our past conditioning

2.1.3.1.3. powerful, potential blockers which keep us from seeing the present moment clearly

2.1.3.2. Filters

2.1.3.2.1. Dichotomy of Thoughts

2.1.3.2.2. We can live in a dream present for a dream future. Without knowing it, we are coloring everything, putting our spin on it all.

2.2. Defining Mindfulness

2.2.1. Mindfulness means paying attention in three particular ways:

2.2.1.1. Nonjudgmentally

2.2.1.1.1. does not mean

2.2.1.1.2. does mean

2.2.1.2. In the present moment

2.2.1.2.1. Above all, mindfulness has to do with attention and awareness

2.2.1.2.2. There is no "performance"

2.2.1.3. On purpose

2.2.1.3.1. We can only step from where we are standing

2.2.1.3.2. If we don't know where we are standing, we may only go in circles for all our efforts and expectations

2.2.1.3.3. Life itself becomes the teacher

2.2.2. Letting Go

2.2.2.1. “So, in meditation practice, the best way to get somewhere is to let go of trying to get anywhere at all.” (Part I)

2.2.2.2. Consider: Our thoughts/judgments as tinted lenses

2.2.2.2.1. Whether something is good or bad… for or against me…

2.2.2.2.2. This type of thinking dominates the mind

2.2.2.3. To let each moment be just as it is, without attempting to evaluate it as “good” or “bad would be true stillness, a true liberation.

2.2.2.4. To let go, we must become transparent to:

2.2.2.4.1. The strong pull of our own likes and dislikes

2.2.2.4.2. The unawareness that draws us to cling to them.

2.2.2.5. It’s not about getting somewhere else, but about allowing yourself to be where you already are.

2.3. How to Meditate

2.3.1. The Act of Meditating

2.3.1.1. Meditation is an intentional, systematic human activity in which one simply tries to realize where they are

2.3.1.2. Not about trying to improve yourself or get anywhere else.” (Part I)

2.3.1.3. Formal Meditation

2.3.1.3.1. Purposefully making a time for stopping all outward activity and cultivating stillness, with no agenda other than being fully present in each moment. (Part I)

2.3.1.3.2. Sitting meditation is not a matter of taking on a special body posture, however powerful that may be. It is adopting a particular posture toward the mind. It is mind sitting.” (Part II)

2.3.1.4. When practicing meditation and it occurs, we don’t try to stop or ignore the flow of thoughts and everyday occurrences, we instead:

2.3.1.4.1. Witness whatever comes up in the mind or the body

2.3.1.4.2. Recognize it without condemning it or pursuing it

2.3.1.4.3. Accept that our judgments are unavoidable and necessarily limiting thoughts about experience.

2.3.2. Different Ways to Realize and Understand Meditating

2.3.2.1. Watching thought itself. “The watching is the holding.” (Part I)

2.3.2.2. To Separate from the Current/Waterfall of Thought

2.3.2.2.1. Getting out of the current

2.3.2.2.2. The Waterfall

2.3.2.3. Observing the Mind

2.3.2.3.1. Letting the mind be as it is and knowing something about how it is in this moment.

2.3.2.3.2. Ultimately, the winds of life and the mind will blow, do what we may. Meditation is about knowing something about this and how to work with it.

2.3.2.3.3. Negative/Unwanted Thoughts or Emotions

2.3.2.3.4. Consider: Positive thinking “If we decide to think positively, that may be useful, but it is not meditation. It is just more thinking.” (Part I)

2.3.3. Breathing

2.3.3.1. How to

2.3.3.1.1. Make a little time in your life for stillness (non-doing) and tune into your breathing

2.3.3.1.2. Silently focus on your breathing

2.3.3.1.3. If your mind wanders, let the thoughts come and go

2.3.3.1.4. Return to your breathing

2.3.3.2. "All of Walden Pond is within your breath."

2.3.4. Non-Doing

2.3.4.1. “Non-doing simply means letting things be and allowing them to unfold in their own way. Enormous effort can be involved, but it is a graceful, knowledgeable, effortless effort, a “doerless doing” cultivated over a lifetime.” (Part I)

2.3.4.2. “The only way you can do anything of value is to have the effort come of non-doing and to let go of caring whether it will be of use or not. Otherwise, self-involvement and greediness can sneak in and distort your relationship to the work.” (Part I)

2.3.4.3. “Meditation is synonymous with the practice of non-doing. We aren’t practicing to make things perfect or to do things perfectly. Rather, we practice to grasp and realize (make real for ourselves) the fact that things are already perfect, perfectly where we are.” (Part I)

2.3.4.3.1. “If you really aren’t trying to get anywhere else in this moment, patience takes care of itself. It is a remembering that things unfold in their own time. The seasons cannot be hurried. Spring comes, the grass grows by itself.” (Part I)

2.4. Negative feelings

2.4.1. Unawareness

2.4.1.1. “Not knowing that you are even in such a dream is what the Buddhists call “ignorance,” or mindlessness. Being in touch with this not knowing is called, “mindfulness.” (Intro)

2.4.1.2. “The habit of ignoring our present moments of others yet to come leads directly to a pervasive lack of awareness of the web of life in which we are embedded.” (Part I)

2.4.1.3. "Not only does unawareness come with the territory, it is the territory."

2.4.2. Fear based self-protection

2.4.2.1. the resistance to the impulse to give

2.4.2.2. worries about the future

2.4.2.3. the feeling you may be giving too much

2.4.2.4. the thought that:

2.4.2.4.1. your efforts won’t be appreciated “enough” or

2.4.2.4.2. that you will be exhausted from the effort or

2.4.2.4.3. that you won’t get anything out of it or that you don’t have enough yourself.” (Part I)

2.4.3. Attachment (ritual, stillness)

2.4.3.1. “Getting caught up in the normal human tendencies of self-cherishing and arrogance, and ignoring the larger order of things will ultimately lead to an impasse in your life in which you are unable to go forward, unable to go back, and unable to turn around.” (Part I)

2.4.3.2. “If we decide to think positively, that may be useful, but it is not meditation. It is just more thinking.” (Part I)

2.4.3.3. Attachment to stillness: “Concentration practice, however strong and satisfying, is incomplete without mindfulness to complement and deepen it. By itself, it resembles a state of withdrawal from the world. Its characteristic energy is closed rather than open, absorbed rather than available, trancelike rather than fully awake.” (Part I)

2.4.4. “Scratch the surface of impatience and what you will find lying beneath it, subtly or not so subtly, is anger. It’s the strong energy of not wanting things to be the way they are and blaming someone (often yourself) or something for it.” (Part I)

2.4.5. Self-Serving Ambition

2.4.5.1. “If you do decide to start meditating, there’s no need to tell other people about it, or talk about why you are doing it or what it’s doing for you. In fact, there is no better way to waste your nascent energy and enthusiasm for practice and thwart your efforts so they will be unable to gather momentum.” (Part I)

2.4.5.2. “It often happens that we become trapped into believing too strongly that we do know where we are going, especially if we are driven by self-serving ambition and we want certain things very badly. There is a blindness that comes from self-furthering agendas that leaves us thinking we know when we actually don’t know as much as we think.” (Part I)

2.4.6. “It is useful at times to admit to yourself that you don’t know your way and to be open to help from unexpected places. Doing this makes available to you inner and outer energies and allies that arise out of your own soulfulness and selflessness.” (Part I)

2.4.6.1. “You’ll get caught up in wanting to have a “special experience” on in looking for signs of progress, and if you don’t feel something special pretty quickly, you may start to doubt the path you have chosen, or to wonder whether you are ‘doing it right’.” (Part I)

2.5. Positive Energy

2.5.1. Stillness

2.5.1.1. “By taking a few moments to “die on purpose” to the rush of time while you are still living, you free yourself to have time for the present. By “dying” now in this way, you actually become more alive now.” (Part I)

2.5.1.2. “The stopping actually makes the going more vivid, richer, more textured.” (Part I)

2.5.2. Trust

2.5.2.1. a feeling of confidence or conviction that things can unfold within a dependable framework that embodies order and integrity.” (Part I)

2.5.2.2. What do we Trust in ourselves?

2.5.2.2.1. our ability to observe

2.5.2.2.2. to be open and attentive

2.5.2.2.3. to reflect upon experience

2.5.2.2.4. to grow and learn from observing and attending

2.5.2.2.5. to know something deeply, we will hardly persevere in cultivating any of these abilities…” (Part I)

2.5.3. Generosity

2.5.3.1. towards the self—self-acceptance, feeling deserving, receiving from yourself and the universe.

2.5.3.2. “At the deepest level, there is no giver, no gift, and no recipient… only the universe rearranging itself.” (Part I)

2.5.3.2.1. Patience/Right Mindfulness

2.5.3.2.2. “Selfless compassion is what Buddhists call “right mindfulness”… Knowing that

2.5.3.2.3. “It’s not that feelings of anger don’t arise. It’s that the anger can be used, worked with, harness so that its energies can nourish patience, compassion, harmony and wisdom in ourselves and perhaps in others as well.” (Part I)

2.5.3.3. Towards others –Experiment with giving away this energy – in little ways at first – directing it toward yourself and towards others with no thought of gain or return.” (Part I)

2.5.4. True Strength

2.5.4.1. Pitfalls of trying to seem strong

2.5.4.1.1. To feel invulnerable is isolating and causes unnecessary amounts of pain

2.5.4.1.2. Believing you are strong is cleverly disguised arrested development

2.5.4.1.3. What looks like weakness is actually where your strength lies. And what looks like strength is often weakness, an attempt to cover up fear

2.5.4.2. To be truly strong

2.5.4.2.1. Avoid emphasizing your own strength to yourself or to others.

2.5.4.2.2. Direct your energy where you most fear to look

2.5.4.2.3. Allow yourself to feel, to cry even,

2.5.4.2.4. For a time, stop having opinions about everything,

2.5.4.2.5. Do not try to appear invincible or unfeeling to others,

2.5.4.2.6. Instead, be open.” (Part I)

2.5.5. Simplicity

2.5.5.1. “Voluntary simplicity means going fewer places in one day rather than more, seeing less so I can see more…” (Part I)

2.5.5.2. “A commitment to simplicity in the midst of the world is a delicate balancing act. It is always in need of retiming, further, inquiry, attention.” (Part I)

2.5.6. Samadhi

2.5.6.1. “Samadhi is onepointedness, concentration, developed and deepened by continually bring the attention back to the breath every time it wanders.” (Part I)

2.5.6.2. Importance: “You can only look deeply into something if you can sustain your looking without being constantly thrown off by distractions or by the agitation of your own mind. The deeper your concentration, the deeper the potential for mindfulness.” (Part I)

2.5.6.3. “To stay at it for even five minutes requires intentionality. To make it part of your life requires some discipline.” (Part I)

2.5.6.4. “You can easily observe the mind’s habit of escaping from the present moment for yourself. Just try to keep your attention focused on any object for even a short period of time. You will find that to cultivate mindfulness, you may have to remember over and over again to be awake and aware.” (Part I)

2.5.7. Awareness: Vision

2.5.7.1. Our Own Vision

2.5.7.1.1. “You will need a vision that is deep and tenacious and that lies close to the core of who you believe yourself to be, what you value in your life and where you see yourself going.” (Part I)

2.5.7.2. Awareness

2.5.7.2.1. “Awareness is not part of the darkness or the pain; it holds the pain…” (Part I)

2.5.7.2.2. not the same as thought as it lies beyond thinking,

2.5.7.2.3. however, awareness contains and makes use of thinking by honoring its value and its power…

2.5.7.2.4. “The thinking mind can at times be severely fragmented…

2.5.7.2.5. Helps us perceive

2.5.7.2.6. “Awareness sees the anger; it knows the depth of the anger; and it is larger than the anger.” (Part I)

2.5.7.3. “Our happiness, satisfaction, and our understanding, even of God, will be no deeper than our capacity to know ourselves inwardly, to encounter the outer world from the deep comfort that comes from being at home in one’s own skin…” (Part I)

3. Part II: Meditation Techniques

3.1. 1) Mind Sitting

3.1.1. What is Mind Sitting?

3.1.1.1. “Sitting meditation is not a matter of taking on a special body posture, however powerful that may be. It is adopting a particular posture toward the mind. It is mind sitting.”

3.1.1.2. “Ultimately you can expand your awareness to observe all the comings and goings, the gyrations and machinations of your own thoughts and feelings, perceptions and impulses, body and mind.”

3.1.1.3. “When your mind and body collaborate in holding body, time, place, and posture in awareness, and remain unattached to having it have to be a certain way, then and only then are you truly sitting.”

3.1.1.4. “Mindful sitting meditation is not an attempt to escape problems or difficulties into some cut-off “meditative” state of absorption or denial. On the contrary, it is a willingness to go nose to nose with pain, confusion, and loss, if that is what is dominating the present moment, and to stay with the observing over a sustained period of time, beyond thinking.”

3.1.1.5. “Turn both palms up, being mindful as you do it, you may not a change in energy in the body… Sitting this way embodies receptivity, an openness to what is above… Chinese proverb: As above, so below.”

3.1.2. Purpose/Intention: Meditation is the work of moments

3.1.2.1. “Develop a mind that clings to nothing.” – The Diamond Sutra

3.1.2.1.1. Only then will we be able to see things as they actually are

3.1.2.1.2. Respond with the full range of our emotional capacity and our wisdom.

3.1.2.2. What have we yet to learn cannot be forced

3.1.2.2.1. “You cannot force someone to appreciate the golden light of the low sun shining over fields of wheat or the moonrise in the mountains.”

3.1.2.2.2. “Best not to speak at all in moments such as these in order to truly enjoy them.”

3.1.2.3. Contemplating ‘What is my Way?’

3.1.2.3.1. We don't have to come up with answers, nor think that there has to be one particular answer

3.1.2.3.2. The intention here is to remain open to not knowing, perhaps allowing yourself to come to the point of admitting, ‘I don’t know’

3.1.2.3.3. Experimenting with relaxing a bit into not knowing instead of condemning yourself for it.”

3.1.2.4. You are the protagonist

3.1.2.4.1. As a human being, you are the central figure in the universal hero’s mythic journey, the fairy tale, the Arthurian quest.

3.1.2.4.2. For men and women alike, this journey is the trajectory between birth and death, a human life lived.

3.1.2.4.3. “No one escapes the adventure. We only work with it differently.”

3.1.2.5. Defense Mechanisms

3.1.2.5.1. “We may be so defended against feeling the full impact of our emotional pain – whether it be grief, sadness, shame, disappointment, anger or for that matter, even joy or satisfaction – that we unconsciously escape into a cloud of numbness in which we do not permit ourselves to feeling anything at all or know what we are feeling.”

3.1.2.5.2. “When you can love one tree or one flower or one dog or one place or yourself for one moment, you can find all people, all places, all suffering, all harmony in that one moment. Practicing in this way is not really trying to change anything or get anywhere, although it might look like it on the surface. What it is really doing is uncovering what is always present.”

3.1.2.5.3. “Your task is not to seek for love; but merely to seek and find all the barriers within yourself that you have built against it.” – Rumi

3.2. 2) Time

3.2.1. Usual suspects that challenge us as we meditate:

3.2.1.1. Boredom

3.2.1.2. Impatience

3.2.1.3. Frustration

3.2.1.4. Fear

3.2.1.5. Anxiety (worrying about all the things you might be accomplishing if you weren’t meditating)

3.2.1.6. Fantasy

3.2.1.7. Memories

3.2.1.8. Anger

3.2.1.9. Pain

3.2.1.10. Fatigue

3.2.1.11. Grief

3.2.2. “Meditation has little to do with clock time.”

3.2.2.1. The sincerity of your effort matters far more than elapsed time

3.2.2.2. Meditation is about stepping out of minutes and hours and into moments

3.2.2.3. “Moments are truly dimensionless and therefore infinite.”

3.2.2.4. “Recall that in a line six inches long, there are an infinite number of points. It turns out that we have plenty of time, if we are willing to hold any moments at all in awareness.”

3.2.3. “When you really look for me, you will see me instantly -- you will find me in the tiniest house of time.” – Kabir

3.3. 3) Sitting, Standing, Lying Down Meditation

3.3.1. Sitting

3.3.1.1. “Sit in a way that embodies dignity.”

3.3.1.1.1. Relaxed Face

3.3.1.1.2. Dropped Shoulders

3.3.1.1.3. Spine rising from Pelvis

3.3.1.2. The orientation of sitting meditation

3.3.1.2.1. Non-attachment

3.3.1.2.2. Unwavering stability

3.3.1.2.3. Like a clear mirror, only reflecting, itself

3.3.1.2.4. Empty, receptive, open.

3.3.2. Walking meditation

3.3.2.1. Bring awareness to your own walking.

3.3.2.2. Slow it down a bit.

3.3.2.3. Center yourself in your body and in the present moment.

3.3.2.4. Appreciate the fact that you are able to walk

3.3.2.4.1. Perceive how miraculous your walking is

3.3.2.4.2. Don’t take for granted that your body works so wonderfully

3.3.3. Standing meditation: Learn from the trees

3.3.3.1. Feel your body sway gently, as it always will, just as trees do in a breeze.

3.3.3.2. Drink in what is in front of you, or keep your eyes closed and sense your surroundings.

3.3.3.3. When mind or body first signals that perhaps it is time to move on, stay with the standing a while longer

3.3.3.4. “Remember that that trees stand still for years, occasionally lifetimes if they are fortunate.”

3.3.4. Lying down meditation

3.3.4.1. Before sleep, upon waking, while resting or lounging, tune into your breath

3.3.4.2. Feel it moving in your entire body, in various regions such as the feet, legs, pelvis, chest etc.

3.3.4.3. Allow yourself to feel whatever is present, sensations in the body flux and change.”

3.4. 4) Visualizing the Mountain and the Lake

3.4.1. Using the Lake Meditation

3.4.1.1. Picture in your mind’s eye, a lake

3.4.1.1.1. Note the water seeks its own level, asks to be contained.

3.4.1.1.2. The lake may be deep or shallow, blue or green, muddy or clear.

3.4.1.1.3. With no wind, the lake is flat

3.4.1.1.4. In winter it freezes, with much movement below

3.4.1.2. When you have established the picture, allow yourself to become one with the lake as you lie down on your back or sit in meditation

3.4.1.3. Use your awareness to hold your energies in the same way as the lake’s waters are held by the receptive and accepting basin of the earth itself

3.4.1.4. In your meditation practice and in your daily life, can you identify not only with the content of your thoughts and feelings but also with the vast unwavering reservoir of awareness itself residing below the surface of the mind?

3.4.2. Using the Mountain Meditation

3.4.2.1. Picture the most beautiful mountain you know or can imagine, one whose form speaks personally to you.

3.4.2.2. As you focus on the image or the feeling of the mountain in your mind’s eye, notice its overall shape, the lofty peak, the base rooted in the rock of the earth’s crust, the steep or gently sloping sides.

3.4.2.3. Note as well how massive it is, how beautiful whether seen from afar or up close.

3.4.2.4. When you feel ready, see if you can bring the mountain into your own body so that your body sitting here and the mountain of the mind’s eye become one.

3.4.2.4.1. Your head becomes the lofty peak;

3.4.2.4.2. Your shoulders and arms the sides of the mountain

3.4.2.4.3. Your buttocks and legs the solid base rooted to your cushion on the floor or to your chair.

3.4.2.5. Dancing Mountains

3.4.2.5.1. Mountains are quintessentially emblematic of abiding presence and stillness

3.4.2.5.2. We tend to take our emotions/storms personally, but the mountain’s strongest characteristic is impersonal.

3.4.2.6. Climbing boulders

3.4.2.6.1. The foot ultimately commits to one way

3.4.2.6.2. Just as you decide where to put your foot next, so must you decide what to think and do next in your life

3.4.2.6.3. Covering ground on foot always unfolds out of the uniqueness of the present moment

3.4.2.6.4. “Our feet and our breath both teach us to watch our step.”

3.5. 5) Coming out of Meditation

3.5.1. As you recognize each impulse, breathe with it for a few moments, and ask yourself, ‘Who has had enough?’

3.5.2. Try looking into what is behind the impulse. Is it fatigue, boredom, pain, impatience; or is it just time to stop?

3.5.3. Rather than automatically leaping up or moving on, try lingering with whatever arises out of this inquiry

3.5.4. When it comes to ending a sitting, soft and gentle (lightly ringing bell) is good, and hard and loud is good (gong). Both remind us to be fully present in moments of transition, that all endings are also beginnings.