Entries Tagged as 'dzogchen'

Simple Dzogchen / Calm Abiding Meditation Instruction

I attended the Palm Beach Dharma Center in Lake Worth, FL sometime before 2007 (I think 2003) and I really liked their meditation instructions because instead of doing things with the mind, most of your mind was in vast empty space. I will first post their original instructions and then make some comments about an adjustment.

Calm Abiding Meditation Practice

On Wednesday evenings at 7:30 pm the Center conducts a communal meditation service. There is an orientation for the service at 7:00 pm.

The most basic meditation is called “Calm Abiding” or “Shamatha” in Sanskrit, and is intended to rest the mind so that our primordial wisdom can shine through. Normally our minds are like “‘monkey minds”, swinging from one thought to another with very little rest in between. With Calm Abiding meditation practice, the mind can slow down and we can begin to become aware of our natural wakefulness. We can free ourselves from the tyranny of our thoughts and emotions so that our natural awareness can arise. One can do this with single-pointed concentration by focusing on the breath.

Sitting in a relaxed, straight posture, bring your attention to the breath. Focus on the sensation right at the nostrils as the breath comes in and out. If you are feeling agitated or a little excited, focus on the rise and fall of your belly. In any case, bring about 25% of your attention to the breath and let the rest just be spacious.

When a though arises, don’t suppress it, don’t follow it, and don’t feed it. Just be aware that you are thinking and then bring your attention back to your breath without any further self commentary. This is a practice of training the mind to keep coming back one-pointedly, so don’t be discouraged if you keep getting distracted. This IS the practice in the beginning – to keep bringing the attention back to one point, time after time.

If it helps you focus in the beginning, you can count your out-breaths for one to ten, then start over and count again. Once you have stabilized you can stop the counting and focus only on the breath in a relaxed way, consciously realizing your inhalation and exhalation. Keep being aware as thoughts arise then return the mind to the breath. During your meditation sitting times, this may be as far as you get, and this is very good.

At some point as you continue to practice, your mind will begin to calm and awareness will start to arise. You may find that your thoughts have slowed down, or you may find that your thoughts are still coming, but you will be consistently aware of them and able to bring your focus back. This, too, is awareness. You may find that gaps open up between thoughts. When this happens, relax in the gap. With practice, you can keep making this pause even longer. In any case, you will be less compelled by your thoughts and emotions. They may still arise, but you won’t cling to them anymore.

At this point, one can drop all focus of meditation, when you’re ready, and let your mind merge with space. In other words, relax into the spaciousness of your true nature and allow the natural clarity to come forth. Rest in this natural state.

My Expert Commentary on This Instruction

Regarding the first paragraph, I think the 2003 instructions do a better job of explaining what this is all about: Our first tool for quieting the mind is meditation.One great master once likened the mind to a jar of muddy water, always stirred up by our unruly thoughts and habitual actions. But if one can allow the jar to sit still for a period of time the mud begins to settle out and the water to clear.  OK. so what do I like about this? it makes it clear what is the muddy water versus what is the bowl – the muddy water is the mind jumping about and YOU getting identified with it. The vast empty space, where 75% of your focus is, is the bowl. It’s such a reality check to be in an argument with your mother and then realize that YOU put 100% of your attention in the muddy water instead of staying 25% mind, 75% vast empty space.

The major difference – why bring the mind back to the breath when you can bring it back to vast empty space.

In fact, to be puritanical, you should return to the 25-75 split between breath and space! Remember: the first thing these instructions said was: “bring about 25% of your attention to the breath and let the rest just be spacious.” … so why would they screw up and say “return the mind to the breath”???? They should say RETURN 25% of the MIND TO THE BREATH and LET THE REST JUST BE SPACIOUS.

Why Am I Calling this Dzogchen Practice?

Because the heavyset woman who sometimed led the chanting and conducted trips to Italy related to this meditation said it was Dzogchen.

Simple Dzogchen Meditation Instructions, Redacted and Certified by Lord-Terrence-Monroe: of Sherleys-Womb

Put 75% of your attention on the vast empty space around you. Allow 25% to be on the breath and the mind. If a thought comes up, just allow it to be there in the 25% while you keep 75% in the vast empty space.

Should 100% of your attention get occupied by a thought, then return your mind to 75% vast empty space and 25% is allotted to allow the thought to run its course.