Author Topic: Calm Abiding Meditation  (Read 2323 times)

Offline Ngawang Drolma

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Calm Abiding Meditation
« on: January 09, 2010, 12:22:19 pm »
When I first formally learned how to meditate, we were taught the Calm Abiding technique.  The instructor was a lay teacher under the watch of Gar Rinpoche.  I say this because people often ask about the teacher, not because I'm doing the silly celebrity-lama thing.

I noticed that by using the Four Thought That Turn the Mind to Dharma as springboard for this calm abiding, when I left the center I felt different.  This form of meditation made me feel that the thoughts upon which I had concentrated on and allowed to resonate had sifted into a deeper layer of my mind, below the superficial conscious noise.

I came to love this technique.  Has anyone had similar experience with either the Four Thoughts or Calm Abiding?

Kindly,
Laura

Offline heybai

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Re: Calm Abiding Meditation
« Reply #1 on: January 10, 2010, 08:28:29 am »
I have never had a formal teacher.  I've relied on books, recorded speech (podcasts, etc.), and some tips from a Buddhist friend here, but what I have been learning -- "mindfulness training" I suppose is what it is usually called -- sounds similar to the approach you describe.  In any case, I have found this helpful.  

Is that similar to the meditation techiques you describe, do you think?  My principle meta-teachers (i.e. recorded, and listened to from a great distance) have been Pema Chodrin and Robert Thurman.  Mark Epstein (a Buddhist and a psychiatrist) also teaches a meditation which focuses on random sounds (an idea he borrows from the composer John Cage).  I like his ideas.   I love Pema Chodrin's voice.  

But I don't know if these techiques are akin to the "Four Thoughts" you mention, but I have found them helpful.

Here is a URL with links to meditation instruction from Thurman, Epstein, and also Susan Salzberg:

http://www.tibethouse.org/Resources/Audio_Archives.html

Best regards to my new friend Laura.
heybai
« Last Edit: January 10, 2010, 08:30:41 am by heybai, Reason: Susan Salzberg -- spelling error »

Offline Ngawang Drolma

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Re: Calm Abiding Meditation
« Reply #2 on: January 10, 2010, 09:43:13 am »
Hi Heybai,

It sounds like you've found some excellent resources.  I'll check out the link you gave me.  The Four Thoughts are very specific:

   1. thinking about appreciating the precious human life,
   2. thinking about death and impermanence, that the opportunities that we have now with this precious existence are not going to last,
   3. thinking about the laws of karma and cause and effect, in other words how our behavior affects what we experience,
   4. thinking about the disadvantages of samsara, of uncontrollably recurring rebirth.
Berzin Archives

But I'll check the links you gave and see if there's a similarity with the Calm Abiding technique.  In any case it sounds like you've found methods that work for you, and that's wonderful  :)

Your friend,
Laura

 :namaste:

TMingyur

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Re: Calm Abiding Meditation
« Reply #3 on: January 10, 2010, 10:22:03 am »
I came to love this technique.  Has anyone had similar experience with either the Four Thoughts or Calm Abiding?
I find the 4 Thoughts generally helpful. Actually I have to recall them again and again. Also Mindfulness of Death as a "stand-alone" contemplation.

But considering the traditional preliminary contemplations for meditation sessions  there is quite a lot to contemplate :)

Kind regards

Offline Ngawang Drolma

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Re: Calm Abiding Meditation
« Reply #4 on: January 10, 2010, 10:31:06 am »
Ah yes.  Perhaps you noticed it's arisen for me again TMingyur, based on  my postings at another forum.

But these preliminaries I see as backbones.  To return to them at times I think is good, it's all tools in the toolbox.

Thanks for your input  :)

 :bow:


Offline heybai

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Re: Calm Abiding Meditation
« Reply #5 on: January 10, 2010, 09:27:12 pm »
The Four Thoughts are very specific:

   1. thinking about appreciating the precious human life,
   2. thinking about death and impermanence, that the opportunities that we have now with this precious existence are not going to last,
   3. thinking about the laws of karma and cause and effect, in other words how our behavior affects what we experience,
   4. thinking about the disadvantages of samsara, of uncontrollably recurring rebirth.

Ah, now I see.  In one or more of the Thurman links or in his podcasts he leads meditation(s) very much along these four steps.  I don't recall that is was labeled "The Four Thoughts" -- it may well have been, but I don't now remember -- but, yup, I am familiar with this method and I do agree it is most helpful.

I discovered #2 more or less on my own for some years prior to attempting structured Buddhist meditation techniques.  I used to have a hard time falling asleep, so I would imagine a peaceful moment -- years, ages, eons -- after my own death when all my troubles and concerns would be no more.  (This does not account for rebirth, and I wasn't thinking in Buddhist terms at the time, but even then the worries and anxieties of one's present life will come to an inevitable end, regardless of one's views on rebirth.)

Someone later told me I was practicing self-hypnosis, although I hadn't been thinking of it that way.  In any case, it worked like a charm.  Combined with regular meditation and counting of breaths, insomnia is rarely a problem any more. 


Offline santamonicacj

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Re: Calm Abiding Meditation
« Reply #6 on: January 10, 2010, 09:47:54 pm »
I discovered #2 more or less on my own for some years prior to attempting structured Buddhist meditation techniques.  I used to have a hard time falling asleep, so I would imagine a peaceful moment -- years, ages, eons -- after my own death when all my troubles and concerns would be no more.  (This does not account for rebirth, and I wasn't thinking in Buddhist terms at the time, but even then the worries and anxieties of one's present life will come to an inevitable end, regardless of one's views on rebirth.)

Someone later told me I was practicing self-hypnosis, although I hadn't been thinking of it that way.  In any case, it worked like a charm.  Combined with regular meditation and counting of breaths, insomnia is rarely a problem any more.  
Dharma, not self-hypnosis. Interesting that you stumbled on it before hearing formal teachings. The formal teachings do have the advantage of being refined by generations of meditators. The certainty of death, the uncertainty of the time of death, etc. gives a little more precision as to the point/perspective to be reached.

Only you're supposed to use it to wake up, not go to sleep! :buddha:
Warning: I'm enough of a fundamentalist Tibet style Buddhist to believe that for the last 1,000 years Tibet has produced a handful of enlightened masters in every generation. I do not ask that YOU believe it, but it will greatly simplify conversations if you understand that about me. Thanks.

Offline heybai

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Re: Calm Abiding Meditation
« Reply #7 on: January 10, 2010, 10:19:25 pm »
The person I referred to definitely said "self-hypnosis," not "Dharma," and this was in the context of dealing with insomnia, not cultivating mindfulness per se.   

Additionally, isn't it true that Buddhist meditation leads (or ought to lead) to a more peaceful mind?  Wouldn't this aid in calming anxieties, and cultivate awareness of the nature of thought, leading to a more restful sleep?  We do eventually go to sleep at some point following meditation. 

overmyhead

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Re: Calm Abiding Meditation
« Reply #8 on: January 12, 2010, 12:56:35 am »
I hear that all the cool Buddhists get by on just a couple hours of sleep.  Sleep after you're liberated!  oh wait ...

 


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