Note: This blog is part of a series sharing the teachings of the Atisha's Lojong Root Verses on Training the Mind as shared by Jetsumna Tenzin Palmo in London May 28 & 29, 2016. These are not transcriptions of the lectures, rather a collection of her thoughts sewn together.
2. The Supreme spiritual discipline is to tame ones own mind
Without investigation, we are caught in the wild monkey madness of our minds and the misery that results.
So the first step towards calming the madness is to recognize that our minds are totally out of control. The good news is that we can do something about it.
“If we change ourselves, everything changes.” ~ Jetsumna Tenzin Palmo
Before training our minds, we must first be able to tame our minds. No good can come from trying to beat or force our minds to focus. It is way more skillful if we can seduce her into wanting to be trained. If we are brutal and impatient, we will end up with a broken, defeated and rebellious mind.
The samatha (calm) practice is designed to enter into a loving tender relationship with the practice of concentration through focusing the mind on the breath.
The word mind in this case also includes the heart and therefore the emotions and feelings. And Like any skill, the calming of the mind/heart takes a lot of patience and practice.
Simple Samatha Practice:
- If just beginning, set a timer for 10 minutes
- Sit in your normal meditation posture, on the floor or in a chair
- Allow your spine to align so you feel spacious and tall and the skull feels balanced
- Rest your hands on your thighs or knees
- Relax your shoulders, letting your elbows be heavy
- Find a comfortable place for your tongue to rest in your mouth
- Let your face relax, eventually your eyes will close
- Allow your mind to become interested in the rising and falling of breath
- To help teather the attention, let yourself be present to the small triangular area between your upper lip and the nostrils and feel every in-breath and out-breath
- If this causes the mind to race more, drop your awareness down into your belly and watch the rising and falling of the breath here
- Whenever the mind wanders, gently bring it back to the awareness of the breath flowing in and out.