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Look into your own mind

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Terri R.
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Joined: 21 Apr 2004
Posts: 560
Location: So. Calif.

PostPosted: Sun Feb 27, 2005 4:15 p    Post subject: Look into your own mind Reply with quote

"If you wish to find the Buddha, first you must look into your own mind; outside of the mind, there is no Buddha." -- Hakuin (1686-1769 CE)

The original form of the word Zen is a shortened form of the Sanskrit term dhyana - Chan. Chan (Zen) is one of the two main forms of meditation and refers to the training of the mind which leads to the ability to focus on any object it encounters. The original intent behind this form of meditation was to stop the normal flow of thoughts and emotions. By doing so, the mind was made free to move beyond the appearances of everyday life and uncover our innate Buddha nature. Therefore, it is believed that the practice of this form of meditation is central to the practice of Zen Buddhism.

The following, while not Zen meditations per se, will help you to learn how to focus on one thing. These are concentration exercises.

Exercise 1: The Clock
For this, all you will need is a quiet, darkened room and a small illuminated clock with a sweep second hand and a distinctive ticking sound. It's best to practice this at night, when all is quiet in your house.

Settle into a comfortable position, sitting up so you don't fall asleep, and stare intently at the clock. Watch the second hand moving from second to second to second. While you are doing this exercise, nothing else matters, so there is no need for you to be thinking about anything else.... what you need to do next... errands you need to run... bills you need to pay.... nothing matters except the ticking of the clock as the second hand steadily moves from moment to moment. Sounds easy enough, right? Go ahead and try it. Disregard all other sounds you hear in your house. Or the sound of your heart beating. Or the sound of your own breathing. Or those thoughts that enter your mind. Remember... NOTHING matters during this exercise except time passing, with no relevance to reality, and the act of concentration.

In time, and with a lot of practice, take this to the next level where external stimulation is introduced... such as turning on some music, or the TV. You will try to maintain your concentration of the ticking of the clock.

Exercise 2: Past Memories
In this exercise, you are going to relive one of your past experiences. It can be a vacation you went on... a holiday you enjoyed with family and friends... any pleasant memory of your choice. Remember this event as vividly as the day it happened. Think of every single detail of that day. Bring it all back, exactly as it happened. Think of nothing but that day... or that vacation. This one will be easier if you select a recent memory, and then go on to others further in your past. Practice doing this until you are able to bring up these visuals at will.

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Joined: 27 Apr 2004
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 28, 2005 2:54 p    Post subject: The "Clock" meditations Reply with quote

Oh, this is MUCH easier said than done. First..who has a clock with a sweeping second hand anymore? Ah! found one but will have to keep some light on it because it is an old Seth Thomas mantel clock. As I watched the second hand I felt like I was going in and out of blank thoughts. Maybe forgetting why I was sitting there watching a clock for. I also felt like my mind wanted to move forward with the time. It made me curious (imagine that) of what it would feel like to watch a second hand in reverse. Would it make looking back in time easier?
I think at some point soon this will be easier, once I can convince myself it's okay to just sit and watch a clock. So this has been very interesting Terri. Thanks for posting it Smile
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