I Release My Old Story and Write a New One and My World Will Change
Thoughts About the Gradual Process From Confusion and Pain to Self-Awareness and Freedom:
These meditations are similar to different formats of the 12-step program’s 4th step or 10th step—those about self-evaluation and personal reflection. They explore how we create our lives and our relationships.
The meditations involve re-patterning ourselves. You notice areas of confusion, pain and distress and contemplate transformative ideas and actions. Just like changing your exercise or eating habits, you change your thinking and acting habits.
Consider setting aside personal reflection time each day. Reflect on how is the creation of your life going. Are you becoming more contented and peaceful, or more distressed and out of balance? What daily choices are contributing to this? Consider contemplating: Your Life--Everything Is Interconnected!
These meditations provide perspective about our human experience—helping us understand the inherent (inborn) sufferings we have and showing how we create many of our own problems and how to transform our experience by thinking and acting in new ways. They provide suggestions on leading an ethical life and a life based on being of service to others, and the means and process to achieve it.
They help us understand and apply the Serenity Prayer: “God, grant me the serenity to accept the things that I cannot change, courage to change the things that I can and the wisdom to know the difference.”
I have found these teachings to be like spiritual cognitive therapy—helping me be aware of my distorted thoughts and providing a means to transform them into more balanced thinking. They also give me a spiritual motivation for my weight management journey. As you become healthier in body, mind, and spirit, you can be of better service to the world as you become a light of love, kindness, and support.
I encountered these meditations on a retreat—for me they were an answer to my prayers, “Please help me understand all of the suffering that I see on earth.” I began going to two to three-day retreats and found them so valuable that I planned for several each year. Over time, my deep patterns of mental and emotional anguish were transformed.
I received permission from Venerable Chodron to adapt them. See the Resources 2 section for information about where you can purchase the original meditations. Although their roots are from Buddhist thought, they reflect universal principles of ethical and compassionate living and are applicable to anyone of any faith or even for people who are atheist or agnostic.
Other spiritual traditions—like Christian, Jewish, Muslim, or Native American and others, have similar meditations that may be investigated that provide similar insights.
How to use these meditations:
I encourage you to keep a notebook to write down your answers and insights to the various meditations and questions that are asked. Before you begin take a couple of minutes (2 - 20) to meditate and calm your mind down. Then consider your motivation—why are you doing this and what might be the benefit for you and for your relationships with others?
Perhaps take one section of the meditations and explore it 3 - 4 times a week. By following this process you choose to create the causes and conditions for making transformative changes in your life.
Acknowledge yourself for your efforts and your courage for taking time to reflect on all of these issues. Be gentle and accepting with yourself as you notice areas that would benefit from changing.
CHANGE happens by noticing patterns, thinking of options and trying them out. One step at a time your life is transformed…you blossom into your potential!
CELEBRATE the process of learning and growth! Just like our physical habits of food choices and exercise, we have mental and emotional habits.
These meditations help us bring to awareness—and then transform our mental and emotional habits. We do this by the process of analytic meditation. When we are in a calm and safe place, we think about our life and our experiences, contemplate mental, emotional and behavioral options, and then try them out in our daily lives.
The more we practice thinking and acting in new ways the more our lives change. The more we create our lives according to loving and kind aspirations—for everyone—then the compulsive urge to use food to numb out our inner distress will fade away. Ah…. We bring the inner war that we experience to an end.
How to do analytical mediation (Taken from Transforming the Heart by Geshe Jampa Tegchok, pages 55-57):
In daily life we often do “analytical meditation.” For example, when we are attached to a certain person, our basic assertion is, “He/she is wonderful!” Then we think of many reasons to prove that. She looks good, she is intelligent. He has a good mind, he is kind. She is interesting to listen to. He is marvelous to look at. With these reasons and many more, we strengthen our feeling that this person is wonderful, and as a result our attachment fully blossoms and we think that we have to be with that person to be happy. There is no other way; we can’t bear to be without him or her. This mental process is analytical meditation. If someone says other wise, that he or she is unpleasant, not so attractive; we do not listen to a word of it because we are completely convinced. Analytical meditation is like this.
Sometimes we engage in analytical meditation on anger. We think such and such a person is bad. We confirm this with various reasons, such as remembering that he hurt us, or our friends in the past and that he is talking behind our back now. We speculate on the harm he might do in the future. We also back it up with quotes, “My friend said this person can’t be trusted,” and so on. The more reasons we have, the more convinced we become and the more impervious we are to another’s words pointing out that person’s good qualities.
This is how “analytical meditation” reinforces our disturbing attitudes. Yet, we can use the same technique to reflect on Dharma (Buddhist ethical teachings) topics for the purpose of increasing our constructive attitudes. To do this we repeatedly contemplate a particular topic and the reasons used to prove its various points. We should use whatever reasons and examples we can to make the meditation topic clear and convincing, and keep the topic in mind without forgetting it.
We think about each point in depth, relating it to examples from our own life, using reasons, and applying it to our own experience.
By examining the steps of the path closely, with reasons and examples, and be applying it to our own lives, very strong experiences can arise that transform our mind (our habitual patterns of thinking and reacting).
Our mind is like a field, in which realizations grow from the seeds of listening to teachings. For a seed to grow, the earth needs to be free from adverse conditions and to have conducive conditions such as water, fertilizer, and sunshine.
Purifying negativities in our mind is like freeing the earth from adversities, while creating positive potential is comparable to adding the water, fertilizer, and sunshine. Then these factors are as they should be, the seeds of realizations (mental shifts and insights) will gradually sprout and grow.
Your Own Therapist and Make Your Mind an Ocean
by Lama Yeshe, (2003), Lama Yeshe Archive, books available on donation basis
at www.LamaYeshe.com These books are
helpful in studying ourselves and the nature of our own minds. They introduce
the path of self-inquiry. They explore the Buddhist approach to mental illness
in a "question and answer" format. For an excerpt, see
Make Your Mind an Ocean:
Aspects of Buddhist Psychology--for another
explanation on how to do analytic meditation.
To answer the questions, "Why do I experience what I do? How do I change what I experience?" explore the book, Wake Up To Your Life: Discovering The Buddhist Path of Attention, By Ken McLeod, (2002), Harper Collins Publishers, Inc. An excellent resource on dismantling our automatic reactions and conditionings to life. Provides practical insights about how to train our minds to experience greater peace and contentment. Really GOOD! You can purchase the book at: http://www.unfetteredmind.org/ustore
Also the book, Practicing The Power of Now, (1999), by Eckhart Tolle, New World Library Sounds True has audio and videotapes of this book, and many other titles. http://www.soundstrue.com/ 800-333-9185 Provides suggestions and insights to experience the joy of being, to enter the now, to accept whatever is happening (to see impermanence and the cycles of life), and to transform the "pain body" in us.
I have been using these books during this last year to transform my automatic reactive emotional, mental, and physical reactions to life. It is so much FUN to finally understand why I do what I do, notice it, and then be able to gradually change it, step-by-step! I've seen these concepts work for many people
Applying all of these concepts and practices to our own life helps us verify their reality for ourselves.
Copyright © 2001-2018 Bob Wilson BS, DTR All Right Reserved. Articles are for personal use only. Please request permission for other uses. Thanks!