Key Points Of Meditation, part 1

By Tergar Meditation Community • 3 min read

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The go-getter’s habit

In a world where “proactive” is a compliment, being goal-oriented is seen as a virtue. So it’s normal for a meditator to fall into the habit of setting practice goals: meditating every day for the rest of your life, for instance, or attaining a non-conceptual state of mind that’s peaceful, blissful, and clear. And having earnest goals like this leads naturally to wondering, “When will I achieve enlightenment?” Or, “At what point will I finally arrive at a peaceful state? How many hours of practice will that take?”

meditation habit

Being vs. Doing

However, this habit hinges on a fundamental misunderstanding. In meditation, the point is not to look toward an imagined future; it is to be right here, right now, with a mind that’s in the present moment. So, while there’s no reason to judge yourself for having goals, let them go. Don’t try to achieve a special state of mind like joy, clarity, or peace. Mental situations like those are referred to as meditation experiences — and like all experiences, they come and go, arising and dissolving, no more substantial than clouds in the sky. What doesn’t go away is realization, which is a learning process. Realization develops slowly over time without diminishing.

An open-door policy

Needless to say, letting go of your goals is not the same as giving up. Giving up is saying, “Nope, I can’t do it. There’s no hope for me. This is the end. Over and out.” In meditation, you don’t give up, you let go. Letting go means just being yourself, following the natural flow: whatever arises in your mind, you’re just being with it. Your awareness is like a house, and all the meditation experiences are like guests. Whether gracious and pleasant, or ill-tempered and obnoxious, whether ugly or beautiful, short or tall  — you maintain an open-door policy, letting all the guests come in, and letting them all leave again. This is what it means to just be. And being is much more important than achieving any particular goal.

“Confusion, I was taught, is the beginning of understanding.”

– Mingyur Rinpoche –

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About the Author

By Yongey Mingyur Rinpoche

In his approach to teaching meditation, Mingyur Rinpoche integrates traditional Buddhist practice and philosophy with the current scientific understanding of the mind and mental health – making the practice of meditation relevant and accessible to students around the world. Mingyur Rinpoche is the author of the best-selling book The Joy of Living: Unlocking the Secret and Science of Happiness, as well as Joyful Wisdom: Embracing Change and Finding Freedom, In Love with the World: A Monk’s Journey Through the Bardos of Living and Dying, and many others.

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