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Can someone explain this quote?

Discussion in 'Mind, Body & Spirit' started by CatB, Jul 26, 2011.

  1. CatB

    CatB Member

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    I am confused by this quote, as I was under the impression that meditation was going beyond the mind, getting outside your mind/head to your real self, which is not your mind and your thoughts. I would appreciate some of your impressions of what is meant by the quote below:

    "The mind is the root from which all things grow. If you can understand the mind, everything else is included. It's like the root of a tree. All a tree's fruit and flowers, branches and leaves depend on its root. If you nourish its root, a tree multiplies. If you cut its root, it dies. Those who understand the mind reach enlightenment with minimal effort. Those who don't understand the mind practice in vain. Everything good and bad comes from your own mind. To find something beyond the mind is impossible.

    - Bodhidharma, from The Zen Teachings of Bodhidharma, trans. by Red Pine. (1987) North Point Press, NY."

    I look forward to your replies.

    Much thanks,
    Cat
     
  2. Bryan555

    Bryan555 Member

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    Well, CatB, I think you've opened up a whole flood of "philosophizing", hereabouts. But it seems clear the "mind", in this text, refers to everything that's not physical.

    There may well be a "real self", as you say. But without a mind, some mental capacity, you have no tool with which to experience it. Not here on Earth anyway; not as a human being.

    The human mind can be trained to still itself absolutely, to become a clear pool, with a surface like a sheet of glass. The "Self" -- or anything within or beyond the imagination -- are all reflected there.

    That, I think, is the meaning of: "To find something beyond the mind is impossible."

    Others, inevitably, will have different interpretations.
     
    Last edited: Jul 26, 2011
  3. MetaCognition

    MetaCognition Member

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    I think Bryan nailed it on the head. No matter how much talk there is of a true self or something beyond the mind, all that exists (in our human perceptual forms, anything beyond that cannot be discussed in any coherent manner) comes from and is interpreted by the mind. No way around it, which is sometimes disappointing to people starting out with meditation and this way of life. That is, until they realize, that disappointment is just coming from the mind...and so is the desire to overcome and accept that disappointment.
     
  4. brozen

    brozen Member

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    This is my understanding of the quote.

    think of the mind as the root/base
    think of thought processes (personality/ego) as branches and stems
    think of the thoughts as the leaves and fruits

    The aim of meditation is to return to the root and let all the rest just be as it is.

    Although I don't really know how to interpret the cutting of the root leading to its death. Unless in this situation Death is stillness and Nourishment leads to clouded mind with distractions. This seems a little odd though.

    Just my opinion. Thanks for providing the quote, hope that gives you some more understanding.
     
  5. Hazelkay

    Hazelkay Member

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    whoops getting drawn in again!

    If 'mind' is regarded as a subset of the brain and/or body, then it has obvious limitations.

    If it is regarded as non-localised consciousness and the individual body/brain is merely a receiver and transmitter it is easier for me to understand the quote.

    If the receiver/transmitter is working optimally, well-maintained, with absolutely clear channels it will receive and transmit without distortion. If there are faults, then the individual expression of this 'mind' is not of the pure waves that are there to be received but some individual distortion.

    So if your own mind is in complete harmony with 'mind' they are the same.

    peace and joy:)
     
  6. CatB

    CatB Member

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    These are all great replies, thank you.

    so it appears that "escaping" the mind, if you will, is never an option, rather the opportunity to quiet and still the ever-active mind and having moments of dwelling in stillness is the only realistic "goal", as human beings?

    And if you are able to increase those moments of stillness, is that considered progress in your meditation practice?
     
  7. MetaCognition

    MetaCognition Member

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    The only progress you should be trying to look for is a general appreciation for every moment of your life, and an awareness that it is transient and fleeting.

    My suggestion to you and many others that come asking similar questions (as I did when I first started out) is to not look for things to cross off the list of “progress“ in terms of meditation. I know it is normal to want to feel like we are accomplishing something when we put energy, time, and effort into an activity, but only once you let go of trying to get something can you really progress from this process.

    As they say, “Before enlightenment; chop wood, carry water. After enlightenment; chop wood, carry water.” There is nothing to learn here, and that is exactly what you will learn :)
     
  8. Michael David

    Michael David Member

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    Eating a peanut butter and jelly sandwich along with a glass of cold milk is a lot different than eating each of those items in sequence one after the other.

    Progress in meditation for me is remembering more and more often that I am perceiving life as separate events and that I can shift to a more body/mind/spirit integration.

    While in the middle of any activity at times I can be at ease being aware of both the specific detail as well as the big picture. Aware of both the individual wave as well as the ocean. Along with this is a feeling of satisfied joy. At times when I am seeing only the wave or only the big picture the joy is not there. Meditation integrates the two and acts as a reminder that eventhough I may not be feeling it now I have experienced both together. By spending time in meditation the echo of experiencing both the wave and ocean together increases.

    Michael:)
     
  9. CatB

    CatB Member

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    This is an interesting reply, thank you. I think you are right - clearly, I am a beginner in this process, and i think that "newbies" tend to want to feel something or see something so that they can have something tangible fuel their continued commitment to daily sitting. I know this attitude or approach is more detrimental than anything. I try to come to each sitting with no expectations, to just be there and not resist or persist. Not easy, esp. as a beginner.

    Since you mention that you, too, as a beginner, experienced this mindset, what is it that helped you leave it behind and be more realistic about what this was all about?
     
  10. MetaCognition

    MetaCognition Member

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    I feel like it is inevitable to look for those results at the start, so the only thing I can say that helps clear up the process is repeated practice. Only through repetition can you see how your mind tries to cling to the idea of meditation as new form of expression and identification, rather than as a time to just let information and emotion flow through you and arise on their own.

    Once you stop trying to control meditation or wondering whether or not you are doing it right or wrong, if it is working or not working, etc, that is when it begins to really work. It was a circular process for me, where I had a few months of heavy meditation and extreme positivity due to my new found hobby. Then interest started to wane, I moved away and quickly fell into old patterns and destructive behaviors.

    When I returned this time, I could see the process in an entirely new way. I was no longer trying to get something, I am now just letting it flow through me (or as some would say here, recognizing that it always was flowing through me). The journey never ends, and that is the beauty of it all.
     
  11. CatB

    CatB Member

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    Do you sit for the same amount of time each day? Right now, I am doing 15 minutes, as I get used to this process. Sometimes, even that can feel like an eternity! Other times, it seems to fly by (possibly when I am most able to "still the waters" of my overactive brain!).

    Thanks again for all this insight - I am finding it helpful as well as encouraging - to know that I am not the only one who comes into this process expecting and hoping for me, while sometimes missing the point is not that at all!
     
  12. brozen

    brozen Member

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    I can say this applies to me right now. This can happen from day to day in small ways. But lately it has been more significant. It's as if I lost faith in meditation, and became skeptical that it never worked in the first place. That feeling was probably 2 hours ago, now after a bit of reading and a meditation it has all made sense again haha. A lesson to never fall for traps set by the mind.

    I am also glad to see that this is all a part of the process.

    Don't be too worried about how long. Another poster on this forum gave good advice once before "Just turn up".
    As long as you continue practice, you will start answering your own questions. (Not to deter you from asking questions on here) Just a little assurance.

    Peace, happy journeys
     
  13. Boris Badenov

    Boris Badenov Member

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    I adhere to the alchemical philosophy that Nature is the subconscious of the Creator and therein we live our lives. That is a concept that explains a lot to me yet is mysterious and infinite as well. Think of it, you and your mind living your existence within the subconscious of a greater being.
    Many times on this forum I see people ask how long should they sit to meditate. I've learned long ago that the answer to that question depends to an extent on which racial background you come from. For instance, my racial decent is Russian so for me I cannot sit very long. My meditations are short but intense. Insights and intuitions come to me very quickly. I've never seen this reply given here before so I thought I'd throw it out there.
     
  14. Bryan555

    Bryan555 Member

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    Hi CatB...

    The length of meditation seems an enigma: It mostly flies, but sometimes crawls. I have never understood why. I do 40 minutes, right after waking, and I'm often shocked when the tape stops. Can hardly believe it's over so soon, and sometimes have a very hard time "coming up" from deep meditation.

    Yet, at other times, quite the opposite. I'm absolutely sure there must be something wrong with the tape. It seems I've been "down" forever, yet the meditation just goes on endlessly.

    I am sure somebody in this forum has a good explantation; certainly not me. It has always puzzled me.
     
  15. CatB

    CatB Member

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    Good to hear, Bryan....I often feel the same way!

    May I ask, you refer to a tape in your reply. What type of tape are you using? Is it guided meditation?
     
  16. GilesC

    GilesC Member

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    I think this is just the variation in the mind letting go i.e. focusing on being in the practice of meditation against just Being in the meditative state. A bit like the old saying "a watched pot never boils". When you are truly in the meditative state, then time is non existent to the awareness, yet the mind is there in the background following it ready to bring you back when the time is up ;) and it's those meditations where you come out of it feeling as if you've hardly spent 40 minutes (or whatever) doing it. There are other times when we are more distracted to some extent and keep getting drawn back to the mind and it's timekeeping, and it's those times when we are more restless and not truly deep in the meditation, and feel like we've been meditating for ages.

    It happens to us all. :cool:

    Hugs

    Giles
     
  17. Karmoh

    Karmoh Member

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    It’s a phenomenon widespread throughout our day and life. Have you ever sat down with a hot drink picked up a book, the house is quiet, the circumstances are just right, you are immediately engrossed. What seems like a short while later the phone rings, you look up. And geez it’s been an hour, your drink is cold...:)

    A good Movie...
    Good Music...

    I’m often in a meditative (or sedative) state when I’m dragged around the Mall... The time just flies by.... :rolleyes:;)

    Time only matters to the egoic mind, if it wants to be somewhere else it will let you know or if it has a set of ideas it wants to run by you...Bit like a small child tugging your arm

    With our meditations we sometimes get it right, everything is aligned and we are in fast and long. Other times, that child is tugging at our arm. “Are we there yet?” “Why”

    Peace :)
     
    Last edited: Jul 29, 2011
  18. Bryan555

    Bryan555 Member

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    Cat B...

    Sorry I was vague about the tape. Was referring to a LifeFlow tape, not the guided meditations. LifeFlow tapes each run 40 minutes, which fits my meditation exactly.

    Not only are they wonderful in themselves, of course, but also a great timing device. I have to get ready for work after my meditation, so -- without the tape -- would need some kind of alarm. Quite an unpleasant way to end a meditation, I think.

    If you haven't already, you should try LifeFlow.
     
  19. GilesC

    GilesC Member

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    I think Cat B's confusion also revolves around your use of "tape" Bryan. It's a bit like my parents referring to CD's as "records" (and yes, I'm old enough myself to own a few vinyl records. You are of course referring to the Lifeflow CD's. ;)

    Hugs

    Giles
     
  20. Bryan555

    Bryan555 Member

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    Giles, I suppose you are right about that. But I don't actually know what to call them anymore. I don't use tapes or CD's. Thay are just downloads that sit in my computer...and respond to my command.

    What's the correct, modern, term for that? Assume there must be one. No idea, now that I think of it, why I called them "tapes". Should I have called them "downloads"? Sounds a bit awkward.
     

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