a place and time for meditation

There is no place or time for meditation. Meditation itself is timeless and without location. Look at the word with-out: out of location.

a time .. a place ...

a time .. a place …

Thinking that being in a monastery will lead you to meditation is an illusion. Sure the energy might be better, and the desire to meditate when going here for this purpose is already strongly there.

But mind will here too find excuses, probably the same excuses as when home: too much distraction, other meditators making sounds, needing time to adjust to the surroundings and wanting to feel the energy, thinking there are more urgent things to do, …

All the while you are procrastinating a simple act of meditation, that at home might only cost you 20 minutes, and now you made a journey of an hour or more in both directions, you will look around inside and outside, probably eat there and have a conference with each other, and maybe spend 60 minutes in a meditation room, out of which you might meditate for about 15 minutes, because the cushions are not comfortable and your behind hurts.

Stuff to think about: Meditation also goes out of mind, although it often starts with an act of the (free) will – will itself being a result of a desire. Meditation wants to silence the mind. Does the desire to meditate reside in the mind? Or does desire activate body and/or mind to get what it wants?

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34 thoughts on “a place and time for meditation

  1. Hey, Bert, I would love to have you cross-post this blog as a Guest Blogger at divinelightchurch.blogspot.com. Let me know if that suits you!

  2. Really? Buddhas are answering prayers via fellow bloggers?!
    How very cool is that! XD Very happy to be involved.
    (The rest of your comment is currently ‘trickling down’, BTW…)
    WoW man, you made my morning ๐Ÿ™‚

  3. What wants chocolate? Can only be the mind!
    We only get hooked on something because our mind has exaggerated the perceived pleasing qualities and wants more.
    Liking chocolate in the first place is a karmic thing. We have the karma to like chocolate is all. It’s a mind of attachment.

    The body and mind are separate, but brain chemistry affects the way the mind works. I’d say this is more on a conscious level, coz it’s a process we can become aware of.

    “Understanding the Mind” by Geshe Kelsang Gyatso a good reference book. A bit technical, but most precise ๐Ÿ™‚ He doesn’t talk about the unconscious mind though; so yes, please do share your favourite bits and confusion!

    • Thank you Jas for your interesting reply.
      Some loose thoughts …

      I’m a millipede, and I feel I want to eat something … that comes straight out of my body, no mind involved.

      Chocolate and things we are hooked on, very tricky to say it is the mind. In fact, all of the addicted will say with a straight face they want to kick off.
      There is a huge factor of body involved, in drug and nicotine addiction,
      100% body ??? … probably not !

      An insect doesn’t even have a brain, only ganglia (like micro-controllers). Still it has wants. It wants to eat, It wants to have sex and procreate. In my opinion, an insect has no mind, but that is my opinion, and I will never be able to prove that. ๐Ÿ™‚

      I will give Geshe Kelsang Gyatso a good read. In fact I have last week asked an introduction to the Tibetan Buddhist theory of mind. Thank you for answering … and for giving me smiles.

      Mind is very complex!!!

      • Sorry for late reply, been a busy few weeks and I had to disagree!
        Maybe we’ll have to agree to differ here, but wanting something is definitely a mind of attachment. Otherwise you’re saying that the body can think.
        How can a hollow muscular organ cognize anything?
        (I have heard of ‘body consciousness’, but I’m not sure on details here.
        * Check out Kadampa Life on here if you want – Luna is a lot clearer than me on this and has been around our tradition for years.)

        Interesting discussion ๐Ÿ™‚ thank you.

        Oh, and they’re not very bright, but insects do have minds, why else would a butterfly be attracted to a candle?

        • I think it is like OM said a matter of definition. Although sometimes it is not. Sometimes it is also just a matter of experience. I experience insects as flying plants. I cannot imagine a plant having consciousness. But I might be alone in my crazy opinions. ๐Ÿ˜‰
          But as much as i like to differ here, I like your opinion as much as my own. My perspective is widened by all the comments i receive on this and many other posts!

    • Not disagreeing with your general points, except your saying it’s the mind which craves chocolate. Part of the craving is biochemical “uppers” in chocolate, so I suppose that would be “mind,” but chocolate is also an excellent source of magnesium, and MANY people who crave chocolate, it is the body being deficient and going for the easiest or most available source it can get! There is what I and others might call “body-consciousness” in that, but it is not what most people mean by “mind.” Does that make sense?

      • Thanks OM, sorry for the late reply. The ‘trickling down’ process can be quite slow at times.
        I just said about body-consciousness to Bert as well, and it’s something I’m a bit fuzzy on. But there are many different types of mind, and some are related to form, having specific locations within the body.
        * ‘Mind’ being that which functions to cognize, and is the nature of clarity. ie, it thinks, and is clear, like space. So definitely not form, which has physical properties, although they have a close relationship.

        So maybe we have a different interpretation of ‘mind’? How would you describe ‘body-consciousness’?

        • Hello Jas Baku, thanks for your response. It’s probably a matter of definitions. To me, “mind” as languaged cognizing is merely one manifestation of “consciousness” and there are many forms which do not depend on language nor even on the brain. I would say “body-consciousness” as I was using the term there would be some form of “intelligence” manifested by the nervous system in parts or whole of the body.

          For example, if my body is low on magnesium, I might crave chocolate. That’s not just a physical thing, because my craving is in my awareness, and it leads me to look for chocolate, buy it, enjoy eating it, etc. There was some kind of “communication” from the body, via biochemicals to the nervous system which interpreted them and related them to something in my body’s previous experience (the effects of chocolate) and generated a feeling or desire or impulse, and I’m willing to call all of that a function of “consciousness.”

          Also for example when hypnotic suggestion raises blisters on the skin, that is also “body consciousness” in action, because the suggestion came into the mind in words, and manifested directly as a physical, observable blister.

          In any case, it probably doesn’t matter what we label all these things, as long as we are aware of the phenomena which exist. Does that make sense?

        • exactly … it is a matter of defining what is mind.
          To me mind is the process of using reason (or incorrect reasoning) by producing thoughts and opinions.
          The buddhist perspective says mind is consciousness. But then things becone very fuzzy and they too differentiate by using adjectives in front of the word mind.
          There is indeed body consciousness and it is this that make flies fly, eat, sit on your toilet and reproduce by mating and lying eggs …
          I call this body and not body consciousness.
          I like to understand the effect of all my consciousness (body, emotions and intuition and even the causal realms) on my reasoning and opinionating mind. I can silence only this one, but not my emotions, nor my body (ain’t i lucky) although i have an influence on all …

      • * This is really a reply to Dec 28th (oops) but there was no reply button, so…
        Looks like we’ll have to agree on differing somewhat? I think it does matter what we label these things. Phenomena only come into existence when they’re named, and the label itself defines the thing. It’s true though, an awareness of existents is definitely important.
        For me, consciousness is clarity and cognizing. That is, the mind has no form, but it knows things, and as Bert says there are different types if mind (mind and consciousness being synonymous).
        Given that, ‘body intelligence’ does sound like โ€˜body-consciousnessโ€™ ๐Ÿ™‚
        Take take care you two _()_
        โค Jas

  4. OK well here’s my limited understanding…
    * Mind is defined as that which is clarity and cognizes. ie, it’s clear like space, and functions to know objects. It’s its job to conceptualise. (To an extreme, normally.)
    * Desirous attachment is that awful grasping mind that attaches itself to contaminated objects, and does not want to let go. Like you say, it has different aspects.
    * As for ‘will’? As in what motivates us? I think yes, we are motivated by desire, and not always the delusion described above (necessarily a negative mind). When our minds delight in virtue, the effects are truly beautiful.

    • Thank you Jas Baku for your interesting comment. I will let it trickle down. In the mean time my mind came up with an objection ๐Ÿ™‚ a positive one.
      … does a want (a desire to eat) to eat chocolate come from the mind?
      What kind of mind is that. Is that a subconscious mind? Isn’t this mind very close to the body being hooked on things. Is this still mind? This lower instinct does not conceptualize, but it still provokes desire and acts of will.
      I struggle with this. I think I will read a couple of theories of mind, and try to discern my truth out of it. That might be fun ๐Ÿ™‚ next I will share what I find and what i don’t understand.

  5. You asked some good questions there Bert – so here’e my Buddhist take on things: The intention to meditate is initiated in the mind, desire itself being a type of mind. It can’t come from anywhere else, and it’s that mind wishing to meditate that keeps the concentration required in place.
    While meditations such as breathing practice do still the mind, many others such as generating compassion, function to stimulate that particular mind.
    Is that helpful? Or am I just some would-be yogini blethering on? :~)

    • it’s helpful, …
      although desire is not always desire. There is craving too and want, and envy is also part of the desire kingdom.

      I am interested in the Buddhist theory of mind, to check whether what I experience can be conceptualized at all.

      What is ‘will’? always initiated by something … and that something is often a desire, a want, a craving, an envy, a greed, an addiction.
      So will is one of the deepest functions of mind, although perhaps, it has as many levels as mind itself … ?

      Thank you very much for your contribution.

  6. I think the answer is: both.
    Desire both begins in the mind and can be brought about by desire.
    My opinion is that good meditation is not so much where you are but how you think. I have had some great quiet moments when sitting in a crowd and, as you said, poor moments when in the “perfect” place.
    Scott

    • … there is something about thinking, a state of mind, that is incompatible with meditation. When in turmoil, you cannot meditate. But willing to meditate can bring down the turmoil to such a level that meditation becomes possible.
      I have been able to meditate very often in a crowded subway or train. But never in front of the tv ๐Ÿ™‚ . It’s about being alone with your self, regardless of what is around you.

  7. My own experience has matched the saying, which you implied above: We do meditation, until meditation begins to meditate us.
    Then it is a happening, not a doing.

  8. Very cool. Since I’ve had a difficult year, I sometimes think “I wish I could disappear somewhere for a while and get my head together.” It’s a good reminder that going back to my life and paying attention to what I’m doing is probably just as good an option.

    • Thank you very much for this nomination. I’m flattered by any award I am presented with. Then I face the wall of obligations that I don’t want to fulfill since my ego wants to be free ๐Ÿ™‚ But I really feel grateful for this nomination, even more grateful for a steady stream of comments, people who press like buttons, or just read whatever my crazy head finds interesting enough to write down and present you with. – namaste

  9. Very good! I suspect that this post stems from experience and from what I term “observation of self.”
    The more the motive for meditation stems from selfishness or experimentation etc. (i.e. frivolous) the more difficult it will get.

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