Teachings by Bhante Sathi
August 13, 2018￼
A different perspective on emotional and/or distracted meditations.
At the beginning of meditation, I asked a question about your practice. So, let me give you a few tips about meditation practice. So, when you observe the breath, all of you can recognize how our breath works. Sometimes there are full breaths. Long ones. Short ones. But every time you have to let go of the present breath in order to have room for the next breath. Once you have emptied your lungs. Space opens for a new, full breath.
So, in that way, not only in that half an hour, or over the entire day, this process is happening One breath leading to another breath. So, that’s the nature of the breath. If somebody says, “Short breath is not the part of your breath.” Or, “A long breath is not part of the breath.” And half of it is not part of the breath. You know that that is not right. Each breath has the very same pattern. Start. Happening. And then, the end. Right after the end, a new breath begins.
Come back to your mind. What is not part of your mind? What is not… is there any thought you can say, “This is not part of my thoughts.” Or, is there any thought that you can say, “This is not the production of my mind.” Or, “This is not supposed to [be thought].” Is there any emotion that you can say “This is not a part of my emotions.” As a meditator, you are learning and are practicing to have a neutral attitude towards your thoughts, towards your feelings and all the emotions.
During the meditation, you are not going to act or respond or react you are just going to simply go to observe your thoughts. You are simply going to observe your emotions. If you have an agitated mind If you have a busy mind, even a calm mind, for meditators that’s the nature of the present mind. For the meditator, these are equal. It doesn’t matter if it is calm or agitated. Even angry. For the meditator, it is just the nature of the mind.
So, as a mediator who is practicing breathing meditation you are supposed to observe your breath while you are knowing “I have this angry mind.” While you are knowing “I have an angry mind.” “I have a calm mind.” “I have a bad knee.” Or, a painful knee. By knowing you are observing your breath. You are not running away or, you are not avoiding yourself. Just observe. By knowing you keep coming back to your mind. Whenever you notice something about your body or something about outside, or your mind, by knowing that, you come back to your breath.
So, for the meditator, every meditation is a good meditation practice. Every single meditation is a good meditation practice. The meditator. When you say “I had a really bad day today. My meditation was really bad.” But, but knowing you had a bad meditation you are really good! Because you know how that how bad your mind can be. Just think about, if you are mindful when you have anger that is harmless anger. Think about how lucky you are being able to be mindful when you are angry. Think about how lucky you are if you can be mindful when you are anxious. You know now that this is my anxious mind. Or this is my fear. There you are having an opportunity to observe fear. How fear is arising and passing away. You don’t have to find another moment. You are very lucky to notice the angry mind. How this angry mind arises and passes away.
Just think about when a scientist is doing an experiment, the scientist is very happy to see the fault of the experiment. Accidents. Because they can learn from those
accidents. That is an opportunity for them to learn. If they happen to see a strange behavior, They like that. Because they can observe it, therefore, the meditator, having a calm meditation is a kind of boring mediation. Because you are not learning anything, with that, because there is nothing in there. It is calm. It is a good meditation. But, it offers less education. But, when you have this busy mind, this unsettled mind, that is an opportunity for you to learn. Let’s bring that attitude into your practice. Get excited. Become excited to have that anger in your mind. Or an anxious mind. Fear. A fearful mind. Once when you have this attitude, you will not run away from yourself. You’ll become comfortable. You will be comfortable, looking at yourself. Looking at your anger. Looking at your frustration.
For an unmindful person, they always are running away from this negativity. When you run away from negativity you’ll never learn. You’ll never find a way to handle it. When you become powerful then only powerful people will run away from negativity. Just think about who is running away from negativity. People who are smaller than that anger, or powerless. They are the ones who are running away from it.
That is why, when you have a trouble, you call 911. Or, you call the police. The reason you know, even though you are scared of them, the reason is that you are not scared of them. But, if you think that the police cannot do anything, then you would not call 911. You would find someone else with answers. But, why do you call why do you bring someone? Because you know that they are not scared of the same thing you are scared of. You become powerful. When you become powerful, you are do not run away from it. You observe it.
That is how the meditator accumulates or builds this confidence. This is what we call confidence. By knowing who you are, by knowing you are fearless, or you don’t have fear, you bring this mindfulness, to observe what is there. You bring mindfulness to observe how this negative emotion is arising. What is the trigger for this negative emotion? So, when you talk about emotions or feelings then you are talking about results or reactions. But, something is triggering it. Now this trigger, this friction, or that result, happens due to inner experience and outer experience. All those emotions, all those emotions have this connection. Inner experience and outside experience. Most of the time we are, as an ordinary person, we are trying to change this outside
experience. We are trying to change this outside experience. That is what ordinary people are trying to do.
But, as a mindful person, you will go beyond that. You will mindfully recognize what are the things you can change outside. What is your capacity? How much you can change. And the mindful person especially recognizes that you really can change the internal or the inner experience. This inner attitude. If you can change this inner attitude, this whole experience can be changed. Your reaction, your response, is going to change Mindfully, you will recognize how much you can change outside. Then, you are becoming a person who can see these inner experience. That way, as a mindful person, you’ll have a totally different experience than others. Then an ordinary person. So, therefore, for the meditator, a busy mind is a treasure.
For the meditator, an anxious mind is a treasury. For the meditator, the angry mind is a treasure. That person will learn a lot. Any questions or thoughts? [a person clapping] Questions or thoughts [laughing] Questions or thoughts?[laughing] [inaudible – a meditator asks a question.]
Well, Well, let me bring you an example just say you find an experienced farmer, from Minnesota, [chuckling from the meditators] then you see a certain challenge for corn. Corn plants.
But, just think about someone who is farming for the first time and is noticing that something is going wrong. with the farm. And that person doesn’t know what to do. He gets panicked and runs all over to find the answer. But, by comparing that person with an experienced farmer, a well-experienced farmer would not get panicked. He would know exactly about the situation, what made it happen, and what to do. What is the different between the first farmer and the experienced one? Or, the new farmer and the experienced one? The experienced person does not get panicked, because he knows what it is. And he knows how to find the solution. He knows the situation. That person has confidence, knowledge, wisdom, and that farmer knows what to do and that makes him or her to not to have fear. That is what we call confidence. But, that is not the reaction of the first farmer. That is the same with new parents, and grandparents. Experience and confidence. Confidence is a big part of it. Having confidence. [laughing]
So, think about sometimes new parents, or when somebody has their first baby, they go to the doctor’s all the time. They are at the doctor for every single situation. But, grandparents will say, “Ahh, you don’t have to go to the doctor. Just wait a day or two.” He will be fine.” So, I hope I answered your question.
That will be the same thing with meditation. Especially if the biggest challenge of our meditation practice is we are coming to meditation with an expectation. We want it to be calm. We want to have a good experience. A good experience, according to a non-meditator.
A non-meditator think that a good meditation is enlightening you, or calming yourself and relieving stress. That is the idea that non-meditators have. So, they don’t know this as a process. Training. And practice.
But, as a meditator… What does the meditator do? The meditator knows that commitment is number one. Commitment. As long as you are doing your practice and are committed. You know the result will come. Then, every time when you have a challenge, you are learning something.
The mindful person learns from challenges. An unmindful person runs away from the challenge. So, for the mindful person, the challenge is a good thing. [laughing] [laughing] [A meditator asks a question.]So, you are talking about emotions, say anger Say I had a rough day at the office, and everyone was on my case. So, I’ve built up anger and resentment. Do I deal with that during my meditation or after I meditate thinking why I was so upset during my meditation?[Bante Sathi] Actually both. I mean, during the meditation you are not bringing that into the meditation. During the meditation, you are just keeping your mind and observing what is there. There you are gaining the skill that you can apply another time. Like when you have this situation at work. Then you are bringing that mindfulness to observe and to recognize this anger and deal with it.
So, it is like when do you build immunity? You are building immunity at a different time, when you are getting the shot. Or when you are taking medication. When do you use it? When you are facing the germs. You are practicing the skill all the time.
That is why when you practice meditation this is not the only time you are practicing it and experiencing that. You are just recharging your mind, gaining the skill. You will see this skill at your work, outside when you are having conversations with your family, you will see how your mindfulness is going to help or work with you. or work with you.[meditator] It makes me just want to rush home and mediate. [Bhante Sathi] Yes, continue it! Yes, continue it! Can you rush home mindfully? Okay. I think for today, we can stop here. It is very good to see you. And have a wonderful, wonderful week. Thank you very much for being here.