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If You Would Like To Learn About Meditation Practice and the Center:

1. Attend a Learn to
Meditate workshop
.

2. Come to free Public Meditation Instruction offered during regularly scheduled sitting practice. See schedule »
 
3. Take part in other introductory meditation programs offered at the Center.
See schedule »

Next Steps: check our schedule for details on additional public classes and programs.



What Is a Meditation Instructor and How Do I Get One?
A Meditation Instructor (MI) is a senior student at the  Shambhala Center who has completed intensive training and practice. MIs function as your individual mentor and guide to help you with your practice. They also are a source of information about the Center and the greater Shambhala community. To request an MI, please email us at: MI@dcshambhala.org.








Introduction to Mindfulness/Awareness Meditation

SMR

Excerpt from a talk given on the first day of a two-day seminar entitled Fearless in Meditation, March 26 and 27, 1994
.
The practice of mindfulness/awareness meditation is common to all Buddhist traditions. Beyond that, it is common to, inherent in, all human beings.

In meditation we are continuously discovering who and what we are. That could be quite frightening or quite boring, but after a while, all that slips away. We get into some kind of natural rhythm and begin to discover our basic mind and heart.

Often we think about meditation as some kind of unusual, holy spiritual activity. As we practice, that is one of the basic beliefs we try to overcome. The point is that meditation is completely normal; it is the mindful quality present in everything we do.

That is a straightforward principle but we are continuously distracted from coming to our natural state, our natural being. Throughout our day everything pulls us away from natural mindfulness, from being on the spot. Our natural tendency to rush means that we're rushing past opportunities. We're either too scared or too embarrassed or too proud or just too crazy, to be who we are.

That is what we call the journey or the path: continuously trying to recognize that we can actually relax and be who we are. So practicing meditation begins by simplifying everything. We sit on the cushion, follow our breath and watch our thoughts. We simplify our whole situation.

Mindfulness/awareness meditation, sitting meditation, is the foundation of this particular spiritual journey. Unless we are able to deal with our mind and body in a very simple way, it is impossible to think about doing high-level practices. How the Buddha himself, having done all kinds of practices, became the Buddha was simply to sit. He sat under a tree and he did not move. He practiced exactly as we are practicing.

What we're doing is taming our mind. We're trying to overcome all sorts of anxieties and agitation, all sorts of habitual thought patterns, so we are able to sit with ourselves. Life is difficult, we may have tremendous responsibilities, but the odd thing, the twisted logic, is that the way we relate to the basic flow of our life is to sit completely still. It might seem more logical to speed up but here we are reducing everything to a very basic level.

How we tame the mind is by using the technique of mindfulness. Quite simply, mindfulness is complete attention to detail. We are completely absorbed in the fabric of life, the fabric of the moment. We realize that our life is made of these moments and that we cannot deal with more than one moment at a time. Even though we have memories of the past and ideas about the future, it is the present situation that we are experiencing.

Thus we are able to experience our life fully. We might feel that thinking about the past or the future makes our life richer, but by not paying attention to the immediate situation, we are actually missing our life. There's nothing we can do about the past, we can only go over it again and again, and the future is completely unknown.

So the practice of mindfulness is the practice of being alive. When we talk about the techniques of meditation, we're talking about the techniques of life. We're not talking about something that is separate from us. When we're talking about being mindful and living in a mindful way, we're talking about the practice of spontaneity.

It's important to understand that we're not talking about trying to get into some kind of higher level or higher state of mind. We are not saying that our immediate situation is unworthy. What we're saying is that the present situation is completely available and unbiased, and that we can see it that way through the practice of mindfulness.








Shambhala Meditation Center of Washington, D.C.
3520 Connecticut Ave NW  |  Washington, DC 20008  |  202.787.1526


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Page Last Updated 01:50 PM | September 13, 2012