Integration

The point is to look at meditation as awakenedness and awareness throughout daily life in whatever way we live and in whatever conditions…Be that which allows things to be what they are.

Ajahn Sumedho

Meditation is a way of life. Dhamma practice is a way of life. For me it’s not a hobby, it’s not a belief system, it’s not a set of rituals. It’s about becoming more and more intimate with life. About recognizing, remembering and re-familiarizing myself with a state of consciousness which is always present…a boundless awareness which is undoubtedly our true nature…a waking up to things as they are, moment by moment by moment.

Does this belong to any particular religion? Is it confined to a particular context or set of conditions? How can it possibly be? It’s life, all of life.

I struggle a bit trying to communicate these basic things: What is meditation? How often do you meditate? Are you a Buddhist? As my teacher U Tejaniya says: “Meditation time is all the time.” It’s 24/7 — although the sleeping state is sort of another category all together. So, at least from the moment we wake up to the moment we fall asleep there’s this opportunity to be fully awake. And yet, it’s not as simple as just attending or being mindful.

To me, the religious life is the movement of love in daily living, daily relationship. A religious life is movement of meditation in the travail of daily living, in the travail of innumerable relationships through which we have to pass. Meditation is absence of psychological involvement, is it not? It is an absence of psychological involvement with facts, with objects, with individuals, with experiences. It is an unconditional absence of psychological involvement. After all, love is absence of psychological involvement.

–Vimala Thakar

Don’t be psychologically involved, i.e., don’t be attached to ideas and images–the past. Just be that which watches. And then, let go of that too. It’s possible in this moment, and the next; it’s possible if you remember what it feels like, to be aware of awareness, to rest in that spaciousness and timelessness.

I’m going on retreat tomorrow. I relish the silence and solitude. The disconnecting from technology. It’s a way to recharge. Not because it’s any different in an ultimate sense, but just because it’s a lot simpler when you are in community practicing, and when renunciation is more the status quo.

Can I say it’s 24/7 when I’m not on retreat but in daily life? I do. Is it accurate? Am I always remembering? No. But the intention is there. And the more practice, the more possible it is to tap into that boundlessness, that groundedness of being, even amidst tumult. Forgetting, remembering, waking up.

What else is there to do?

The Dhamma of the Buddha is not found in books. If you want to really see for yourself what the Buddha was talking about, you don’t need to bother with books. Watch your own mind. Examine to see how feelings come and go, how thoughts come and go. Don’t be attached to anything. Just be mindful of whatever there is to see. This is the way to the truths of the Buddha. Be natural. Everything you do in your life here is a chance to practise. It is all Dhamma…There is Dhamma in emptying spittoons. Don’t feel you are practising only when sitting still, cross-legged. Some of you have complained that there is not enough time to meditate. Is there enough time to breathe? This is your meditation: mindfulness, naturalness in whatever you do.

Ajahn Chah

See also…

Meditation as a Way of Life

Mind, Mindfulness and Meditation

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5 Comments

  1. Hi Saranam,

    Forgive me that I did not wait for your approval or consensus to link this entry to my blog. Just found this piece such precious information to share. Thank you.

    Reply
    • I am very glad that you found it resonant and that you wanted to share it…I look forward to connecting more with you, another Clove & Clive sangha member I see (so nice!), on my return. Thank you, Katherine

      Reply
  2. I’ve been trying to establish the habit of meditation ie sitting cross-legged, and just like you said, I find it hard to make time. I love doing it and don’t begrudge the meditation I do, but I find myself checking how practical it is. Thank you for pointing out the truth of meditation in all things. I know it will take me time to become that mindful, but at least I have a target.

    Reply
  3. Pooja

     /  May 2, 2011

    Wanted to share this with you:

    http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/an/an09/an09.031.than.html

    “Monks, there are these nine step-by-step stoppings. Which nine?

    “When one has attained the first jhāna, the perception of sensuality has been stopped. When one has attained the second jhāna, directed thoughts & evaluations [verbal fabrications] have been stopped. When one has attained the third jhāna, rapture has been stopped. When one has attained the fourth jhāna, in-and-out breaths [bodily fabrications] have been stopped. When one has attained the dimension of the infinitude of space, the perception of forms has been stopped. When one has attained the dimension of the infinitude of consciousness, the perception of the dimension of the infinitude of space has been stopped. When one has attained the dimension of nothingness, the perception of the dimension of the infinitude of consciousness has been stopped. When one has attained the dimension of neither-perception nor non-perception, the perception of the dimension of nothingness has been stopped. When one has attained the cessation of perception & feeling, perceptions & feelings [mental fabrications] have been stopped.

    “These are the nine step-by-step stoppings.”

    Reply
  1. Meditation, as a Way of Life « Journaling Truth

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