My Favourite Method For Stilling The Mind.
August 20, 2008
Whenever I sit down to meditate it always takes me some time to get my mind to a relatively peaceful state. If I don’t try and somehow still my mind first, I am always unsuccessful in my meditation. I used to use breathing meditation as a method to accomplish some stillness, however these days I have been using the absorption of the cessation of gross minds, in other words, going like stone or wood. Geshe-la taught this in America in 2006 and mentioned it this last summer festival 2008.
Geshe-la explained that with distraction we can’t accomplish anything: our listening, contemplating and meditating in general and training the mind in particular has no power. Until now many people have practised Dharma with distraction and so never gained familiarity.
Geshe-la then explained how to meditate on the absorption of the cessation of gross minds. Absorption here means a single-pointed subtle mind absorbed on an object. The object is the cessation of our gross mind. To manifest our subtle mind we need to temporarily cease our gross mind. To develop or cultivate a cessation of our gross mind we use a simple method as follows: first stop paying attention to any object, do not think about anything, remain like a stone or a piece of wood, like an inanimate object without perceiving or experiencing anything. Remain in this state until our gross mind of distraction ceases. Then when we have accomplished this cessation of gross minds we remain in this state and hold this cessation. When our gross mind of distraction ceases then our subtle mind holds it single pointedly.
Geshe-la concluded we should practice this meditation continually until we gain deep familiarity. When we have great familiarity with this then whenever distractions develop we can stop them by remembering this meditation.
For me this way of stilling my mind before focusing on an object of meditation has been successful. I find my mind relaxes much quicker. This appeals to me because I first imagine how a stone or a piece wood is inanimate and as such has no thoughts, conceptions or feelings. Nothing arises from it and nothing dissolves into it. I recall these characteristics and then try and take them on for myself, becoming that which does not perceive or feel anything. It really works for me and I enjoy the experience it creates in my mind. Probably not everyone’s cup of tea, but definitely works for me and is my favourite for now.