The Importance of Training, Part 2

Yesterday I wrote a post about training in meditation and mindfulness. Today I want to continue that line of thought.

As you are well aware, we humans have a tendency to make up our story lines about our lives. The story lines do not have to be true, but they are stories that we make up or that we add too, or perhaps, that are true but are embellished by us. This is because we long, as humans, to be accepted, to be seen as a member of a particular tribe, or as adherent of some political, social or religious philosophy.

We go about our lives seeking those who have created a similar story line. It might be a story line that is a family story, an individual story or even a group story. The story line is part of the way that we can either uplift ourselves or put ourselves down. Our story lines are frequently built around things that happened to us, the we experienced through our senses, and they often stick in our subconscious.

When you learn to meditate you can observe the rising of thoughts and if you meditate long enough (not per session but by consistently training) you can recognize those things that arise within you that are causing your emotional grief. For example, years ago when I first started meditating thoughts would begin to arise of a hurtful thing that sometime said to me when I was a child. I had no control over the thought coming up, but I did have control over how I allowed the thought to continue and to cause me emotional pain.

In meditation training I teach that you sit and observe your breath going in and out of your body. This is basic meditation and the foundation of all other forms of meditation. I will not teach any other meditation practice until I have taught you what is called in Sanskrit Shamatha meditation. Shamatha means “calm-abiding.” It is through calm-abiding meditation that we learn how to focus on an object and to allow our thoughts to arise and go without placing any importance on the thoughts. I call Shamatha meditation “Just Breath.” No extra concepts, no complicated formulas, just focusing on the breath.

As you focus on your breath going in and out you will eventually find that thoughts arise very rapidly. Those thoughts will distract you from focusing on your breath. When a through arises you simply think to yourself, “thinking” and you go back to focusing on the breath. The fact is that you might spend more time thinking to yourself “thinking” than you do focusing on your breath. This is ok and is to be expected. People sometimes get discouraged after they meditate for a while and they feel there has been no change in how those thoughts arise and bombard them. But, it is helping, even is a very small way, because the very act of sitting quietly and allowing yourself to focus on something is far removed from the fast paced, “gotta have it now” world we live in.

So, training is important and it should be understand with a deep desire to continue, no matter how much it might seem it is not working. And, if you continue diligently, you can break through what I call the “conceptual mist.”

I will post more about the “conceptual mist” in a later post. Stay turned

Simply breath and breath simply,

James at Musingly Mindful

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