Shamatha, Peaceful Abiding Meditation Instructions

FORT COLLINS SHAMBHALA MEDITATION CENTER

                  Shamatha (peaceful abiding) Meditation Instructions

Meditation is an opportunity to rest in what we already are—basic goodness, natural peace and clarity. We can learn to develop friendship with our mind, skill in how to work with speed and difficulty, and a sense of humor. The journey begins by acknowledging the stress and agitation of the discursive, wild mind. The journey continues by slowly allowing that mind to relax within itself; we let go of struggling with ourselves. The way to become familiar with such relaxation is the simple, regular practice of sitting meditation.

We train in being awake, placing the mind on the breath, in the present moment. Of course, this may prove difficult at times. Of course, we will sometimes resist practice altogether. This is part of the path. When we find that we have wandered, we can always come back. Right now is always the perfect moment. 

“Our life is an endless journey; it is like a broad highway that extends infinitely into the distance. The practice of meditation provides a vehicle to travel on that road. Our journey consists of constant ups and downs, hope and fear, but it is a good journey. The practice of meditation allows us to experience all the textures of the roadway, which is what the journey is all about. Through the practice of meditation, we begin to find that within ourselves, there is no fundamental complaint about anything or anyone at all.” — Chogyam Trungpa, Shambhala: The Sacred Path of the Warrior 

Meditation Instructions:

First, take your meditation seat with an uplifted and relaxed posture. 

Rest in the present by becoming aware of the “feeling” of your breath. 

Gently and precisely notice and release thoughts as they arise. 

Posture: 

1. The spine is upright, with a natural curve. 

2. The hands are resting on the thighs. 

3. The arms and shoulders are relaxed. 

4. The chin is slightly tucked. 

5. The eyelids are half-closed, with a soft gaze. 

6. The face and jaw are natural and relaxed. 

7. If you’re sitting on a cushion, the legs are loosely crossed. If you are sitting on a chair,                  keep both feet firmly on the floor.

References: 

Turning The Mind Into An Ally; Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche 

Ruling Your World; Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche 

Shambhala – The Sacred Path of the Warrior; Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche 

The Logic of Using the Breath as the Object of Meditation:

• The mind is always involving itself with something (awareness) 

• Usually we take “me” (habitual, discursive mind) as the object 

• In meditation we rest mind in the present moment by feeling the breath 

• We notice thoughts, let them go, and continually return to the breathing 

• It does not matter if thoughts are “good” or “bad” 

• We switch allegiance from the bewildered mind to the stable, clear, and strong mind 

• We learn to rest in peace. We become familiar with basic goodness. 

Advice:

• Create a decent time and space for practice that will work in your life. 

• Decide how long you are going to practice and stick to that period of time. 

• Be realistic and honest, and know that there will be periods of time that are more or less busy in your life. 

• Don’t lose heart. The key to a successful practice is consistency. The way to be consistent is to enjoy the practice. 

Key Points:

Mindfulness:

1. Familiarity—We know what the breath is. 

2. Remember—We remember the feeling of the breath, just like we remember our own face. Remember the fullness of the breath, the simplicity of the present moment. 

3. Non-distraction—Even though thoughts arise, we stay with the breathing in a gentle and fluid way. 

Awareness: 

Here, awareness means, “presently knowing.” We know what is happening in our present experience. We know when we wander, and we know when we are present.

Awareness simply notices and reminds us to apply mindfulness. 

Obstacles and Antidotes:

Obstacles:

1. Laziness: 

a. Ordinary laziness 

b. Speedy busy-ness and procrastination 

c. Disheartenment 

Antidotes: Trust—Aspiration—Effort—Suppleness 

2. Forgetting the Instructions: 

Antidote: Remember the instructions

3. Untamed / Unruly Mind: 

a. Laxity: Mind is sunken in. 

b. Elation: Mind is agitated and moving out. 

Antidote: Not too tight, not too loose. Apply awareness 

www.FortCollins.Shambhala.org 


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