Saturday, July 23, 2011

Do What's Right For You

I've found many great sources for guidance lately. First and foremost, Bhante G's book Mindfulness in Plain English. Never before has any one person put the how-to of meditation practice into such easily accessible terms. He writes about it so clearly, with a certain pointed simplicity that is actually incredibly profound.

This website  also contains a wonderful wealth of guidance and inspiration. There is an enormous collection of talks by one of my very favorite dhamma teachers, Ayya Khema. Listening to one of her talks today gave me just that one tiny little nudge in the direction I need and it has made all the difference.

Having a plethera of dhamma writings at one's disposal is a real gift and blessing. At the same time, it can also have its downside. We can get caught up in one teaching, in one method, in one way of doing things because we read about it and it said "this is the way to concentration! you must do this!" that we actually hem ourselves in and become bound and stuck in the practice. Ironic, isn't it?

This is exactly where I was heading. Stifling myself. Trying to hard to concentrate on those nostrils, just watch the nostril, feel the nostril!, that everything started to become stale and lifeless. Where did the joy go that I so recently knew?

Ayya Khema says in her talk that there are so many methods for attaining concentration. Do what works for you! Did I really needed to be reminded of this very simple fact? Yes, yes I sure did. Do what works for you.

What works for me is sitting down, closing my eyes, touching the breath lightly with my mind, and tapping right into that inner experience of simple being. What about that concentration method of noticing the nostrils? It's still there, but it's not the absolute, total, and complete focus. I'm not straining my brain to watch it. It's just there. Easy. So I let go of it, just a little, just enough to feel the being-ness that is here, constantly, peacefully abiding inside. That's what works for me. That's where the peace lives, the loving-kindness, and the insight.

1 comment:

  1. a good reminder! I'm really enjoying the book, and the website as well. I have enjoyed listening to Sally's talks. I'll check out some talks by Ayya Khema next.
    I love you - "the nostril!!!" but I understand what you're saying. I did not realize all the different sorts of meditation techniques that abound, until I read them listed in "Mindfulness". you are right, to feel joy in it you cannot hold too tightly to one thing.