IDL Naming Meditation

Below you will find summaries and links for the following videos:

IDL Meditation 1: A Simple, Effective Approach

I want to share with you a simple, easy approach to meditation that you can use anytime, anywhere. Essentially, it involves naming your thoughts and feelings in order to objectify them while opening up spaces of timeless, spaceless clarity in the here and now. You don’t have to be sitting in a quiet place; you can be jogging or on the subway.

Meditation is not mysterious anymore. The evidence for the benefits of meditation is so well established and broad-based that the question now is not, “Why meditate?” but rather, “Why isn’t everybody meditating?” “Why aren’t doctors regularly recommending meditation to their patients?” “Why aren’t businesses providing incentives for workers to meditate?” Why aren’t all children taught to meditate?”

IDL Meditation 2: Naming Meditation Described

Normally, our thoughts and feelings are linked to each other. Your thought about eating leads to thoughts about what’s in the refrigerator or what restaurants are available. Feelings of fear often lead to a desire to avoid or defend ourselves.  One thought leads to another, one feeling leads to another. Certain thoughts generate certain feelings and certain feelings generate thoughts. This has been referred to as our “train of thought,” because just as one car of a train is coupled to another, and then to another and another, so does one thought or feeling connect to the next. Similarly, there is a direction or intent to our thoughts and feelings; they stay “on track,” like a train on a track, and not deviate. Like a train on a track, where our thoughts and feelings are leading us tends to be very predictable. Thoughts of horror movies can be predicted to generate feelings of fear; thoughts of work generate other thoughts like, “How much time to I have?” “What do I need to do first?” Our train of thought is so habitual and predictable that if it were possible to record our thoughts and feelings for a week, the likelihood someone could “mind read” or accurately predict what our next thoughts and feelings will be would be very high, probably well over ninety percent.

IDL Meditation 3: Avoiding Repression

Meditation is not about stopping your thoughts and feelings. That is repression. When you make meditation about stopping your thoughts and feelings, you meditate within the context of the Drama Triangle: your thoughts and feelings are persecutors, you are a victim, and now you need a guru, god, mantra or practice to rescue you. When you repress something, you give it energy and generate conflict within yourself with that power. Your goal in meditation is to co-exist with your thoughts and feelings, not to repress or fight them.

IDL Meditation: A “Downshifting” Metaphor

Imagine that you are driving a five speed stick shift car down an interstate or Autobahn. You are getting to where you want to go quickly, as fast as you can within the limits of the law. When you look ahead, everything is relatively motionless, except for cars passing each other and cars flying by in the other direction. When you look to the side you can see that you are whizzing past signs, other cars, trees, houses. The closer they are, the harder it is to focus on them, because they are gone in an instant. Those that are farther off stay clear, but only for a moment.

This is analogous to the way we normally live our lives. You have goals in mind – what you want to do, how you want to live today, and you whiz along in fifth gear, with a focus on getting said what you want said and done what you want done. Clearly, this is a good way to live if your focus is on efficiency and speed, as it often is likely to be. But what if you have other priorities, for example, to relax, unwind, play, or do something fun with friends? In our analogy, that would be similar to desiring to leaving the interstate and taking a federal highway, where the speed limits are lower, to slow down, and admire the countryside and its towns and villages. If you are in a stick shift car, you will probably do fine downshifting to fourth gear…

IDL Meditation: “Peace in the Storm” Metaphor

How and why is meditation so powerful and effective? Imagine that you are at sea in a small sail boat. When the ocean is smooth, you are happy and relaxed, enjoying the sun, the breeze and the peace of nature. There are gorgeous sunrises and sunsets. You admire the balance of wind, sails, rigging, waves and the freedom of being out in a vast expanse of blue sky, sun, clouds, and water. However, every now and then, when a storm kicks up, you are at the mercy of the wind and waves. You can get tossed around until you turn green. Sometimes you are afraid you will capsize and drown. More than once you have been caught in storms with waves so high, so unremitting, with so much water crashing in upon you, that you wished you were dead. So you do your best to avoid such storms.

IDL Meditation: The Metaphor of Your Monkey Mind

I want to share with you a metaphor to help you understand how awareness itself operates, particularly when you meditate. We can ask, “Why are we not more successful at meditation?” Most of the time that you think you are “meditating”, you probably aren’t meditating at all. Instead of meditating, you are probably doing something else that you confuse with meditation: visualizing, relaxing, trancing out, sleeping, praying, saying affirmations, chanting, contemplating, problem solving or trying to feel blissful. You may be trying to avoid some state of consciousness, like sleep or the everyday mind, or you may be trying to enter other states, like trance, bliss or samadhi. Instead of meditating, you are thinking first this thought, then that one, feeling this or that feeling, seeing this or that picture in your mind or trying to ignore or generate this or that physical sensation. These five dimensions of experience,  sensing, feeling, imaging, thinking and states, are what Buddhists call the skandhas that make up our sense of who we are.I want to share with you a metaphor to help you understand how awareness itself operates, particularly when you meditate. We can ask, “Why are we not more successful at meditation?” Most of the time that you think you are “meditating”, you probably aren’t meditating at all. Instead of meditating, you are probably doing something else that you confuse with meditation: visualizing, relaxing, trancing out, sleeping, praying, saying affirmations, chanting, contemplating, problem solving or trying to feel blissful. You may be trying to avoid some state of consciousness, like sleep or the everyday mind, or you may be trying to enter other states, like trance, bliss or samadhi. Instead of meditating, you are thinking first this thought, then that one, feeling this or that feeling, seeing this or that picture in your mind or trying to ignore or generate this or that physical sensation. These five dimensions of experience,  sensing, feeling, imaging, thinking and states, are what Buddhists call the skandhas that make up our sense of who we are.

 

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