Mental Medicine: Freedom from Anxiety

Weekly Insights from Meditation Classes You May Have Missed

During our Wednesday class series we are continuing our exploration into this truly fascinating mind of anxiety. As with all our other deluded, agitated states of mind, we only dare to investigate them from perspective of/and within the space of peace and stillness. We use this 'inner laboratory' of peace that we generate through meditation to explore these painful minds. Solutions and the power to let go only arise within the space of peace.

We always feel disconnected from peace and happiness. Ask yourself, "Do I feel disconnected from, separate from peace right now?" It's amazing that even when we are peaceful, even that peace appears to exist separate from us. We never experience a deep 'union' or communion with peace. Like a carrot on a stick, peace and happiness are always a little bit apart. The purpose of meditation is to actively destroy and ruthlessly demolish this separation. We go (actively go) deeper and deeper into this little bit of peace that we experience either in meditation or when enjoying time with friends, enjoying the sunshine on our face etc. and recognize that this little bit of peace is connected to enlightened peace. 

This little bit of peace highlights numerous profound insights into our happiness nature: we have the potential for great peace; our mind can change from unpeaceful to a little bit more peaceful indicating our mind can change (we can change!); in order to be peaceful all we do is let go of the agitated line of thinking; a little bit of peace is connected to the peace of all the previous practitioners who themselves became enlightened; this peace also exists in the heart of every living being and they too have this extraordinary potential for lasting happiness.

Don't undervalue your little bit of peace; treasure it as your most precious possession. It is the one thing that can never be taken from you. Lasting peace begins with a little bit of peace.

So within that space of stillness and peace we look once again at our anxiety, that terribly disruptive state of mind that anticipates catastrophe and dreads it. Quoting our dear friend Mark Twain, “I’ve experienced many catastrophes in my life, most of which never happened.” Anxiety is a completely useless state of mind that moves towards a potential difficulty in a state of fear, resistance, dread and panic. It goes without saying that it is also utterly unproductive and contrary to our wish for solution and progress. Anxiety (jealously is a close runner-up) is the winner of the ‘The Most Useless State of Mind Award.’

Unfortunately, we think anxiety is necessary. Clearly, our life would be so much better without anxiety. Why? To make a long story short, anxiety tries to control the uncontrollable. For example, can we control if someone likes us? No, but we try. We spend so much time worrying about what others think about us. Yet, can we control what they think? No, clearly not. So if we can’t control what people think about us, why do we worry about what they think? The only thing we can control in any situation is our state of mind, our response to their dislike, their unhappiness etc. How much easier life would be if we understood that if we simply control our mind there is no need to control other things. We need to spend time in meditation analyzing situations that give rise to anxiety, looking at them with that understanding. We are actively teaching ourself how to respond to everything with peace, solution and wisdom. As Geshe Kelsang is fond of saying, “We need to become our own teacher, our own protector, our own spiritual guide.” Such profound advice.

Buddha was so kind. Out of his great compassion he shows us that our anxiety-inducing thoughts exist within the mind, AND at an even more subtle level, the situation ITSELF exists within our mind. How so? Think about a situation that makes you anxious. Ask yourself, 'Does this situation appear to exist in my mind, relative to my mind, created by my mind? Or does it appear to be separate, independent, out there, having nothing to do with my mind at all?" If we're honest, when we check within our experience we see the situation appears to be out there, separate, having nothing to do with our mind at all. From that perspective anxiety is utterly natural i.e. here's this really difficult, panic-inducing situation ‘out there,’ so of course I'm justified in being extremely anxious. Actually, I’m completely freaking out! But through meditation we begin to see directly for ourself, that situation exists relative to our mind. We can contemplate, “All I ever experience is just my experience of the situation i.e. other than my experience of the situation there is no situation. Therefore, this situation exists relative to my mind, not independent, out there, separate from my mind and if I simply connect to that little bit of peace in my heart and abide there, then I can engage with this situation with peace.” Within peace, there is solution.

We ourself, our life, the situations in our life and all the people we normally see exist relative to our mind. We know this from our own experience. For example, two people can look at the same situation in two completely different ways. One individual can view it from a place of peace, joy, and even excited to rise to the occasion. Another person looks at the same exact situation from the perspective of anxiety, fear, worry, panic and incapacity. Same situation, different state of mind.So the situation itself isn't anxiety inducing objectively, independent of the mind perceiving it. There are no objectively anxious things or situations. The situation exists only relative to the mind that perceives it and if that mind is peaceful then there is no problem.

A peaceful mind doesn’t perceive problems.

Thus, if we control our mind then we have complete control over every situation. With a peaceful mind we can deal with anything and live our life based on wisdom and blessing. We will have confidence that we can make spiritual use of whatever comes our way and be fully present for both the ups and downs, transforming everything into something beneficial for ourself and others.

Meditation for this Week
There is nothing to fear and/or become anxious about other than our uncontrolled mind. For as long as our mind is out of control we will continue to misperceive reality and develop all the associated painful minds, such as anxiety, worry and anger. As the great Indian Buddhist meditation master said, " ... if the elephant of our mind is bound tightly on all sides by the rope of mindfulness, all fears will cease to exist and all virtues will fall into our hands." And, " ... it is not possible to control all external events; but, if I simply control my mind, what need is there to control other things?" First, when the mind of anxiety arises be grateful. Accept. It is there to show you exactly what needs letting go. Then, use it to remind you, “This is a completely useless state of mind. My nature is peaceful. Anxiety parades itself as my friend but has it ever helped me?! I can engage with my life, my karma THROUGH peace. Peace is my nature and that little bit of peace I experience in meditation indicates that I can view this situation from a place of peace."

THE UNMISTAKEN DHARMA

WHAT GESHE LA SAYS. . . 

“Our delusions are now very strong and difficult to control. We have so little inner peace that it is rare to enjoy a peaceful mind for even just a few hours. If we check our mind we will see that we are living in a state of almost constant discomfort and anxiety. As soon as we stop worrying about one thing, something else starts to bother us. Our delusions give us no rest. We have uncomfortable minds and experience very little real happiness. Our lives these days are extremely busy and complicated, filled with an ever-increasing variety of distractions. Even when we have the time to relax we tend to switch on the television or radio and are subjected to a multitude of ever-changing images and sounds. We are so used to being stimulated from the outside that we find it difficult to be quiet and enjoy the stillness of our own mind.”
- From Eight Steps to Happiness

Student Insights

Send Us Your Story & No-selfie

Elisa G. shares her experience: "I have been going to Joseph's Buddhism and meditation class religiously for a couple of years, because it's literally been one of the most healing experiences of my life. One of the infinite things that I feel so grateful for understanding is the idea that you don't have to search for peace, all you have to do is drop your agitated state of mind and it is there. Rather than trying too hard, like all other things in life, it is so empowering to know that connecting to just a moment's peace automatically connects you to something so much more vast with in you than the limited mania of your usual thoughts. Even better, it gives you a view into the potential of peace in others. How could we not want that in our lives?"

Elisa G. shares her experience: "I have been going to Joseph's Buddhism and meditation class religiously for a couple of years, because it's literally been one of the most healing experiences of my life. One of the infinite things that I feel so grateful for understanding is the idea that you don't have to search for peace, all you have to do is drop your agitated state of mind and it is there. Rather than trying too hard, like all other things in life, it is so empowering to know that connecting to just a moment's peace automatically connects you to something so much more vast with in you than the limited mania of your usual thoughts. Even better, it gives you a view into the potential of peace in others. How could we not want that in our lives?"

What's Happening ...

Meditation: Too Good to Be True? 
Half-Day Meditation Course, Saturday March 18th

with Sarika Bajoria Saturday, March 18, 2017 at 10am – 1pm Cost: $15 per session | $25 for both sessions | Free for Supporting Members of KMC-NYC *It is recommended that you attend the course in its entirety. Single-session registration is not available online, but walk-ins are welcome for those who cannot attend both sessions. Session times: 10:00 - 11:15am | 11:45am - 1:00pm Is it true that a modest but consistent meditation practice can steer you toward a more positive life? Yes. Is it true that people and circumstances that currently bother you can cease being problems simply through meditating daily? Yes. Is meditation too good to be true? Not at all. If you’re looking for a way to produce meaningful change in your life, you need to go inward. Meditation takes you there. Through this half-day course – which includes teachings, discussion and several guided meditations – you can begin the process of turning things around. Easy, fun and meaningful. 

with Sarika Bajoria
Saturday, March 18, 2017 at 10am – 1pm
Cost: $15 per session | $25 for both sessions | Free for Supporting Members of KMC-NYC

*It is recommended that you attend the course in its entirety. Single-session registration is not available online, but walk-ins are welcome for those who cannot attend both sessions.

Session times: 10:00 - 11:15am | 11:45am - 1:00pm

Is it true that a modest but consistent meditation practice can steer you toward a more positive life? Yes. Is it true that people and circumstances that currently bother you can cease being problems simply through meditating daily? Yes. Is meditation too good to be true? Not at all.

If you’re looking for a way to produce meaningful change in your life, you need to go inward. Meditation takes you there. Through this half-day course – which includes teachings, discussion and several guided meditations – you can begin the process of turning things around. Easy, fun and meaningful. 

Starting March 13, 2017
A NEW MONDAY NIGHT 12-CLASS SERIES

Meditations on Love
BRINGING JOY TO OUR RELATIONSHIPS

Everybody knows they want to love and be loved, but what actually is love? According to Buddha, the special feeling that we call love isn’t something outside of ourselves that we need to find and fall into. Rather it’s a special experience within ourselves that we all have. In a special 12-session class, we'll take you though specific mediations and Dharma talks to help you create universal love to tap into at any moment.  Join us on Mondays starting on March 13 at 7:00 PM. 

Everybody knows they want to love and be loved, but what actually is love? According to Buddha, the special feeling that we call love isn’t something outside of ourselves that we need to find and fall into. Rather it’s a special experience within ourselves that we all have. In a special 12-session class, we'll take you though specific mediations and Dharma talks to help you create universal love to tap into at any moment. 

Join us on Mondays starting on March 13 at 7:00 PM. 

Social Sharegraphic of the Week

Share the Dharma in Your Newsfeed

Click here to share this pearl of wisdom from Geshe la on Facebook.  Happiness is a state of mind, so the real source of happiness must lie within the mind, not in external conditions. If our mind is pure and peaceful we will be happy, regardless of our external circumstances, but if it is impure and unpeaceful we can never be truly happy, no matter how hard we try to change our external conditions.

Click here to share this pearl of wisdom from Geshe la on Facebook. 

Happiness is a state of mind, so the real source of happiness must lie within the mind, not in external conditions. If our mind is pure and peaceful we will be happy, regardless of our external circumstances, but if it is impure and unpeaceful we can never be truly happy, no matter how hard we try to change our external conditions.

Class Schedule

Get your Dharma on and come to class!

Please arrive 10-15 minutes early to check in and get settled. We unfortunately cannot accommodate late arrivals because our volunteer receptionists participate in the class. The directions are below. NOTE: Though each day covers a specific topic, each session is a stand alone lesson and can be taken in any order.  Sunday - Journey to Lasting Happiness   11:00 AM - 12:30PM New Class Series: Monday, March 13: Meditations on Love 7:00 PM - 8:30PM Wednesday - Freedom from Anxiety 8:00 PM - 9:30PM Thursday - Freedom from Painful Emotions 8:00 PM - 9:30PM New class series will be added to the schedule in the coming weeks and months.

Please arrive 10-15 minutes early to check in and get settled. We unfortunately cannot accommodate late arrivals because our volunteer receptionists participate in the class. The directions are below.

NOTE: Though each day covers a specific topic, each session is a stand alone lesson and can be taken in any order. 

Sunday - Journey to Lasting Happiness  
11:00 AM - 12:30PM

New Class Series: Monday, March 13: Meditations on Love
7:00 PM - 8:30PM

Wednesday - Freedom from Anxiety
8:00 PM - 9:30PM

Thursday - Freedom from Painful Emotions
8:00 PM - 9:30PM

New class series will be added to the schedule in the coming weeks and months.

Directions to the Center

119 North 11th Street (between Bedford & Berry Streets)  Williamsburg, Brooklyn Unit 1 C  /  Ring Buzzer for Kadampa Meditation Center Williamsburg Branch Map By Train: L / Bedford Ave or the G / Metropolitan By Bus: M7, M15, B37, B43, B44, B52, B60, B62  Street parking is available. 

119 North 11th Street (between Bedford & Berry Streets) 
Williamsburg, Brooklyn

Unit 1 C  /  Ring Buzzer for Kadampa Meditation Center Williamsburg Branch

Map

By Train: L / Bedford Ave or the G / Metropolitan

By Bus: M7, M15, B37, B43, B44, B52, B60, B62 

Street parking is available.