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#278 : Stop being miserable in advance July 6th 19

                  Stop being miserable in advance

Another way to say it would be:

 “We should not try to be our own news maker with a mind-made 24h news channel, full of negativity”.

It is well known among guru in media marketing that news content from the major broadcasting networks must be at least 75% to 80% bad news or drama to attract viewers.

The highest Nielsen audience, the more expensive commercials are.

Drama/bad news are the rules for high audience with the exception live sport networks.

The way we, consciously and nervously worry about zillions of bad news from the media or nor existing yet is strange if you think about it.  To the extreme it might even be considered masochistic.

By definition, this voluntary anxious feeling about something that hasn’t not yet happened is a powerful mental trap and pure delusion since the future and its concrete content do not yet exist.  How our mind is controlling us by generating positive and negative emotions involving the virtual reality of the future is fascinating

Unfortunately, this is what we are doing spontaneously most of the time without looking too much at its rationality. This is called, in Zen,  “day dream walking”

Why are we our own mind-made 24h bad news channel and why we are, too often, attracted to negativity and “feel bad” stuff?

Modern research in psychology has not yet been able to find clear answers.

Maybe our 3.4 billion years of evolution with fear of danger, fight for survival and unpredictability has affected our genes responsible of this mental behavior.

Pragmatist people including Zen practitioners cannot be and should not be worried about every possible outcome in advance. Think about it:

Best scenario— If the news turns out to be better than expected, all this previous time of been worried was wasted with needless permanent anxiety and fear.

The present moment is contaminated by this hypothetical doom and gloom.

Worst scenario— If the bad news turned out to be true, we have been also  miserable in advance, sort of bad extra time before reality. Crazy.

Bad stuff is  bad enough when they arrived. Don’t give them more mental space.

Surely, there are better way to use the current moment even if this moment is perceived boring and dull.

A day that should not be spent in worrying about the days we may not exist.

Let the news come when it comes and don’t be anxious and worried in advance.

Instead, try to keep the mind to pay attention to the now, the only reality even if your mind is bordered. Being in Past and future are  mental entertainment.

#277 The Impossible task June 29th 19

   The impossible task

How often you are doing nothing or feel like it?

The answer is simple: almost never because, as far the go is concerned, doing nothing will be unacceptable, detrimental to our  social and self image. Our ego believes that we are important and indispensible then, “Doing nothing” is impossible, sort of personal and social failure. We base our identification with what we are doing, what we are thinking.

Look at your average day: From the time we wake up to the time we fall asleep we are running around like a hamster in its wheel. We have to achieve whatever.

Even when we have a rare free moment we are rushing to do something, somewhere : surfing the net, texting, emailing, reading a book, cooking, gardening, shopping, travelling, going to the movie, watching TV, etc.

We are “alcoholic doers” and if we do not do something we feel like being on standstill, frozen in a huge vacuum, sort of emptiness, usefulness or failure.

“I am, therefore I must do x ,y,  z, non stop in total automatic behavior.”  Zen calls that: “ Day sleep walking”

Our body and mind are restless and busy non-stop, wandering continuously: thoughts, worries, anger, planning, expectations, god and bad memories, analysis, judgment, etc.

We are complaining that we don’t have time but we automatically accumulate or create things to do all day long making the time shrinking.

Not only we are busy at doing one thing but, more and more, we must be “multi-taskers”.

We have to do zillion of things at the same time because we believe that we do not have enough time before the end of the day.

This is a vicious circle: More stuff to do = less time to do = less stuff done=more stress and anxiety.

Why are we resisting so much  against “doing nothing”?

To keep ourselves busy, to feel busy or to project being busy is part our ego self-image and socio-professional profile.

      We don’t want to be perceived by others and ourselves of perceiving being useless, inactive, lazy or failing. We want to be and to look productive. Doing nothing is simply not acceptable and ill perceived by self and by the society. Beside, we don’t want to be bored.

We don’t have the mental skills nor the courage for doing nothing because doing nothing goes against our ego  which perceives “doing nothing” as “I am not existing, I am lazy, I am useless”

Subconsciously we feel guilty of doing nothing with the fear of boredom.

Doing nothing is in fact doing something that is perceived by our ego-mind as meaningless, empty, useless and a waste of time.

The feeling of “doing nothing” is just an ego-generated perception, a pure reaction of a defense mechanism. This perception is crazy and detrimental for our emotional balance because of its negative image

What  “doing nothing” really means?

Doing nothing does not mean anything and should not carry any negative meaning. This is a mindset.

Doing noting is a weird concept, a contradiction of terms since doing nothing is, in fact, doing something called “nothing” whatever its means in your mind.

So, “doing nothing” is a delusive perception created by an ego-driven mind. It does not exist.

“I am,  therefore I do or should do this and that non stop.” 

Also, what you perceive as “nothing” can be “something” for someone else.

Doing nothing and doing something are identical, only the way our ego perceives and understands the words create this artificial difference.

It is up to us to choose the proper meaning.

Maybe doing nothing is doing something outside our mandatory daily duties and outside the routine, without any specific purposes, goals or achievements.  Does just breathing is doing nothing?

Does sitting still during meditation is doing nothing? Our ego wants to do “something, to be active and for many, sitting still is doing nothing. On the contrary, sitting still and focusing on breathing is doing a lot.

Next time if some is asking you “ How are you doing?” , reply “I am doing nothing”.

You will trigger surprise and concerns since you are supposing to be busy.

#275: The HIDDEN SOURCE of SUFFERING June 23th 19

  Hidden source of suffering

The Sanskrit word “Dukkha” was poorly translated as “suffering”. “Dukkha” encompasses any negativity coming from life (I call it external negativity) and from our body-mind, that I call internal negativity)

A small proportion of negativity is external such as accidents, disaster, lose of a loved one, separation, being fired, illness, etc; but, by far, most of our negativity is internal or self-induced thinking.

Self induced suffering is generated by the so-called 3 roots: “I want” (this is desire) – “I don’t want” (this is hatred) – and “I believe” (so called ignorance or not knowing genuine reality).

Desires, hatred and beliefs come from our incessant thinking made of education judgments, expectation about us, others, events and life in general.

      Positive feelings, for example pleasure and joy are not very frequent and don’t not linger too long.

On the contrary, negative feelings such anger, worries, nostalgia are more frequent and last longer.

 Probably based on 3.4 billion years of evolution, our brain-mind is magnetizing more to the negative stuff such as danger, and because the job of our ego is fight against it and to protect us.  

        Therefore, as we struggle with our ongoing emotional roller coaster, we progressively develop mental habits to feed our pain and be trapped with it.

Negative thinking is our default mode and was already discussed by the Buddha 2,500 years ago. Nothing new under the sky.

So, what can we do?

As far “external negativity” Zen says: “ Things are what they are and not what we want them to be”.

It does not mean to give up on everything.

Frustration, anger against external suffering ? Maybe but they do not help, instead they do the opposite.

Accept, adapt and let go because external events, as oppose to the internal ones are transients.

Regarding the internal suffering, what we can do, first, is to be mindful to our mind-made inner noise by paying attention, in a nonanalytic way, to each positive and negative emotion (desire & hatred), our illusion, beliefs, expectation and judgment.  

       Judging more consciously and less automatically is important. Judge only when required and don’t use it as part of a social small talk.

      Anger, guilt, fear, pride, blame and shame are very powerful instruments of our ego. They, also, need to be observed then accepted otherwise we become slaves of them.

      Creating a quieter mind-space starts with taking contact with genuine reality. For example, by focusing on the inputs of our 5 senses or on few breaths.

When you bring your attention to your breath, you become present and aware. As you notice your breath, also try to remember what is good in you and your thoughts are just thoughts and not reality.

Self-compassion and self-forgiveness are totally alien in our Western culture.

Remember that we do not control too much around us, therefore there is nothing too much we can do about external sources of suffering: not on their timing, intensity and duration. Just accept them the best you can and be mindful to their transient traits. They never last forever unless you are stuck with them.

As far our internal hidden sources, by accepting them rather than resisting or fighting will cool down our emotional energy, helping your rational prefrontal mind against our reptilian centre.

It will greatly help  in dealing  with our internal pains in a more constructive way rather been prisoner of them.

Thanks, you    Zen: an oasis of serenity inside a restless mind

#274 WALKING: a detoxing step against burnout Sun. June 9th 19

                       Walking:  a detoxing step against burnout

“Have a walk” is a good advice to someone who needs to cool down somewhat.

Burnout has become the # 1buzzword over the last 10 years. Modern life doesn’t seem to be relaxing us or even care. Media are increasingly talking about anxiety, anger, fatigue, depression, etc. Self-help books, relaxation apps and wellness gurus are widely available to many and yet emotions such as anxiety, anger, burnout,depression, nostalgia are the #1 causes of medical consultation in our Western civilization.

Some of our daily struggles include Internet overload, feeling of loneliness despite social media, competitive working world, lack of time and multi tasking and so on.

In our frantic pace and time contraction we are unable to keep our focus more than few min. on one single target. The reason? Our mind is in constant boiling state.

Ask yourself this bizarre question: “ How often do I think that I am walking?”  Of course Never.

Walking is a basic reflex starting between 9 and 12 months old.

Subconsciously we average 7,000 steps/day.

That is around 180,000 Km during a 80 years lifespan. This is lot of steps to think about. And yet, when we put one foot in front of the other our mind is running around non-stop but certainly not on paying attention on our subconscious automatic walking.

Walking is used to move our body from A to B. It is a basic mechanical activity during which our mind is not walking but running non-stop about this and that.

For must of us, we never use walking as a tool to quiet our mind.

Greek and Roman philosophers wrote about the benefits of walking. There is a Latin sentence saying

“It is solved by walking,” and, by “it” I mean almost anything.

 For zillions of years back, walking is one of the keys to health, well-being, and creativity. Not only its physical part is important even if the number of calories burned is minimal, but its mental and emotional impacts one are also critical.

 Shakespeare wrote in The Tempest, “A turn or two I’ll walk, to still my beating mind”

How to walk in a mindful way?

Not easy but you don’t need to be a genius to walk in a mindful way if you are looking to achieve a quieter mind. In fact, the only tool we need is to pay attention to your our steps. Here are the recipes:

Slow down the pace, keep a straight back, breath normally and focus on each step one by one by feeling the ground. Looking few meters away but don’t be distracted by what you see.

Do this for few min during which your cell phone is off. (An impossibility for many already addicted to it)

Over time, we will be able to repeat this “moving mindfulness meditation” exercise every time we walk. 

Like its sitting meditation sister, walking meditation is also a practical act with spiritual ramifications. 

In Walking Meditation the great Zen Master Thich Nhat Hanh explains that walking and paying attention to our steps are acts of enlightenment. He points out that by cultivating this habit of walking attentively, we can start to see the world around us more clearly.

In many retreat centres walking meditation is as important than the sitting one because more challenging.

Walking forces the mind to focus on each of our steps. Therefore, the mind has no options but to slowdown the flow of thoughts the same way that breathing does during sitting meditation.

Breathing and steps are powerful mind anchors. They are twins as far the effects.

We become more present to the moment and its surrounding reality.

In the long term it will ease anxiety, spark creativity, increase productivity, and detox us from digital overload (that is, if you don’t walk with your thumbs pressing frenetically the keyboard of your cell phone ).

#273 IT IS NOT WHAT WE THINK Sun. June 2 19

                                                 It’s Not What We Think   

One of the strangest mysteries of life is that people, events and things are, usually, not what we think they are.  Taking an analogy with a computer, each of our individual perception is triggered by zillion of gigabits  coming nonstop from the outside world. This is the data input.  

Then, we think and think and think and all of that thinking shapes our values, beliefs, decisions, behavior and life in general. That is information output.

Between the input and the output is our mind filtrating everything for the good and the bad.

This output is made of thoughts very often distorted from the inputs: reality is not what we think.

Our mind-made world is shaped and reshaped non-stop by our 5 senses, previous education, learning experience, judgment, beliefs, people and events.  

Many of of our and judgment and beliefs are important and help us survive others are useless and even dangerous. What we think is sometimes based on true external reality but , more often, it is coming from mind-made fictional world. Whatever our thoughts are true or false, right or wrong, useful or not,  all of them affect our behavior, how we see things and how we rethink again .

Our thoughts about people, events, things are our personal mental output on how we perceive our outside world.

Whether based on reality or pure fiction, wise or deluded, our thoughts carry, most the time, an emotional dimension that affects our lives 24/7 non-stop. This is why, genuine reality is not what we think.

If we spend our days thinking about things that make us nostalgic, angry, anxious, jealous , worried or craving, we will live in an nostalgic, angry, anxious ,worried lives and craving for this and that.

If we spend our time thinking about sadness, we have sad lives. If we spend our time thinking about how grateful we are, we have lives marked by gratitude.  If we spend our lives thinking about harmony, we learn to live in harmony. If you learn to be compassionate with self, you will learn to be compassionate with others…and so on.

To live in harmony with our world, we have to be, first, in harmony with ourselves that is our body and our mind.

It means to accept not only our physical self as it is but also our emotional self-made of positive and negative feelings such as desires, hatred, sadness, anger, anxiety, fear, illusions.

These emotional weather will always be there not only because we are creating them but also because there are also created by our surrounding world such as injustice making us angry, tragedies to make us sad, dangers to bring us fear. However, there will always be love, compassion and understanding to hold us together.

Reminding ourselves all the time, that people, events and things are not always what we think they are or should be can help us to keep a more serene and quieter mind and how to interact with our surrounding world.

When we are at peace, we think better than when we are angry, when we are afraid or even, when we are super excited.

Even with an imperfect past and unknown future, you can find peace in the present. If you are suffering in the present moment, you pay attention to its impermanence or you can evoke compassion coming from us or from others and

Whenever you have an opportunity to consider compassion, practice compassion, or receive compassion, you are inviting peace and harmony into your life.

In a more peaceful present you gain better perspective and think better thoughts.

No matter how wonderful or dreadful your thoughts get, they are still transient immaterial entities.

Good or bad, what we think about x,y,z . are just thoughts. Even coming from your mind, that are not necessary truth and reality. The world is what it is and not what we think it is or want it to be.

Thank you.

#271 The GREATEST ILLUSIONIST is our MIND 26 May 19

                                   The Greatest illusionist is …our mind

Great illusionists are very skillful to mislead or falsely persuade us that what they are doing is real.

Remember Uri Geller bending spoons few meters away or someone cutting a person in half while in a coffin. These shows are very entertaining but we know they are just wonderful illusions performed by masters so we do not believe in them.

Yet, the greatest illusionist of all time is the human mind. The difference between human magicians and our mind is that we believe what our mind is telling us because we are producing the show. We are at the same time the producer, the object and the spectator. A recipe for potential suffering.    

Of course thinking is critical in our day-to-day life but most of the time, our thoughts, opinions, judgments and our addictions to be in past/future are just ongoing inner audiovisual illusions. Those thoughts are too often self-centered, useless and trapping us in a virtual prison.

Remember that around 100,000 immaterial thoughts are produced every day. How many are real or fiction?

Learning to be aware of our thoughts / emotions and to assess whether or not they are real, useful or illusions is a critical step towards our serenity. There is no other way.

What is fooling us all the time? The outside world or our inside mind-created world?

This is an important question to ask yourself all the time. If you find the answer and deal with it, how you see your life  will change for the better and forever.

Here is a short list, in a non-specific order, of 8 mind-generated illusions/delusions that Zen Buddhism has identified over the last 2500 years. Each illusion listed below can be a great mindfulness-based focusing point during your meditation practice.

1) Because they are coming from our mind, we trust our thoughts. They exist but they are not real and not necessary truthful. Most of them are just ego-centered wishful thinking or acquired values, opinions and judgments. Don’t believe in all your thoughts. Observe them before trusting them.

2) Our mind loves to travel nonstop, wandering back and forth in the future or in the past, doing something else instead of being in the present moment where our body is. It happens mostly when we are on routine and automatic behavior. The mind loves excitement not routine, repetitive  or boring stuff of the moment .

We exist only in the present moment. ”Past-you and future-you” are pure illusion, sort of mind-made holograms since we cannot exist in two different space-times. These space-times dissociations between the “present-you and the past or future you” are a great source of nostalgia, guilt, anxiety, worries and other negative feelings.

3) Mostly subconsciously, we believe and expect that things, situations and living beings will remain permanent because, based on our 200,000 years evaluative experience, we resist against change and love our comfort zones. Good and bad stuff are transient and life cannot exist w/o impermanence.

4) We believe that we are a permanent, independent, unique, separate self-entity with a self-intrinsic life.

Indeed, we are physically, mentally & emotionally unique only at our DNA level. In fact all living beings are interconnected and interdependent to each other’s. We cannot survive w/o trees, water, sun and so on.

5) We have this illusion that we are in control of our life. Think twice: do we control our family members, boss, health, weather, relationship, the content of next week, traffic, etc.?

6) We have this illusion that happiness comes from outside and accumulation of goods will do the trick.

Our list of needs can be endless and therefore happiness from outside will never be achieved.

Commercials are brainwashing us with “the more the better”. This is mega illusion.

7) Very often we have this illusion that “Life is not fair”. Is life a living being? Does it care about us?

8) Subconsciously, we are perceiving and judging people (and events) mostly thru an emotional process w/o being in their shoes. Is it reality or illusion?

All of the above are mind-generated and, too often,  source of delusions. As long we are aware of their origin we should be able to differentiate genuine  thoughts from fictional ones and meditation can be of great help. The human mind is a fantastic instrument but also our worse deceiver. Don’t be attached too much to this magnificent illusionist.

#270 ONLY ONGOING CHANGE is PERMANENT 19 May 19

Only ongoing change is permanent. Part 1

We like comfort and stability but resist and even fear the ongoing changes. It is probably liked to our 200,000 years evolution where search for stability is a default mode.

The last words of the Buddha before dying from mushroom poison were:

“Everything is transient. Understand, accept and behave accordingly to this fundamental reality of life”

Impermanence means that everything changes and nothing remains the same in any consecutive moment even if we have the strong perception that nothing changes too much day by day.

The practice and understanding of impermanence is not just another description of absolute reality, it is a practical tool helping us in our adaptation, transformation, acceptance of this and that . It will help in healing and, eventually achieving serenity.

Impermanence makes everything, including life, possible.

We are often sad and suffer a lot when good and positive things change, but change and impermanence have a positive side. Thanks to impermanence, everything is possible. Bad moments don’t last and Life itself is possible.

If a grain of corn is not impermanent, it can never be transformed into corn.

If our kids are not impermanent, they cannot grow up to become adults.

So instead of resisting and complaining about impermanence, we should accept it as a fact of life  and behave accordingly.

When we can see the miracle of impermanence our sadness and suffering about disasters, losses, anger, fear, nostalgia, jealousy will pass.

Impermanence should also be understood in the light of  our interconnection and interdependence between living beings.

Because all living beings are interconnected and interdependent, they are constantly influencing each other. It is said a butterfly’s wings flapping on one side of the planet can affect the weather on the other side.

Nothing stays the same because everything is influenced by zillion of independent and unrelated factors totally out of our control.

Practicing Impermanence

All of us can understand impermanence with our intellect, but this is not yet true understanding, just a cognitive stage. Our intellect alone will not lead us to acceptance, freedom or enlightenment.  

When we look deeply and see the nature of impermanence everywhere, we can then be concentrated on its deep meaning and meditation on impermanence will help greatly.

This is how our insight of impermanence becomes part of our being and our daily experience.

Continually, we have to maintain our insight of impermanence in order to accept life, people and events as they are and and not as we want them to be. No resistance, no fight, no frustration.Life becomes more manageable and solutions to problems must be considered eventually.

Using impermanence as a focusing object of our meditation, we will become familiar with it and it will be inside us every day.

With this practice, impermanence becomes a key part of our life and we discover that it is an integral part of fundamental reality.

Most of the time we behave –subconsciously- as if people, events, feelings will stay as they are now. The list is infinite: kids, relationship, job, health, house, goods, environment, peace, Earth and so on will remained as they are. This list also includes our positive and negative feelings. Love, anger, fear, worries, nostalgia, hatred, beliefs, etc..all change all the time.

Our mind activity is changing non-stop 24/7  with around 90 to 100 thousands thoughts/day.

Therefore we do not value 100% each moment because we have this illusion of permanency.

Knowing that impermanence is permanent or everything is transient is helping us to appreciate good things, events and people right now.

You may ask: what about bad moments and negative emotions? Despite being painful, should we accept them too? Of course yes, but focusing on their transient features will help you to accept them and be patient rather than being mad or sad.

Nothing can escape from being transient: from the sub-particles in quantum physic to clouds, weather, and health good and bad stuff, the universe, you and me. Again, impermanence is a very good reality to focus on while meditating.

At this very moment, this talk is finished that is transient and all of us are already different entities from few min. ago at the beginning of the talk.

Thank you all. Sunim

#269 Meditation: material & immaterial focus points May 4 – 19

                 Meditation on material & immaterial focus points

The opposite of meditation is mental distraction since, apart from few moments of concentration

during the day, we are distracted by around 90,000 thoughts on a daily basis. In other words,we are not just talking to ourselves all the time but we are also our own  faithful listeners. Very weird.

Focus points during meditation, also called anchors, can be either material or immaterial.

Material & immaterial anchors are infinite. We use them one at a time to slow down our train of thoughts.

Meditation using a material focus point or anchor.

Material anchors can be- breathing-candle-mantra-sound- doors, trees, blue sky, a brook, etc.

As we begin mindfulness meditation practice, the discipline is to bring our relentless mind to slow down by enhancing its awareness on an material object usually breathing. By doing so, we expect our mind to stay there. If we become distracted, which is always the case, we simply force our mind to go back to the focus target. Give our monkey mind the job of remaining focused, in a mindful way, on the subject and stopping jumping around endlessly is the prime goal of meditation. By doing so, we experience, consciously the reality of the moment, the only existing time and the only moment when and where we are alive. No matter what and how our mind is jumping around, we can always return its attention to the material object of the meditation. This is anchoring. As said, our breath is the #1 focusing point and material object for meditation because it is here all the time, because breathing is the only vital function of our body that we can control consciously and because breathing out produces a powerful calming effect.

Other material focus points can be anything. Using one of our 5 senses is the only way to go.

Sight for colors, hearing for music/sounds/noises, tasting, touching, smelling.Whatever the material anchor used, it is critical to pay attention in a mindful way. I will come back  at the end to this important skill.

Meditation  using  an immaterial focus point or anchor:

Anchoring our mind on thoughts and feelings is far more challenging that using  material anchor.

The main reasons are: 1) the object is virtual and 2) because it is very difficult to remain a non-analytic and non-emotional while focusing, in a mindful way, on a nostalgic event, a mistake of the past, or a worry of the future.

It is even more challenging to focus on a specific feeling w/o looking for the “why-what-when-how and why”! . For example, meditating on anger, fear, grief, anxiety, jealousy, desires, hatred, death w/o becoming ……emotional is very tricky but feasible with practice. In fact, mindfulness is a wonderful mental tool to learn to accept these feelings rather than ignoring, resisting or fighting against.

Mindfulness-based acceptance of what we are emotionally stuck with is some sort of “mental desensitization” similar to the one used in medicine  against allergies.

Final words:

Computers can do only 1 task at once ,as well our mind/brain cannot compute 2 thoughts at the same time. In other words he cannot focus on x and wanders at the same time on something else usually in the past or future. This is the key of meditation-based mind control.

Whatever the focus point you are using during meditation the following 3 fundamentals purposes should be repeated over and over:

      Focusing i.e. paying attention to x or y or z impose to our mind to slow down that is to become glued to one thought that is the anchor rather than producing zillions of thoughts in many space-time.

     To focus in a mindful way, that is passively w/o a discriminating mind, w/o analysis, judgment and decision regarding the object. Example: “I am worry about this…..and that’s okay” . This is acceptance.

      To experience the concrete reality of the moment that is the only existing space-time and the only time where we are alive. Being aware of this fact is being enlightened.

#268 The A,B,C…of Mindfulness meditation Sat. 27 Ap. 19

                        The A,B,C,………. of  mindfulness meditation

Mindfulness meditation is a challenging  physical and mental skill to grasp.

Here are  the key attributes, in alphabetic order, to consider. This list is not exhaustive.

ATTITUDE:   Attitude is a mental trait. Having an open mind is important to understand, consider and practice meditation. Meditation is still an alien activity for most Westerners.

APTITUDES:   Aptitudes are both mental and physical skills. In respect to meditation, the aptitude to stay still during several minutes is essential as well as trust and patience.

AWARENESS: This is a state of high consciousness.  Without it, meditation is impossible.

ACCEPTANCE: Accepting that the practice of meditation is very challenging and its quality can vary greatly from one session to the next. This is why, being non-judgmental about the quality of your practice is so important.      Many quit, like I did, because of negative judgment on the quality of their meditation. Practice does not affect the quality of meditation but will do on the quality of life.

BREATHING:  Breathing is the usual focus point that is the anchor we use to slow-down if not to control our wandering mind. With experience, the focus point can be anything

BACK: In Zen we say: “ Straight back, straight mind; still back, still mind

You will focus far better when the back is straight and still, even on a chair away  from the back of it.

CONFIDENCE:  Trusting your practice is challenging especially when its lousy and when we have no time because “no time” is always the first excuse

COMPASSION: Don’t judge  yourself if you miss your session or if, one day, you cannot meditate the way you want. Happens all the time. Just let it go.

CUMULATIVE: The practice of meditation is cumulative regardless its quality. You will discover that controlling emotions and vision of life will improve greatly with time.

DAILY: The optimal way (see cumulative) to practice. Few min. will do.

DETERMINATION: Not easy to keep. Up to 90% of new comers quit meditation within 3 months.

DISCIPLINE: Like determination, discipline is a state of mind. W/o it , no meditation is possible.

EFFICIENCY:    See “Cumulative”. Meditation is efficient and effective physically, mentally and emotionally. But it is not a quick fix. Scientific proofs are numerous.

EMPTY MIND:  Does not exist literally & figuratively. Quieter mind is a better expression.

EYES: To stay fully awake, it is advised to keep eyes semi open and looking down 3 to 4 feet away w/o staring or analyzing.

FOCUSING:  …..in a mindful way i.e. No analysis, no judgment, no decision. We call this: Thinking thoughtlessly.

FINDING TIME:  We always find time for priorities, never for what we perceive are not. Finding no time to meditate is a bad sign. Quitting is coming.

GROUNDING:   The closer to the ground, the better. This is why a mat & meditation cushion are recommended. I will advise you where to get them.

GROUP: Group practice is more powerful than the solo one. Weekly is the rule. Retreats are excellent.

NON JUDGEMENTAL: Very important. Just do it bad or good, good or bad, excited or down.

ONCE A WHILE: Meditating when we feel like it is a waste of time. Quite.

ON-THE-GO: Being mindful few min. on something ,several times a day is an excellent exercise.

OBJECTIVES:    Its physical, mental and emotional impacts are achieved via

     1) Experiencing current reality, the only time where you are alive 

     2) Taming the mind.

3) And, eventually, serenity.

PATIENCE: Not a problem if you have the determination.

SILENCE: Silence is a wonderful and powerful anchor to quiet the mind.

SOLO:  Daily solo practice demands organization, dedication and discipline.

WANDERING MIND: The mind will always wander while meditating. Just let go the thought and go back to the anchor.

WALKING:  An excellent way to tame the mind by focusing on each step at slow pace.