How many of us come to the practice of meditation through suffering.
How reading her first book about Buddhism, Celeste just knew that what she read, was true. Reading that it is normal for life to be difficult, but also that there is a way out or through that suffering, awakened a deep aspiration in her to practice mindfulness.
We talk about the practice of long silent retreats, whether they are about removing ourselves from reality, or about actually coming closer to reality.
How on retreat we remove ourselves from our habitual patterns, and can see things more as they really are
How we can learn to rest in our own beingness when we spend time in silent retreat.
In retreat we learn to be with everything, also the unpleasant, with kindness.
The mind and heart transform when we spend time in silence and in retreat. We can then come back to our daily day life and engage in it with more wisdom
How Insight arises in our own direct experience when we meditate.
Classically these insights are described as liberating, and they arise when we practice mindfulness and get very intimate with our direct experience, with reality.
The arising of insight is universal if we learn to practice mindfulness
Classically there are three main insights in mindfulness: the insight of impermanence. The insight of seeing that suffering is part of any human life, and seeing that there is no inherent self.
How there is a great difference between knowing something intellectually and knowing it from your own deep experience, knowing it in your bones.
And how seeing the inherent unease of being human, can open your heart in deep compassion towards all living beings
How it is key to know the causes of suffering, and the causes of true lasting happiness.
Mindfulness encourages us to know all experiences, both the vast spacious mind-states as well as the contracted suffering states, and this is where we can become curious about the causes and conditions that cause one or the other.
How humility is so key in our practice
We talk about renunciation!!! Not perhaps the most sexy and popular practice in our culture
What renunciation really means, is a letting go of what binds us to our suffering
Renunciating our craving, as craving and grasping will ultimately lead to unease
Renunciation is about renunciating some of our unskillful habits and patterns
How the reactive mind is a rollercoaster, and learning to just sit with, and be with all our experiences without needing to fix every unsatisfactory experience, leads to a greater peace of mind in all circumstances.
To really know our unskillful habits, and working with that edge with mindfulness and compassion.
How we need to create space for creativity to arise, and that often means that we need some solitude
The importance of solitude also for our relationships
How we so often long for connection and for deep relationships, but are not capable because we are too distracted and scattered.
The quality of our awareness is what gives us that sense of deep intimacy with the world and belonging to life
The difference between aloneness and solitude
How feeling deeply connected gives us this feeling of relatedness to life and ultimately deep belonging and the opposite of alienation.
How coming close to the earth by practicing mindfulness, feels like a homecoming, that visceral feeling of an exchange with life.
How life is always teaching us if we are available for it.