"You don't have to believe everything you think."   (view our quote database)


All posts tagged “presence”

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Ze Frank's "What's On Your HappyList?"
davidbhayes — 4 years ago — in Compassion Poetry
It's on his site here, but I've also embedded it below:

This isn't really a poem, per se, nor clearly about compassion. But I do think it fits well enough to keep.

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Question for March 16, 2014: Scattered Attention
Medivate — 3 years ago — in Question of the Week
Do you ever find that you attention has scattered while meditating? How do you deal with that?

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Formlessness — 3 years ago — permalink
The mind is like the wind. It goes this way and that. Wind is just the movement of air, but the air is everywhere. Your awareness is present in every thought and experience. Become aware of the awareness behind the thought, and the winds will calm.

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capemaggie — 3 years ago — permalink
thank you for that insight.

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davidbhayes — 3 years ago — permalink
Become aware of the awareness behind the thought, and the winds will calm.
I really like that, though I feel compelled to interject that it's easier to say than to do.
But I definitely think that biggest and most noticeable thing that's changed for me as I've meditated more is the realization that there is really something I have access to that contains all of the thoughts.  It's not a thought itself, but it's a space in which they come. I use the word "spacious" a lot to explain the change, and when I try to explain it in a visual metaphor it really is a feels like a literal space around and distance from my thoughts.
The extent to which I used to tie myself in knots chasing down the "right thought" is something I don't miss. You don't, as they say, have to believe everything you think.

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Question for April 6, 2014: Be Here Now
Medivate — 3 years ago — in Question of the Week
"Be here now" — the best meditation instructions? The worst? In between? Why?

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Formlessness — 3 years ago — permalink
It captures some of the spirit of meditation. Most of our unhealthy, wandering thoughts are about regretting the past or fearing the future.
But it's pretty vague. I'm here now already. I guess it means focus on the present. That's one type of meditation, but others are more specific: focus on breathing, focus on a mantra, etc. But whatever it is that you are aware of, there is always the awareness itself, underlying all thoughts. All thoughts have that awareness in common. Observe thoughts as they come and go, and the background of awareness will start to jump out at you.

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fredclaymeyer — 3 years ago — permalink
Really well said--thank you!
What does it feel like to you when the background of awareness jumps out at you? In my experience, I'd say it feels a bit more like realizing everything is submerged in awareness.

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Formlessness — 3 years ago — permalink
"What does it feel like to you when the background of awareness jumps out at you?"
It's difficult to put into words, because while a thought can be like something, the awareness is just the "isness" of things. It's just grasping things as they are.

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davidbhayes — 3 years ago — permalink
I think you really hit it on the head with the point that it's vague. It's good instruction if you're already really sure of what each word in it means in the context of meditation, but doesn't really work for someone just coming to it. They'd maybe understand it, but only to the level of "so I can't move?" The idea of thoughts and attention and patience and awareness are all not expressed.
I have this idea — it's really becoming a bit on an old saw for me — that everything that's really important to know can be (and is) packed into simple common-sense phrases that everyone knows (a cliche) and just looks past. I wrote an essay (which I don't love) about it a few years ago, but I think this phrase is a potent example of what I meant. For someone who's already familiar and comfortable with the idea of meditation, "be here now" may be a sufficient and potent reminder. But for most people most of the time, the idea just blows past them as something too simple to be worth considering.

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Question for September 6, 2015: Be Here Now
Medivate — 2 years ago — in Question of the Week
"Be here now" — the best meditation instructions? The worst? In between? Why?

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Question for May 1, 2016: Scattered Attention
Medivate — 1 year ago — in Question of the Week
Do you ever find that you attention has scattered while meditating? How do you deal with that?

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Question for August 6, 2017: Be Here Now
Medivate — 2 weeks ago — in Question of the Week
"Be here now" — the best meditation instructions? The worst? In between? Why?