Mental Medicine: "What is meditation?'

Mental Medicine
Weekly insights from meditation classes you may have missed.

Our popular understanding of the word meditation is misleading and can often be a bit off-putting for people. Many people think meditation involves something complex and generally something that's too difficult to learn. To counter this misconception it's useful to think of the Tibetan word for meditation 'Gom', which translates to 'familiarize'.

With what are we becoming familiar? Positive, peaceful, blessed, virtuous, happiness inducing states of mind like love, compassion, rejoicing, cherishing others, concentration, generosity, insight, wisdom, etc. 

Thus, meditation is just that - familiarizing your mind with thoughts that give rise to happiness.

For example, an easy way to begin a meditation practice is to read a couple paragraphs from one of Geshe Kelsang's books (he recently published this free E-book: How to Transform Your Life) or another book of your choosing that moves your heart and glean one sentence that resonates with you.

Then, close your eyes and spend some time inside your mind hanging out with that insight (guess what, you are now meditating☺️).

Gently ruminate on it over and over again until it moves you ... changing your mind from an unpeaceful state to a peaceful state. Then when you open your eyes and begin your day carry that thought with you/remain mindful of it for as long as possible. Remember it as many times as you can throughout the day. Many students set alarms on their phones to remind them of their Dharma insights.

Thus, whether on the cushion or off you'll be mixing your mind with peace and happiness. Through continuously familiarizing your mind with insight and wisdom, instead of getting uptight, upset, worried and anxious you will quickly become a good meditator and your practice will gradually guide you to becoming the person you long to be.

The Unmistaken Dharma
What Geshe la says ... (weekly quote from one of Geshe Kelsang's books).

Geshe la says:
'Having eliminated ordinary appearances we should then use our imagination to try to perceive Vajrayogini’s environment and body, and look upon these as our own environment and body. These are the bases upon which we generate divine pride by firmly deciding ‘I am Vajrayogini surrounded by my pure environment and pure enjoyments.’ 
- The New Guide to Dakini Land

Student Insights

Kelsey C. had been attending meditation class in Williamsburg for a year now, and has trouble imagining life without it now. "Meditation is more important to me than my trips to the gym or coffee dates at this point, and it isn't because those don't feel amazing in comparison. It's because meditation makes them better, along with everything else in my life. Life without it just doesn't compare #realtalk" 

She volunteers to help meet & greet at the Sunday class, be sure to say hi :)

What's Happening ...
Big news. After 12 years of renting space to facilitate our classes in Williamsburg we finally have a space of our VERY OWN ... We did it! Our hard work and good karma has ripened in the form of a 2000 square-foot 13 foot ceiling beautiful, sun filled space right in the heart of Williamsburg at 119 11th St (btw Bedford & Berry). Here we will slowly grow our community, create lasting friendships, deepening our connection to Buddha, to the Dharma, becoming the people we long to be and just having a heck of a great time! This is 12 years in the making.

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This Week's Class Schedule
Sunday / Journey to Lasting Happiness 11AM to 12:30PM
Wednesday / Freedom from Anxiety 8PM to 9:30PM
Thursday / The Complete Modern Day Spiritual Practitioner 8PM to 9:30PM

Joseph Giacona