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MEDITATION

Pema Chodron What is True Mindfulness?
Meditation isn't really about getting rid of thoughts, it's about changing the pattern of grasping on to things, which in our everyday experience is our thoughts.

The thoughts are fine if they are seen as transparent, but we get so caught up judging thoughts as right or wrong, for and against, yes and no, needing it to be this way and not that way. And even that might be okay except that is accompanied by strong, strong emotions. So we just start ballooning out more and more. With this grasping onto thoughts we just get more caught, more and more hooked. All of us. Every single one of us.

It's as if you had vast, unlimited space —complete openness, total freedom, complete liberation —and the habit of the human race is to always, out of fear, grasp onto little parts of it. And that is called ego and ego is grasping on to the content of our thoughts. That is also the root of suffering, because there is something in narrowing it down which inherently causes us a lot of pain because it is then that we are always in a relationship of wanting or not wanting. We are always in a struggle with other people, with situations, even with our own being. That's what we call stress. That's what we experience as continual, on-going stress. Even in the most healthy, unneurotic of us, there's some kind of slight or very profound anxiety of some kind, some kind of uneasiness or dissatisfaction.

When Trungpa Rinpoche came to the West and was teaching in the early days in Vermont at what used to be called Tail of the Tiger (now Karme Choling), he used to tell the students: "Just sit and let your mind open and rest— let yourself be completely open with an open mind, and whenever you get distracted and find yourself thinking— in other words when you are no longer fully in the present and are carried away— simply just come back again to resting your mind in an open state."


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