04 July 2016

The-experience-of-the-still-mind

When our mind settles in meditation, we can experience its stillness. What is that really like?

For most, the experience of stillness begins with an absence of thoughts. Short, maybe longer gaps between the thoughts that otherwise dance continuously through our mind. Deeply peaceful, regenerative, healing – all good.

However, for some, something far more profound. Genuinely life changing.

So this week, a direct account. Jennifer attended our recent Deepening Your Meditation retreat where the focus was on experiencing the deeper stillness that is beyond the thinking mind altogether.

This is what a retreat aims to do. To create the environment, the atmosphere; to provide the teachings and the guidance that will lead into this deeper experience where we can come to glimpse the true nature of our mind/heart.

Jennifer’s account helps to explain what it can take to build towards such an experience, and then … , read on and be inspired , but first




                         Thought for the day

                               Quietly sitting, 
                               Body still, 
                               Speech silent, 
                               Mind at peace.

                               Let thoughts and emotions, 
                              Whatever rises, 
                              Come and go, 
                              Without clinging to anything.

                                               Sogyal Rinpoche



Jennifer writes …
I arrived home from the wonderful retreat on Monday and since then I have been swamped by life as happens but I have still managed to meditate, so not doing too badly.

I had an amazing last meditation on Friday morning. Having done my level best to soak up all Ian’s advice and teachings and the atmosphere of the Sanctuary plus the accumulated peace from noble silence over the week, I decided on that last meditation that I would take some time to reflect on why I was uncomfortable with this new process of watching my noisy thoughts come and go - running amok as I described it in the Q & A, but instead preferring to use what Ian describes as Cloud Busting and the quiet that provides.

I was pondering the aspects of my thought process, their being identified and then evaporating, or going into vapour land as I call it, when I had the splash moment of realising I was aware of them and I was just overtaken by this surge of understanding and calm that I was serenely observing them and what is more, knowing what was behind them, what strategy or objective was at play.

It was not a bells and whistles scene, quite the reverse, just dark quiet certainty filled with peace and trust. It is just so amazing and I am probably not the first to be unable to describe all of it adequately in words.

I am still a bit dazed or in awe by this glimpse/moment into what Ian has been explaining.

I am gobsmacked that this still mind, which now appears to be so powerful, has been so dormant or quiet or unnoticed by me all along! At the same time I am feeling very protective of or by (I am still trying to work this out) this still mind/true self.

When I came out of the Sanctuary I scribbled in my notes:
This Cloud Busting technique requires awareness from within the still mind and true self. This awareness is a real and powerful tool. Not just a best friend or ally but part of me/true self and this awareness knows – knows it all and is watching the thinking mind. Also this awareness is part of it all – creation! Amazing!

I was not disturbed that I could not discuss this with you, in fact I probably would not have made
much sense at that time. I was comfortable with my understanding of what I had experienced and I thought I would probably need time to process it all – which I have been trying to do.

However, in these early days I am still blown away by the reassurance, and yes, the  ‘knowing’ that this gives. I am also filled with the understanding that there is no going back, things will never be as they were, and that is all for the better…. I could go on and on and never really describe it all.

So I continue on with my meditation journey but with a much lighter spirit hoping to build or go forward from here. I had already put my name down for the Meditation in the Forest next April but now it seems so far away.

And following more reflection, three days later…

I have spent some more time reflecting on my experience, especially after my meditations. I accept that this is an experience that is not to be recreated readily if at all so I am just grateful that I have had this insight in my lifetime.


I do not know if trying to emulate it again is the way to go anyway, it seems more natural to just
accept the knowledge as a given and incorporate it into day to day life and meditation.


I have assumed myself a slow learner that started from the back markers but I had always been encouraged by the obvious benefits of meditation within me and that has been sufficient reason for continuing, so I am now humbled by this new understanding.


I also note the irony that it was at the end of an intense week (deliberately arranged to be so I now see) and at a moment when I had given up or succumbed (stopped striving so deliberately) that this all happened. There is a lesson in that on its own. So now I look to how to build on this and progress. Somehow I just sense that I will be OK.

I must also add that I really enjoyed the Noble Silence. It was my first experience of it and I found it just so powerful. I have attended several retreats as you know and listened and taken notes on all Ian’s sessions but this time it did all seem to come together, for the first time. This says most about my levels of learning and the layers that needed to be laid down and built on in practice to come to this point.

I would be pleased if this would help someone else.

Jennifer

Me too! I found this very inspiring and thank Jennifer for sharing her experience and insights.
Ian

NEXT MEDITATION RETREATS

Meditation Under the Long White Cloud -  22 - 28 October 2016, New Zealand

Just like the retreat Jennifer has been describing, in October, for our annual retreat at the wonderful Mana Centre on the beautiful Coromandel Peninsula, Ruth and I will be giving full attention to creating the conditions in which we can all experience the profound stillness of meditation.

Readily accessible for beginners and the experienced alike, well worth making time for - and we always welcome a good group of Aussies that come over -  details here

Meditation in the Forest - April  2017, Yarra Junction, Australia

Another favourite aspect of meditation practices to learn and to experience - contemplation.
With little written on it, and few retreats dedicated to it, this is one of life's most useful skills. How to think things through clearly, and how to access intuition in a way that is reliable.

This retreat has helped many people to gain major insights into their life - both in the practical, immediate sense, and the broader sense that is to do with meaning and purpose.

Again, readily accessible for beginners and the experienced alike, well worth making time for - and we always welcome a good group of New Zealanders that come over - :) -  details here

APOLOGY
Some will be confused ... by mistake last week's blog was resent, only to be cancelled and the new one posted. Enjoy...

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