My dear friend Katy Brennan teaches a weekly meditation class at Kadampa Meditation Center NYC. Prior to each class, she sends an email reminder to regular students.
This week’s reminder really resonated with me and Katy graciously agreed to allow me to share it with my readers. I hope that it strikes a chord with you, too.
A short note here about naturally combining two of the “go to” meditations we have been doing midday on Tuesdays, as we will do today.
The two main meditations we have been doing are meditations on clarity of mind and on love and compassion.
For the past few weeks, we’ve been focusing on the clarity of our minds. In all the meditations we do, we spend some time on this, breathing out distractions and creating space so we can experience our mind’s natural clarity. In the clarity of mind meditations, we stay there, placing our attention on the clear nature of the mind.
The visualization/analogy we’ve been using is that of a clear blue sky. Our mind, like the sky, is naturally clear. Everything we experience and all that comes to mind, both in and out of meditation—all appearances to mind—are just that, appearances. They are, like clouds in the sky, impermanent, changing every moment, bound to dissolve and disappear. So no matter how clouded our mind may appear, this is a temporary condition. Behind even the most violent storm, the sky remains clear. Our mind, like the sky, remains by nature clear and peaceful. In moments of bad weather in the mind (agitation, anger, frustration, any un-peaceful state) we can remember this. We can always return to the clarity and the peace.
In fact, when we do, we are capable of handling any appearance to mind more skillfully and beneficially. When our mind is clear and peaceful, we naturally feel happy.
When we feel happy, we are in our right mind, our reliable mind, the mind with which we can connect to others in the most meaningful and beneficial way.
We can open our experience of clarity, peace and happiness to others. We recognize that, just like us, everyone (in fact, all living beings) wishes to be happy, as in free from un-peaceful, agitated states of mind. So we wish this for them, beginning with the people (or any living being, even a pet or other animal we wish to protect) we find easiest to love. We then open our hearts wider and wider to include everyone we know (even those people or animals we perceive as difficult or unlovable) and everyone we don’t know…ultimately, all living beings.
It’s actually a very simple progression. We don’t need to think about it. We simply experience it. We hold this experience of clarity, peace, happiness, love, and compassion without grasping at it. We simply allow it, knowing that this is the natural state of our mind; our mind is by nature clear, by nature peaceful, and therefor by nature happy, loving, and compassionate.
It’s not an intellectual understanding. It’s an experience of recognition; an experience of reality. We are not adding anything in to our minds. We are letting go and simply tuning in to what’s already there. We can do this any time, any place, for any length of time, every day.