Posted in tattooed buddha

Using the Mantra SO HUM.

This is very similar to the practice of following the breath.

But, instead of following the breath, we’re going to follow a mantra instead.

The mantra I am writing about today is SO HUM.

This mantra means literally, “I am that.” It is supposed to bring us from normal awareness into expanded consciousness. It’s a oneness mantra, designed to remind us that we are one with the world around us, not separated from everything. We are one with everything and holding this mantra in our minds during a meditation is supposed to remind us of that.

I’m not someone that believes that words in other languages are magical.

We aren’t using a Sanskrit mantra because Sanskrit is special, we are using it because it’s easier to hold in our minds. It’s designed that way on purpose. It’s easier to carry the mantra SO HUM than it would be to carry “I am that” or “I am one with everything.”

First, establish the time of the meditation. Set a timer for an amount of time that you think you can do. A lot of people like to start with just 5 or 10 minutes and try to do more after they have an established meditation practice.

Find a comfortable place to sit. Adjust your posture so that your spine is erect without being stiff. Allow the rest of your body to relax. Rest your hands in your lap or on your legs. Allow your eyes to gently close. Bring your full attention to the feeling of sitting still. Allow your breathing to be natural. Bringing attention to your head, release any tension that you feel in your face.

Scanning the body slowly downward, relax your neck and shoulders.

Feel the rising and falling of your chest with each breath. Bring your attention all the way down your body to the places of contact with the floor (or chair if you’re sitting in one). Feel the pressure and density of your relaxed upright body.

Bringing your full attention to the present moment and acknowledge everything you’re experiencing. Thoughts are happening, sound is happening and there are probably mental and emotional sensations. Allow these experiences to be as they are, but bring your attention to the sensation of breathing. Bring your awareness of your breath to the foreground in your mind.

Take a few moments and investigate where you can feel the air entering and leaving your body.

Now, as we breathe we are going to carry this mantra in our minds. When we breathe in, we are going to mentally say “SO” and when we breathe out we’re going to mentally say “HUM”.

Every time a thought arises in our minds to distract us, we’re going to bring our attention back to the mantra, SO HUM.

SO HUM.

SO HUM.

We will continue to do this practice until the timer goes off.

 

 

http://thetattooedbuddha.com/meditation-instructions-using-the-mantra-so-hum/

Posted in tattooed buddha

What is Mindfulness?

Mindfulness is simply engaging our experience in the present, moment after moment, dwelling in our experience as it is.

It is opening ourselves not just to the aspects of our lives that we like or dislike or see as important, but the totality of our experience.

When we practice mindfulness we can see the world as it really is. But, more importantly, we can see ourselves as we are: part of an interconnected whole. Allowing ourselves to really engage our experience takes some effort and practice. Until we make a concerted effort, mindfulness of the moment can be very slippery and easy to lose a grasp on. It’s so easy to get distracted and come out of this moment.

We do it all the time. That’s why mindfulness takes practice.

We are practicing to come into reality as it really is, right now. After we practice we start to realize that we can be mindful in any activity. It’s not only possible when things are easy or quiet. We can be mindful when we are working, when we’re driving, when we’re doing housework. We can also learn how to be mindful when we are afraid or upset.

When we are mindful we can act with clear thinking. Rather than having our decisions distorted by how we feel about situations, we can still think clearly.

As we continue practicing, our attention becomes more powerful. Practicing attention releases us from the delusions that are always distracting us. Practicing helps us control the constant chattering “monkey mind” that’s always dragging our thoughts around and distracting us.

To be mindful is to simply be aware.

As thoughts come without getting involved in the thoughts—not going off on a train of thought, not worrying about where a thought came from—but simply being aware that thinking is happening. It helps to make a mental note that we are “thinking” every time a thought comes.

Observe the rising of a thought without judging or reacting to it—without identifying it. Our thoughts are only thinking.

You will see that when we aren’t so attached to our thought process, that thoughts don’t last as long. As soon as we engage a thought with mindfulness, it disappears. Sometimes people find it helpful to label thinking in a more complete way, noting differing kinds of thoughts such as: thinking, desiring, remembering, etc. This can serve to strengthen our focus.

Try to note each thought the moment it arises.

When thoughts are noted in this way, they don’t have as much power to disturb our minds. Thoughts aren’t obstacles to our meditation, they are just an object of meditation, like the breath or a mantra. Make the effort to clearly note each thought and not get carried away by them. In this way, we will come to clarity.

If something comes into your mind, let it come in and let it go out; it will not stay long. Don’t try to stop thoughts, just let them come and go. Gradually, our minds will become calmer and calmer. Many thoughts come, but they are just from our own minds, which means they are under our control if we can just learn how to manage them.

This practice will bring about a state of balance and calm. Keep the mind aware of the thoughts that are arising from moment to moment.

Mindfulness is engaging this moment as it is.

This moment is all there is and all that we need.

http://thetattooedbuddha.com/what-is-mindfulness/

Posted in heartland pagan festival

Teachings from the Gaea Retreat. Part Three

The following talk was given at the Gaea Retreat Center on May 24th 2015.

Welcome to Meditation Group.

My name is Daniel.

The Buddha sat under a tree in the woods, kind of like this. He sat with the intention of attaining Enlightenment and eventually he did.

Let’s talk about what meditation is. Meditation is a general term for several religious practices, some different from others. These methods have the same mystical goal. To bring the awareness of the practitioner to a state in which they can come to an experience of ‘awakening’ or ‘enlightenment’.

In Buddhism we are meditating to understand our nature as one with everything. It represents a paradox. I am everything but I am also nothing. That is the fundamental and ultimate teaching of Buddhist practice.

A common mark of different forms of meditation is that the practice concentrates the mind of the practitioner, calming and clarifying it.

Diligent practice of meditation leads to non-dualistic states of mind in which the distinction between subject and object disappears and the practitioner becomes one with ‘the absolute’. Time and space are transcended and the practitioner abides in the here and now. If this experience can be followed and integrated into daily life, then Enlightenment can be attained.

Posted in diamond sutra

Diamond Sutra, chapter 29

Buddha continued:

“Studying this sutra and explaining it to others generates enormous merit.”

“Subhuti, how can one explain this Sutra to others without holding in mind arbitrary conception of forms or spiritual truths? It can only be done by keeping the mind tranquil and free from attachment to appearances.”

“This is how to contemplate our conditioned existence in this world:”

“Like a tiny drop of dew, or a bubble floating in a stream;
Like a flash of lightning in a cloud,
Or a flickering flame, an illusion, a phantom, or a dream.”

“This is how you should see all of existence.”

In the end, the Buddha tells us not to be attached to existence. I am reminded of a very similar quote by Zen Master Ikkyu: ‘Like vanishing dew,a passing apparition or the sudden flash of lightning — already gone –thus should one regard one’s self.’

Our self, our identity as independent beings, is hard to let go of. It’s something we have our whole lives. It is the source of all egotism and greed. We think of ourselves as separate from the world around us. But that’s not how anything in the world works. We didn’t come into the world. We came out of it. We are one with everything.

Posted in diamond sutra

Diamond Sutra, chapter 27

“Subhuti, if a being could take the Universe and grind into powder and blow it away, would this powder have any individual existence?”

“Subhuti replied, “Yes, this powder might be said to have a relative existence, but the truth is that it has no existence. The words are used only as a figure of speech. Matter is not an independent and self existent thing.”

“Also, when you refer to the Universe, you are also simply using a figure of speech. The only reality of the Universe is a cosmic unity.”

The Buddha was happy with this reply and said:

“Subhuti, although ordinary people have always held onto arbitrary ideas about the Universe, the concept has no real basis; it is an illusion of the our minds. Even when it is referred to as ‘cosmic unity’ it is unthinkable and unknowable.”

There is a cosmic unity. Everything exists in connection to and relation to everything else. Even the Universe itself is fundamentally the sum of all of the things in it, no more and no less. The only reality is this cosmic unity. And even the cosmic unity isn’t really something we can describe.

Posted in diamond sutra

Diamond Sutra, chapter 23

“I don’t have the idea that I will lead all beings to Awakening. Do not think that way, Subhuti. Why? In truth there is no one for me to lead to Awakening. If I thought that there was, I would be caught in the ideas of self and other. Subhuti, what I call a self essentially has no self in the way that ordinary people think there is a self.”

For the Buddha, the boundaries that separate self from other are dissolved. The Buddha doesn’t lead others to Awakening because the truth is there are no others. The Buddha teaches us that the essential truth is that we are one.

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Journeys

Today I visited a local Hindu Temple and it was a wonderful experience.  I love visiting sacred places.

I had a conversation with the temple priest about the oneness of all things and it was very moving. 

 

This weekend I’m going to an event called the Heartland Pagan Festival. I will be camping for four days and leading a meditation workshop. 

 

I will be spending time with hippies and radicals and weird people. People a lot less boring than me. I will engage in some of their rituals, getting my chakras cleansed and banishing obstacles. I will sit by a bonfire and dance in the moonlight. And I will meditate in the woods every morning. 

I expect to come back inspired.

 

There will be stories and there will be pictures upon my return.