2 months of daily meditation practice
November 26 - January 21
Mondays, 6:30 - 8pm MT**
11/26, 12/3, 12/10, 12/17, 12/22**, 12/29**, 1/7, 1/14, 1/21
** 12/22 and 12/29, 11am - 12:30pm, due to X-mas Eve and New Year’s eve falling on Monday’s.
WEEK 1: 11/26
Summary of Discussion Points:
MEDITATION SET UP
Set a timer. I recommend the app Insight Timer.
Put phone on AIRPLANE mode.
Find quiet space.
Knees lower than hips
Lift from crown of head
Support knees with small supports if not on the ground (rolled up socks, pillows)
Should be comfortable
Eyes open, ears open, heart open. We face what arises around us through our 5 senses, and the “senses” of our thinking and our feeling.
FIRST 5 MINUTES
Lift chest, open heart
Open the spine from sacrum to the root of the skull
Tongue behind eye teeth
Breath. Notice the breath falling into the belly. Imagine a few breaths coming down into the sacrum, all the way at the root of the belly.
Notice body, emotions, mind:
What is the state of the gross body? (includes energy levels)
What is the state of the emotional body?
What is the state of the mental body?
Settle into your sit. Notice what happens to the three bodies (gross, subtle, mental) when stressors arise (and itch, a knee that starts to ache, a numb foot, a running nose).
Do not move.
FROM 35 MINUTES TO END-OF-SIT BELL
Turn timer over so you can't see it.
Do not move. Not to scratch an itch, not to adjust, barring extreme discomfort.
If you MUST move, do so quickly and efficiently, and resume your posture as quickly. Do not turn away from the discomfort! Do not wallow in it. Face it and let it go.
HOW TO MEDITATE, ZEN STYLE
Attention and Awareness
Emptiness and Fullness
Bringing mind back to breath, back to senses
The mind will oscillate between attention to senses, attention to thoughts, “becoming” thoughts, awareness of a lack of awareness, and through those cycles. The only goal is to celebrate when one touches into Awareness and notices that it had faded into the background.
ZOOM CALL WEEK 1
Due to technical issues, no Zoom recorded call this week. There will be one next week.
GUIDED PRACTICE WEEK 1
HOW TO SIT / POSTURE GUIDE — chair and cushion
WEEK 2: 12/3
ZOOM CALL WEEK 2
GUIDED PRACTICE WEEK 2
WEEK 3 - 12.10
JUNPO'S FIRST INSIGHT
First one was in the monastery. There, he realized that the ego was a fully conditioned process, not a self. Biology, culture, psychology all influence the illusion of free will. There is no permanent self -- permanence of the self is the greatest illusion and the cause most human suffering. This is the core of Zen.
How this relates to our practice is explained in the video: when we deconstruct the ego through meditation, we can re-inform it and reconstruct it includes the realization of its essential empty nature. Because our ego is a wholly-conditioned process and not a separate self, it can and must be reconditioned to become (more) liberated.
Spiritual bypassing is, truthfully, something we want to learn how to do! As long as we do it in the way I describe in the video.
Stimuli => trigger point => emotion => conditioned reaction => old stories lived again in relationships, life, etc.
Stimuli => trigger point => emotion => drop into stillness => no action => no old stories impacting relationship, life, etc.
If everyone did this and this alone, the world would be a much better place! We should all try this on our cushions. But we can't just stop here. We want to FEEL what happens on the cushion, and feel it COMPLETELY, but without getting sucked out of Awareness and into our shit story.
JUNPO'S SECOND INSIGHT
Junpo's second realization happened after 4 or 5 hours of meditation. There, he realized that while it was true the ego was a wholly conditioned process, it was also true that we had choice points. We could choose where before there were either habitual reactions, or places to "go still" and in essence wait for the trigger to pass.
With practice, and with Awareness, we can see the trigger arise. In traditional Zen, we simply remain unreactive until it passes or let it push us into Awakening (the "bypass"). With Mondo (and Integral) Zen, we look into the trigger itself.
Stimuli => trigger point => emotion => connect with Awareness =>look for the information => choose compassionate reaction
Now, we can do three things.
1. See our triggers arise (understanding the causes of the trigger itself is the work of attachment and trauma therapies)
2. Feel the truth under the feeling (anger = sadness and care. Shame = internalized anger at others that points inward towards ourselves. Anxiety = excitement and opportunity, etc.)
3. Choose the appropriate response. My example with Patrick was that if I was angry at him, I would say, using my new insight, "I feel a great deal of sadness and a lot of care about this, and I'm really angry with you." The care and the sadness lead my expression, because they arise before my anger. They cause my anger, therefore they're truer (and more vulnerable).
Anger cannot happen unless CARE and fear/sadness arise first. See if you can connect with the care that drives anger and rage, really feel it, and then see how that impacts the expression of your anger/rage.