I’m afraid I couldn’t make it last week because I was meditating in bed with a cold and a lemsip. However, Mukesh took you through more points about ‘shamatha’ and using an object such as the breath to stop the mental chatter. Eventually our minds are so settled that we don’t need an object any more. This is called ‘shamatha without support’, and it can bring us true peace, or, as in the title of last week’s video clip, ‘a state of non-distraction’. Then we can get glimpses of our true nature. It may come as a bit of a shock to some people to hear that our true nature is not what we thought. ‘Thoughts are not you,’ Rinpoche points out. ‘Emotions are not you’. Hang on, you might say. What’s me, then? Well, to answer that question you have to settle your mind long enough to spot it. That’s right. Regular meditation practice. We can also reflect on the question that Rinpoche explores in this video: ‘Who are we?’ We hope to hear your answers next week.
We had some good chat about how our practice is going and were reminded that we try to keep it up no matter whether we think it’s ‘working’ or not. There’s no ‘good’ or ‘bad’ meditation session. So that’s good news, isn’t it?
Having established the instructions for shamatha with support, this week we learned about shamatha without support. Instead of focussing on a particular object, we just let our minds rest. How? Let go, and relax. Whatever rises in the mind, just be aware of the thoughts or emotions, but don’t block them or follow them. But there is still some presence of mind, which could be called the ‘centre of awareness’. When we rest in this awareness, we begin to realise that we are much bigger than our thoughts and emotions. We can actually become free of them rather than fear them.
So isn’t that a great incentive to continue with our daily meditation practice? Wouldn’t it be wonderful to have that stability not to be affected by what rises in our minds? We’re going to try both shamatha with support and shamatha without support this week and we’ll talk about our experience of them next week.