Sunday, June 16, 2013

Running with the Mind of Meditation

Running with the Mind of Meditation
Lessons for Training Body and Mind
by Sakyong Mipham

A unique fitness program from a highly respected spiritual leader that blends physical and spiritual practice for everyone - regardless of age, spiritual background, or ability - to great benefits for both body and soul.

As a Tibetan lama and leader of Shambhala (an international organization of 165 meditation centers), Sakyong Mipham has found physical activity to be essential for spiritual well-being. He's been trained in horsemanship and martial arts but has a special love for running. Here he incorporates his spiritual practice with running, presenting basic meditation instruction and fundamental principles he has developed. Even though both activities can be complicated, the lessons here are simple and designed to show how the melding of internal practice with physical movement can be used by anyone - regardless of age, spiritual background, or ability - to benefit body and soul.

Book Quotes:

Through meditation we can connect with that long-forgotten goodness we all have. It is very powerful to feel that sense of goodness: having confidence and bravery in our innermost being.

When we give our mind and body what benefits them, a natural harmony and balance takes place. With this unified approach, we are happy, healthy, and wise.

...movement is good for the body, and stillness is good for the mind. To lead a balanced life, we need to engage and be active, and to deepen and rest.

Being able to acknowledge the breath and then appreciate the breath, becoming intimately involved with the breathing process, is a key to meditation - and to running. The breath is like the green grass of the earth that we are standing on. We are often unaware of where we are standing.

The whole premise of motivation is that there is no limit to it. In the meditation tradition, we talk about three kinds of motivation: small, medium, and large. Rousing small motivation is contemplating that the meditation practice is helpful for ourselves: we can develop a good attitude, which helps alleviate our mental and physical suffering. Medium motivation is realizing that we can use meditation to discover the nature of reality, what lies underneath all our discursiveness and habitual patterns. Great motivation is that we can attain enlightenment and therefore help all beings. The exercise of rousing motivation is not about what is possible or impossible, but rather about seeing how far we can expand. When we contemplate our motivation, we expand our attitude from being concerned with just ourselves to caring for the whole world.

The success...lies in the ability to handle our motivation. The not necessarily to channel it into a drive to be successful; that would be ambition. Rather, the point is to allow ourselves to see what is possible.

Mindfulness brings contentment and satisfaction. We need nothing but what we have, like a tiger preening. The tiger is very present. When we are very present, we project more health and power. We feel mentally at ease: quite simply, we are happier.

That in a nutshell is essentially what mediation practice is: creating a personal, self-contained environment in which you develop health and happiness for your mind.

One could say that life is at least 50 percent pain. If we do not relate to pain, we are not relating to half our life... When we are able to work with pain and understand it, life becomes twice as interesting. Relating to pain makes us more fearless and happy.

If we are overwhelmed by pain and unhappiness, we often react in a childish way: we objectify the pain. As soon as we start accusing the pain, the pain becomes our enemy. Getting angry does not help us grow from the experience.

Acknowledging that something is off is a sign of maturity. Recognizing that pain is an opportunity to grow gives us the power to see how to correct the imbalance and move forward, taking on the pain as a journey. Then we see pain as an opportunity.

It is helpful to regard the experience of pain as a way to stay connected with others. Everybody suffers. When our own pain serves as a reminder of this truth, we can use it as a source of genuine compassion... Even when it hurts, you can promote that attitude by turning your mind to its natural radiance and generating compassion for others.

"If you want to be miserable, think of yourself. If you want to be happy, think of others."

Aggression is a short-term solution for a long-term problem. Gentleness is persistent. Gentleness is therefore a sign of strength, while aggression is a sign of weakness.

With gentleness, we no longer struggle with ourselves. When we are not struggling with ourselves, we are doing our best. We cannot do more than that. In fact, being gentle with ourselves, we may be surprised by how much we can do. We become inspired by our potential.

Gentleness allows us to have more skill and more options in how we overcome negative habits and ingrain positive ones.

Meditation can play a major role in reducing our mental stress. We are increasing its strength and flexibility to hand more without the worrying. How much more? Infinitely more...

True confidence is grounded in the unity of mind and body. The two are not meant to be separate.

Pride is mental bloatness based on an inaccurate self-assessment: we have overvalued ourselves.

Boredom has a interest scale, and it correlates directly with self-worth. We don't consider our activity worthy of our attention, and therefore we're not interested.

We meditate to become more healthy, available, compassionate, and present. If we find ourselves less healthy, available, compassionate, or present, then we are missing the point.

Over the centuries, meditators have determined that the root of unhappiness, suffering, and stress is essentially self centeredness.

In the ancient meditation texts, the distinction between being wise and being foolish is not so much who you are but how you utilize what you have. Wise people have imagination. No matter what confronts them, they are able to see possibility.

...we are all gifted; we all have something to offer. ...all these gifts that is moving us in the right direction. In these times, what we do matters, regardless of how insignificant it is. But that is not the point. The point is that we are all optimistic and engaged. In that way, not only is our activity of benefit to others, it is also personally satisfying and leads to contentment and happiness. This is a win-win situation.

Word List:
to engage:
to alleviate:
to channel:


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