Mental Medicine: Let Go of Your Anxious Mind
Weekly Insights from Meditation Classes
Our Wednesday class series is focusing on anxiety for the next few weeks and we often quote - or misquote - Mark Twain, “I've experience many catastrophes in my life, some of which actually happened.”
It may surprise you that our mind, by its very nature, is peaceful. Meditation is the best way to highlight this because within just five to 10 minutes, you begin to feel some stillness and peace. Happiness is a one-step process: Let go of what is agitating your mind. Then your mind is peaceful. That is the essence of meditation.
We spend a lot of time thinking about things that are painful, which are no benefit to ourselves or those around us. ‘Letting go’ is not the the same as dropping your problems or responsibilities. Don’t drop the problem, drop the agitated state of mind. Start from the point of acceptance that you have unlimited potential and your nature is indeed peaceful.
With anxiety, for example, it’s just the habit of relating to that agitated state of mind. Anxiety is concocting a bad outcome for some future event, followed by chronic worry. When you are anxious, you are relating to an incapable person, your limited self - rather than your potential and peaceful nature. This mindset of anticipating catastrophe causes you to be separated from your potential which also creates emotional and even physical pain. You’re not thinking or living in the moment where all action takes place. Your worry heightens the problem, instead of solving it. So, you’re developing a habit that is totally counterproductive because no one can control external events, only their response to it. Unfortunately, for most of us, fear is the backdrop of our lives.
When feeling anxious, ask yourself, is the situation intrinsically difficult? No. It isn’t. These situations feel as though they are occurring separate from our minds. In reality, however, all life occurs within your own mind. It’s all just your perception. All of it. Therefore, if your mind is anxious, what you experience will be fear-based - regardless of the outcome.
Meditation for this Week
You can’t solve your problem with a problem mind. Establish peace in your mind by focusing on your breath for a few minutes. When thoughts arise, simply let them pass and refocus on your breath. Then ask yourself, “What can I control in this situation? Just my response. Just my mind. Just my view. Just my perception of the situation.” Then ask yourself, “Have I happily accepted this situation, and am I welcoming it wholeheartedly - without resistance?” Creativity begins with acceptance. Once you accept the situation, there is space to act - not react.
The Unmistaken Dharma
What Geshe la says. . .
“Many benefits follow from taming our mind. If we take the rope of mindfulness and tie our elephant mind securely to the post of virtue, all our fears will swiftly come to an end. All positive and wholesome attainments will fall into the palm of our hand. If we wish to elevate our mind we must merge it with the practice of virtue by steadily applying the power of mindfulness. This is the very heart of meditation.”
Send Us Your Story & No-selfie
Jess D. began attending Joseph Giacona’s meditation classes in August 2016. “I often woke up with an anxious, depressed mind. Then, I would hear Joseph’s voice: “People wake up in ‘terror, sheer terror’ which has no real benefit.” Now, my morning blues have dramatically decreased, and I focus on my breath. When anxiety does creep in, I recognize that my thoughts are just thoughts. They come and go. As I continue this practice, I’m confident those anxious thoughts will continue to dissipate - freeing up my energy to give more, and worry less. I’m deeply grateful for these teachings and to all of those who make it possible.”
Jess volunteers as a digital evangelist for the Williamsburg branch.
Special Events & Updates at the Center
Kadam Morten, the NYC Kadampa Meditation Center Director, will host a special talk titled, “Love Without Pain.” Is love without pain possible? Love is supposed to give rise to our greatest happiness, but all too often it seems to lead to pain and suffering. Confusingly, it is as if that which brings us the most happiness, also brings us the most intense and deep sorrow. According to Buddha, the confusion arises because we fail to distinguish between authentic love and the deluded mind of attachment. Love is the source of happiness. The pain in our relationships arise from our attachment.
In this public talk, we will learn to approach our love for partner, family and friends from a fresh, new perspective. We will learn to discriminate clearly between love and attachment. This insight will allow us to use our relationships to train in diminishing attachment and increasing love. In this way, our relationships will become more harmonious and joyful as well as an integral and vital component of our spiritual path to enlightenment.
Our Own Facebook Page!
Spread the Dharma in Your Newsfeed.
We just launched the Williamsburg Branch Facebook page! Our teacher Joseph has been cranking out the share graphics like no body's business. Check them out and spread the Dharma in Williamsburg by sharing them. Your efforts truly make a difference to make our world a more peaceful place. We're seeing success in more and more students finding us through their newsfeed.
Get your Dharma on and come to class!
SPECIAL NOTE: 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.
Sunday - Journey to Lasting Happiness
11:00 AM - 12:30PM
Wednesday - Freedom from Anxiety
8:00 PM - 9:30PM
Thursday - Clarity of the Mind
8:00 PM - 9:30PM
New class series will be added to the schedule in the coming weeks and months.