Meditation is essentially training our attention so that we can be more still, more aware, more in touch with our True Nature. Our True Nature is Pure Awareness. From this Pure Awareness springs forth the Bodhicitta Mind — Wisdom and Compassion — the basis for transforming the world, by transforming ourselves.
The more we deepen our practice of meditation, the more we manage to cultivate that serene stillness, the greater our sense of remarkable resourcefulness and the awareness of our intricately woven interdependence, which allows us to lead lives that are organically more free, more energetic, and more full than ever before.
Our path is a path of stillness. One learns to hold the Śakti, rather than allowing oneself to be controlled by it. While we recognise that this calls for greater spiritual maturity and commitment, we must always allow space for those whose paths call for more or less stringent or focused practice.
As Sharon Salzberg reminds us:
“Meditation may be done in silence & stillness, by using voice & sound, or by engaging the body in movement. All forms emphasize the training of attention.” (fromThe Power of Meditation: A 28-Day Programme for Real Happiness)
Not long ago, two of the students I felt showed the most promise for the guiding the future of our Order chose to leave the teaching. They claimed that I was too hard on them, and that my consistently calling them on their shit was “abusive”. From a Westerner’s perspective, they were probably right. And if we were founded as a Western Order, perhaps my approach would have been a little more New Age, Airy Faerie, Unicorns and Rainbows.
But that’s not who we are. And it’s not what this teaching is about.
I will always miss those two students, and know that if they would have dedicated even 15 minutes a day to their spiritual practice, sitting in quiet meditation, their journeys would have been dramatically different. Their experience of “harshness” and “abuse” might have been viewed as the concern and guidance that it was intended to provide.
If more of my students practiced meditation even fifteen minutes a day, I wouldn’t have to ask people to support the Dharma work and service to the poor that we undertake. They would open their hearts and their wallets regularly, because they would recognise this as THEIR work… THEIR community. THEIR Order.
Through meditation, our understanding the true nature of things — seeing things as they really are — becomes the ground of wisdom. And from that fertile ground, our practice takes root and blossoms, like never before.