|Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche|
By meditation we mean something very basic and simple that is not tied to any one culture. We are talking about a very basic and simple act: sitting on the ground, assuming a good posture and developing a sense of our spot, our place on this earth. This is the means of re-discovering our basic goodness; the means to tune ourselves in to genuine reality, without expectation or preconception. We are talking about a completely different concept of meditation: unconditional meditation, without any object or idea in mind.
In the Shambhala tradition meditation is simply training our state of being so that our mind and body can be synchronized. Through the practice of meditation, we can learn to be without deception, to be fully genuine and alive.
Our life is an endless journey: the practice of meditation allows us to experience all the textures of the roadway, which is what the journey is all about. Through the practice of meditation, we begin to find that within ourselves there is no fundamental complaint about anything or anyone at all.
When you sit in the posture of meditation, you are sitting between heaven and earth. When you sit upright but relaxed in the posture of meditation, your heart is naked. Your entire being is exposed—to yourself, first of all, but to others as well. So, through the practice of sitting still and following your breath as it goes out and dissolves, you are connecting with your heart. By simply letting yourself be, as you are, you develop genuine sympathy towards yourself. You find that you are looking into outer space. What are you, who are you, where is your heart? If you really look, you won’t find anything tangible, solid.
In meditation you experience the precision of breath going in and out. You feel your breath: it is so good. You breathe out, breath dissolves: it is so sharp and good, it is so extraordinary that ordinary pre-occupations become superfluous. So meditation practice brings out the supernatural. You do not see ghosts or become telepathic, but your perceptions become super-natural, simply super-natural.
The sitting practice of meditation provides an ideal environment to develop renunciation. In meditation, as you work with your breath, you regard any thoughts that arise as just your thinking process. You don’t hold on to any thought and you don’t have to punish your thoughts or praise them. The thoughts that occur during sitting practice are regarded as natural events, but at the same time they don’t carry any credentials.
The basic definition of meditation is having a steady mind. In meditation when your thoughts go up, you don’t go up, and you don’t go down when your thoughts go down. Whether your thoughts are good or bad, exciting or boring, blissful or miserable, you let them be. You don’t accept some and reject others. You have a sense of greater space that encompasses any thought that may arise. In other words, in meditation you can experience a sense of existence, or being, that includes your thoughts but is not conditioned by your thoughts or limited by your thinking process. You experience your thoughts, you label them ‘thinking‘, and you come back to your breath, going out, expanding, and dissolving into space. It is very simple, but it is quite profound. You experience your world directly and you do not have to limit that experience. You can be completely open with nothing to defend and nothing to fear.
In other words, in meditation you can experience a sense of existence, or being, that includes your thoughts but is not conditioned by your thoughts or limited to your thinking process. You experience your thoughts, you label them ‘thinking‘ and you come back to your breath: going out, expanding and dissolving into space. It is very simple, but it is quite profound. You experience your world directly, and you do not have to limit that experience. You can be completely open, with nothing to defend and nothing to fear. In that way you are developing renunciation of personal territory and small-mindedness.
The principle of meditative awareness can be likened to an echo that is always present in the warrior’s world. The echo is experienced first in the practice of sitting meditation. When your thoughts wander, the echo of your awareness reminds you to label your thoughts and return to the breath, return to a sense of being. Similarly, when the warrior starts to lose track of his discipline, his awareness bounces back on him. From the echo of meditative awareness, you develop a sense of balance, which is a step toward taking command of your world.
The warrior’s awareness is based on the training of ultimate solidity—trusting in basic goodness. That does not mean that you have to be heavy or boring, but simply that you have a sense of being solidly rooted or established. You have trust and you have constant joyfulness; therefore you can’t be startled. You belong to the world of warriors. When little things happen, you come back to your saddle and your posture. The warrior is never amazed. You simply assume your seat in the saddle. The principle of meditative awareness gives you a good seat on this earth. When you take your seat on the earth properly, you do not need witnesses to confirm your validity. You are completely grounded in reality.
At this point, you begin to experience the fundamental notion of fearlessness. You are willing to be awake in whatever situation may present itself to you, and you feel that you can take command of your life altogether, because you are not on the side of either success or failure. Real fearlessness is the product of tenderness. It comes from letting the world tickle your heart, your raw and beautiful heart.
You are willing to open up, without resistance or shyness, and face the world. You are willing to share your heart with others. Tenderness contains an element of sadness. It is not the sadness of feeling sorry for yourself or of feeling deprived, but it is a natural situation of fullness. You feel so full and rich, as if you were about to shed tears. In order to be a good warrior, one has to feel this sad and tender heart. In order to overcome selfishness, it is necessary to be daring. In order to overcome our hesitation about giving up our privacy, and in order to commit ourselves to others’ welfare, some kind of leap is necessary.