This week we will return to A Fearless Heart. Previously I divided each chapter into two week but beginning this week I will do a new chapter each week. This will help us move through the book a bit faster.
Dr. Jinpa begins Chapter 5 with a description of what researchers have found is the default state of our human brains – the wandering mind. Left on its own, the mind is in a constant state of movement. We have grown to trust and depend upon this movement. It is what allows us to multitask, it increases our working memory capacity and strengthens our creativity. As such we are reluctant to see any value in stilling or quieting the mind.
There is, however, a toxic aspect of this wandering mind which is that there exist a disproportionate amount of thoughts relating to “I”, “me” and “mine”. This constant self referencing is the underlying tendency for experiences of comparing; measuring; judging; guilt; blame – all things associated with unhappiness. Its no wonder why we feel so victimized by the mind.
According to Jinpa, if we were to harness the momentum of the mind we could still the mind’s emotional traps and obsessions. We could intervene in the mist of our wrong views and habitual thinking patterns. We could shift our focus away from self absorption and towards connection with others. Dr. Jinpa discusses three skills that allow us to harness the mind’s momentum in what he calls “Settling the Mind”. The three skills are (1) quieting the mind; (2) concentration through focused attention; and (3) awareness. This Thursday we will explore how to cultivate these skills.
P.S. If you know anyone interested in learning how to meditate or you would like to recommit or refresh your practice please note that I will be teaching a Beginning Meditation Class at Seattle Insight Dharma Center (2729 6th Ave. S, Seattle – 6th/Lander near the SODO Light Rail Station). It will run for 6 Mondays, 7pm to 9pm; starting October 5, 2015. The cost is $90 (or any other heartfelt amount) which it includes a Day of Mindfulness on Saturday November 21st. All are welcome regardless of ones ability to pay.
Lotus Sisters is presenting a day of Tai Chi Chih and Meditation this Saturday, Sept 26th at Highpoint Neighborhood Center 6400 Sylvan Way West Seattle from 10:30am to 4:30pm. Linda Robinson, a longtime Tai Chi teacher, will lead with Annie Clay who will be leading meditation. Lunch will be available for sale at $10 dollars or bring a sack lunch. See lotussisters.org for more information.