Never Turn Away
By Silas Rose Nov 22nd, 2020
Thanks to the star power of Oprah and other influencers meditation has officially gone mainstream. Mindfulness is the new yoga, minus the sexy lycra pants.
There are as many ways to meditate as there are reasons.
Life is stressful, more so than ever.
For most people it would be enough to have even a moment to chill the f*ck out or hit the pause button on the endless torrent of repetitive thoughts. Anything more almost seems indulgent.
We might occasionally fantasize about running off to a zen monastery for a year to eat brown rice, wear black robes and mediate staring at a wall for 12 hours a day. At the other extreme is the lure of the Silicon Valley titans who promise instant enlightenment in just a click away.
Anything is possible these days, but the question of why bother is often overlooked.
When HH the Dalai Lama first began to teach outside of Tibet he was sometimes overwhelmed by sadness because so many of his western students really didn’t like themselves.
Compared to the Dalai Lama’s homeland in Tibet, westerners didn’t grow up with an intrinsic feeling of goodness or appreciation for themselves.
Self doubt causes us to look outside of ourselves for validation and generates intense ambition for comfort, which can never be filled. As with yoga, meditation can easily become goal orientated, which is an obstacle to awareness.
The view from above
The meditation technique is simple to learn.
What is hard is recalling the view of meditation (the why) when we are caught in a trap of self doubt or when things seem to be falling apart.
According to the yogi and Buddhist scholar Rigdzin Shikpo, meditation practice can be summarized in this simple instruction – never turn away.
The relationship we have with ordinary moments of pleasure or pain is the whole point. Mindfulness is a great ‘tool’ for focus or relaxation, but there are easier ways to relax.
Without kindness and a openness to befriend our ‘warts and all’ meditation becomes just another dour self help project.
With the aspiration to never turn away from any experience (on or off the meditation cushion) our true nature becomes more visible and we begin to develop real confidence in the practice and ourselves.