One of the most harmful habits and one of the hardest habits to break is the habit of being right all the time. By being right one sets the other up to be wrong, one instigates conflict from the outset. This way one is always at loggerheads with someone about something. Others who like to be right all the time will spot the challenge you pose and will rise to it time and time again.
It it a good place to start meditation practice “in action”. Spot the moments when “being right” arises. Spot the ensuing thought patterns as they manifest and solidify into the sure knowledge you are right. Spot what follows: there is a rise of tension and even anger as you prepare for battle. Your body runs on stress when you are right all the time.
Using a meditation like this one slowly becomes more and more aware of these patterns, or habits of thinking that lead to negative emotions, actions and words. By becoming more aware or awake one recognises earlier the signs of trouble and stands guard against the mistaken attitude and then by chipping away at the habit with this awareness, you one day find you no longer need to be right. Instead being is itself a pleasure and a joy.
Western psychology makes much of the conscious and unconscious. The nature of the entities that make them up and the balance twixt the two is forever debated, not least because the solidification of concepts inherent in having the debate creates ficticious walls in the subject.
Buddhist psychology, with its fundamental doctrine of “Anatman” – a sanskrit word that literally means no-soul but would better be read as ‘in reality no solid self-existing ego’ – denies the validity of the discussion.
Buddhist Psychology says neither the unconscious or conscious mind are self-existing or inherently “real”. They are both mind. There is observed mind and unobserved mind. Unobserved mind is troublesome in that it presents to observed mind its desires as overwhelming and fully formed desires. It is inherently troublesome as a category of ignorance. It leads to suffering.
In her excellent book “Working With Anger” Thubten Chodron writes “The greater part of human pain is unnecessary. It is self-created as long as the unobserved mind runs your life”.
The unconscious mind is screaming for your attention. You are so busy being your conscious mind, most of which is habitual, you just don’t notice. That is the point of “Shamatha”, Tibetain for basic sitting-calming mediitation, which teaches you to allow identification with thoughts to drop slowly away revealing the sea of impulses which bubble up as “Me”.
This calms eventually achieving peace and then the mind becomes more flexible and stronger and can be applied to conscious thinking meditation to comprehend or see truth. Then the meditator is achieving a dual fruition of peace and understanding. With discipline and effort, patience and generosity comes the natural development of wisdom mind which can then be compassionately applied to all one encounters.
It’s not the sun and the clouds outside that make the weather, it’s the sun and the clouds inside. When I find myself in those moments of clear blue sky awareness that fill me and empty me simultaneously I discover what I am. When I let the clouds of “who I am” obscure the sun and the sky I am not only acting from habit but lost and unable to see anything with clarity.
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If emtiness is form and form is emptiness then body is mind and mind is
body. It is only our ego mind that judges, that measures and creates false
separation. Enlightenment is as much a physical process as a mental one
because physical and mental processes are not separate, one can never exist
without the other.
The importance of a straight spine in meditation is very fundamental. The
diaphragm, pelvic floor, feet and other membranes associated with “chakra’s” store trauma and memory in the body distorting posture and bending the spine out of shape. A spine with proper curves is the result of progressively undoing this storage of memory, hence the physical and mental consequences (karma).
If the spine is not “straight” the mind will not be straight. A “straight” spine actually means a spine with proper curves. This is a prerequisite to achieving the Jnana states or bliss states. These are themselves an essential prerequisite to achieving full understanding or enlightenment.
Meditators who sit for hours on the cushion with bent backs and twisted bodies, forcing themselves through will to “keep on at it” are hypnotising themselves and making no progress. They would be doing more for themselves, their practice and the world if they took up yoga, learned to breathe properly and went to see a chiropracter.
Categories: Buddhism, Meditation, The Human Body Body, Bodymind, Breathing, Chiropracter, emptiness, form, Meditation, Mind, Pelvic floor, Self Hypnosis, Spine, Straight Spine, Twisted Body, Yoga