Mental Medicine: Think You Got it Bad?

Weekly Insights from Meditation Classes You May Have Missed
By Joseph Giacona, Williamsburg Meditation Teacher

According to Buddha, peace is the very nature of our mind.
Whether we are engaging in formal meditation on a cushion or chair, or we are out of meditation engaging in daily activities, whenever we experience a little bit of peace, a little bit of happiness, a little moment of stillness, we strongly identify this experience of peace as a reflection of our actual nature. Normally, we identify with the cloudy agitation in the sky of our mind and pay very little attention to the light rays of peace and happiness. And rarely do we associate those peaceful light rays as emanating from a vast sun - the sun of endless possibility. The little bit of peace we experience reflects our potential for a much deeper experience of peace. Through beginning to connect to this peace, strongly identifying with it, we will begin to change the way we relate to ourself from someone who is disconnected from peace and happiness to someone very different, a person who is connected to a source of peace and happiness all the time.

Buddha's insight into the nature of reality shows us that everything is created by the mind.  For example, right at this very moment you are creating your experience of this newsletter. Someone, somewhere else in Brooklyn is having a very different experience of this newsletter. So the only newsletter you know is the one created by your mind. Other than your experience of the newsletter, there is no newsletter, for you. So if you think it's a crappy newsletter, then it's not the newsletters fault!

Likewise, the only self you know is the one created by your mind. How you identify with yourself creates who you are. In other words, do you think you got it bad? Well, then you do. Identification is creation. Good and bad, unlimited and limited are labels created by the mind. If you identify yourself as a peaceful person, then that’s who you'll become. You have freedom to drop that limited self you normally relate to and make room for the unlimited person you long to be. Why create a painful identity and live a life completely out of touch with reality? Clearly a colossal waste of a precious commodity we lose moment by moment - time.

For example, when you go off to sleep at night, if you begin dreaming of yourself as a limited, depressed person, are you really a limited person? Or are you just a 'dream' limited person? Clearly it’s just a dream limited person. Is a dream-limited person actually limited? Does a dream limited person actually exist? Is a dream person actually depressed? No. But we think it to be true. In the dream we strongly identified with ourself as limited, hurt, becoming upset, depressed, feeling very stuck, but when we wake up we realize the dream person didn't exist. What a sense of great relief! Buddha said that all phenomenal are like this, dream-like in nature and only exist relative to the mind and are, in fact, created by the mind.

In The Oral Instructions of Mahamudra, Geshe Kelsang says, “All my appearances in dreams teach me that all my appearances when awake do not exist ... ’ In failing to realize we are simply dreaming, we respond to our dream creations incorrectly and as a result become angry, anxious and frustrated. If we knew we were dreaming we would never get upset. Why become upset with your own creations? Buddha said the same is true of our waking experiences; all our waking experiences are also 'just' dream-like appearances to the mind.

We should spend some time analyzing our dreams, reflecting deeply on how a whole world, that doesn't even exist, can appear clearly to our mind.

In Sanskrit, the word Buddha means ‘Awaken One.’ When we awake from this misunderstanding, this misapprehension of ourself as limited, the dream of our suffering ends. We realize that the limited self, the stuck self that we normally see was simply our own creation. It was nothing other than a mere dream-like fabrication of the mind, with no definite, solid truth. Amazing! We always abide in a state of limitless possibility. The limited, stuck, loser person is just an idea, and a very bad one at that. Be creative. Imagine who you want to be and create it. What's stopping you? One thing: the silly idea thinking that real change isn't possible.

In Training the Mind in Seven Points, Geshe Chekhawa says, “Think that all phenomena are like dreams.” Geshe Kelsang explains, "Some of the things we see in our dreams are beautiful and some are ugly, but they are all mere appearances to our dreaming mind. They do not exist from their own side, and are empty of inherent existence. It is the same with the objects we perceive when we are awake—they too are mere appearances to mind and lack inherent existence."

Meditation for this Week
We contemplate, "How am I relating to myself? As a capable person or an incapable person? As someone who has a source of peace and happiness right in their heart or as someone who is disconnected from peace and happiness?" More often than not, we will discover we are relating to ourself as limited. We need to see directly, in our own experience, that we are creating that limited person, moment by moment. There is no real, fixed person actually there. We have freedom to create the person we long to be. Then we ask, "Does that limited person exists inside my mind or outside my mind?" We then remember that just as our entire dream experience exists inside of our mind, so too this limited person we are relating to, also exists inside our mind. Through continuous contemplation, we will soon catch on and realize, 'I have freedom to let go of the limited self, let go of this limited, dream-like appearance and become an enlightened being.'

The Unmistaken Dharma of Geshe Kelsang Gyatso
Geshe la says. . . 
“When a magician creates an illusory horse, a horse appears very clearly to his mind but he knows that it is just an illusion. Indeed, the very appearance of the horse reminds him that there is no horse in front of him. In the same way, when we are very familiar with emptiness, the very fact that things appear to be inherently existent will remind us that they are not inherently existent. We should therefore recognize that whatever appears to us in our daily life is like an illusion and lacks inherent existence. In this way our wisdom will increase day by day, and our self-grasping ignorance and other delusions will naturally diminish.” - From How to Transform Your Life (FREE E-BOOK)

Student Insights

Send Us Your Story & No-selfie

Bessie A. shares her experience, "Finding the Williamsburg branch 4 months ago brought a new community into my life that I've sought for several years (and should have done a google search). I went to my first class alone after hearing about it from a different website, and have never felt so welcomed into a space. Even on the nights when I'm not talking with others, there's a comfort from simply being in the room. Since high school I've practiced forms of self work and alternative healing, but this is the first time taking part in a group setting. Meditating in a group has only strengthened my feeling that this can be constant throughout my days. Now it's not a secret on my to-do list, but rather my evening hangout. Joseph's teaching style is real and thoughtful - shedding light on topics that are easily relatable: relationships, anxiety, and happiness. So far, I have laughed at least once per class, because he delivers the teachings without ignoring all that happens being a human. I have found the teachings on desires attachment to be incredibly helpful in understanding my relationships to people, diet, and life circumstances. Buddha's definition of love is my favorite I've heard so far. And how our habit is to relate to ourselves as limiting people are all topics that have been discussed. The center is my reminder of the importance of a spiritual project, and has quickly become a weekly addition to my life."

Bessie A. shares her experience, "Finding the Williamsburg branch 4 months ago brought a new community into my life that I've sought for several years (and should have done a google search). I went to my first class alone after hearing about it from a different website, and have never felt so welcomed into a space. Even on the nights when I'm not talking with others, there's a comfort from simply being in the room. Since high school I've practiced forms of self work and alternative healing, but this is the first time taking part in a group setting. Meditating in a group has only strengthened my feeling that this can be constant throughout my days. Now it's not a secret on my to-do list, but rather my evening hangout.

Joseph's teaching style is real and thoughtful - shedding light on topics that are easily relatable: relationships, anxiety, and happiness. So far, I have laughed at least once per class, because he delivers the teachings without ignoring all that happens being a human.

I have found the teachings on desires attachment to be incredibly helpful in understanding my relationships to people, diet, and life circumstances. Buddha's definition of love is my favorite I've heard so far. And how our habit is to relate to ourselves as limiting people are all topics that have been discussed.

The center is my reminder of the importance of a spiritual project, and has quickly become a weekly addition to my life."


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What's Happening at the Center ...

TIME CHANGE: Wednesday & Thursday Classes Now Begin at 7:30pm ...


Also Beginning this Week ...

NEW After-Work Meditations
Wednesday & Thursday 6:30pm to 7pm

Take 30 minutes after your workday to connect to your heart, cultivate inner peace and happiness. Everyone is welcome to attend these guided meditations. No previous experience is necessary.

GENERAL CLASS STRUCTURE:

  • Practical teaching on meditation in conjunction with the specific class topic (10 minutes).
  • Simple guided breathing / relaxation meditation (20 minutes).
  • Discussion / Questions & Answers for Those Who Wish to Stay Later (10 - 15 minutes). General Info About Our Classes & Class Format

$5 or Free for Supporting Members


Social Sharegraphic(S) of the Week

Share the Dharma in Your Newsfeed

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And ... 

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.


JOIN US FOR COFFEE, TEA & CHAT AFTER SUNDAY CLASS

Relax & enjoy fresh coffee & tea whilst chatting with a community who share similar spiritual questions and goals.

Be inspired by like-minded class members.

Be inspired by like-minded class members.


Class Calendar

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

NEW! Wednesday & Thursday After-Work Meditation  
6:30PM - 7:00PM

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

Monday - Meditations on Love
7:00PM - 8:30PM

Wednesday - Freedom from Anxiety
7:30PM - 9:00PM

Thursday - Freedom from Painful Emotions
7:30PM - 9:00PM

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 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

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.