Trying to meditate is no substitute for actual spiritual practice, intimacy with all ordinary conditions, revealed by appropriate asana. Then actual meditation arises naturally as siddhi (by grace). It is given. Do understand this elevates asana to the senior spiritual responsibility it always has been.
Goodness, we have a huge disagreement on this my beloved teacher.
I would like you to consider a proposition.
What if meditation were as misrepresented and mis-taught, both the means and the aims of the practice, as is Yoga in modern western culture?
You would agree, Yoga has been mangled into a commercialized form of gymnastics and muscular exercise, would you not?
I can tell you, in the same way, meditation has been vastly misrepresented.
My practice, as taught to me by Shinzen Young, has never been about disassociation or trying to reach some spiritual state.
Rather it has been a practical means for me to feel more poignantly, more deeply, and to gain insight and direct experience that there is no fixed “Self”, that “self” and “world” are not separate, that one can deeply experience pain in a way that does not lead to suffering and pleasure in a way that does not lead to dissatisfaction. It has given me direct experience and profound insight in to the deep truth that all humans are “in the same boat”, that my suffering is fundamentally the same as every human, and has opened me to a compassion for myself first, and then others, that I have never felt before. It has enabled me to look with compassion, and therefore courage and clarity at my own fixations and hurtful behavior to myself and others, without moral condemnation, shame or guilt, and diminish and even drop such behavior. It has made me more compassionate, naturally, without holding up an idea to live up to.
Honestly, what you say about meditation, I would ask you to consider, is MOSTLY correct, because most meditation is deeply mis-taught and the aims misunderstood.
But that doesn’t mean it all is. And yes, one can deliberately and intentionally sit down to meditate, with profound benefit, if it is taught CORRECTLY. But it is no more frequently taught correctly that is Yoga.
I deeply urge you to look into the teachings of Shinzen Young. He is the only teacher of any subject I consider fully an equal to yourself.
Finally I say: my Yoga practice prepares me to sit in meditation with greater ease and connection to the body. Shinzen would and DOES approve of such practice, but doesn’t require it.
Please, consider in all truth and honesty that your view here is not 100% accurate or complete and that you may, unwittingly, be steering people the wrong way.
With greatest love, my dear teacher and friend,
Thanks Paul.. great that your meditation is so productive for you and that you have been graced with a master teacher. My point always is that in the Great Tradition asana, pranayama meditation and Life are a seamless process. Asana and pranayama is meditation. It is not mere preparation for meditation. And there is no heirachy of practices, ie one more important than the other. I am sure you have expienced too how asana pranayama empowers you meditation that follows naturally on “seamlessly.” It is recommended to meditators that they include persoanl asana pranayama practice in their meditation. Krishnamacharya’s view was that to split meditation as a practice from its Yoga context (intimacy with all ordinary conditions) as the Buddhist did was a cultural mistake. Anyway I think you for one are practicing seamlessly! Much love and gratitude to you Paul.
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I have never been able to reign my mind into stillness, except after intense practice. Once my body has given up with whining about limitations, and my ego is thoroughly worn out from making excuses, rationalizing reasons, and spouting fear from every orifice – only then have I found the stillness needed for single-pointed mindfulness. I believe others may be able to achieve this with less difficulty, but I’m thankful for the practice that makes it achievable for me 🙂
Personally I had the same problem.
It wasnt till I found specific only videos that had long meditation music that made the chatter in my mind stop! Before you even say it, im NOT hearing voices lol. I simply have to much going on in my head to achieve any stillness. Until just recently that I started yoga with my wife. At first Yoga was more of a workout. After learning to still my mind by drowning out the chatter with quiet music. I can say I moved a step forward.
What do you think of natural spontaneous intimate yoga? In other words is freedom from mental thinking really a yogic goal? Or is thinking so fundamental that there really can be no freedom from it?
Hi Steve. I don’t think struggling with the mind is the point of yoga. And I do agree with your concept of spontaneous intimate yoga. That you are already at One with Life and the entire natural world intimacy already is the case. Your asana and pranayama helps you to enjoy this fact.
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