Taking Your Mind to the Gym


Creativity, Spirituality, & Making a Buck


Lesson Info

Taking Your Mind to the Gym

The first segment was an overview of the whole of the interface of these three topics on dh then we're going to look at each one individually and then begin to explore how they fit together how they work together so this pieces thie is the meditation discussion that we're going to have and practice so um this is, uh a group of people attempting to meditate hopefully I'm going to get your posture looking better than they do in that picture but it's sweet it's sort of like united colors of benetton meditating that's what I take that um taking your mind to the gym when we closed when j kale asked me to talk about this and um you know, I've been teaching meditation for thirty five years and kind of it's a little bit like from every angle of like trying to figure out how to communicate to somebody what for me has been a very, very powerful and and uh stabilizing and clarifying practice in my life. So um my teacher was a man named choke him trunk or invece who was a very famous tibetan teach...

er one of the earlier uh teachers to bring buddhism to the west in the late sixties and early seventies um and founder of europa university in boulder, colorado and all the shambala centers worldwide and his job was to translate you know, this wonderful tradition from very ancient context in which he was born and raised, which was tibet, and smack into the middle it's, like parachuting them down into the middle of the modern world. And he had a lot of acuity in terms of being able to translate literally. The translation job at that point was going from tibetan and sanskrit into english. So we had a coup of translators that working about ten, people working for about ten years, to make these teachings available. So we could speak about them in our own language. But beyond that there's the idea of them taking those ideas, and bring them forward even another notch from literal translation, how does this fit in, you know, with our world and our time, and in doing that, you know, all of us who were sort of carrying forward that legacy, the idea is, how could you find something that somebody get and hook hook it up so that this doesn't become an esoteric, strange, weird thing to do about a kind of ordinary and very healthy, good thing to do so the idea of thing you want to the gym, which, as far as I know, I think I came up with that, um, but, uh, in the gym is something that I almost can remember before we had jim's on every block in every urban setting right? There wasn't a time we didn't I don't think that was that I didn't catch on but somebody said oh that's a good idea let's let's have set up a forum ah place where people can train their bodies especially in urban settings you know we're not nobody gets any exercise otherwise so everybody buys that idea you know it's like how many of you go to the gym in our group here? Uh one of you in some form of physical training what do you have running running? Okay, that's I'm including that as you have anything you do here walking's good. Okay, I do like push ups pull ups, that's everything kind of on my own on your own. So this idea and you look like you and everybody here looks like you're in pretty good shape. You know, it's obviously you're paying attention to the shape of your body of the health of your body, right? It's sort of it's literally a no brainer because when people go to the gym sometimes they have their headset on and they're watching six different tv chance the same time their mind is not really engaged in the process so there's another kind of training which is mind body training like tighty and yoga and things like that which have caught on where you actually do have to pay attention to what you're doing and then there is pure mind training which is like the idea of meditation is really the focuses on training the mind so if we just take a simple look at how our life unfolds our state of mind is um maybe the most critical element of our whole situation because even if we have a very healthy strong body right you know you see people in fantastic shape but they're a mess you know and you might see somebody who is not in great shape or whatever but they're very happy so the idea of going one step down one step lower into the fundamental quality of being and looking at how our mind works and what causes us you know experience, wellbeing and what causes us to experience the pain and suffering you know and cultivating the things that bring us wellbeing and sort of shifting away from habits that bring us confusion and suffering is the sort of level of mind training so the slogan is justus we can train the body to develop strength, flexibility and stamina uh we can also train the mind to develop clarity, focus and stability so these three things that clarity, focus and stability are said to be the fruit right you're looking at a tree what fruit is on that tree right so uh if you practice mindfulness meditation traditionally we say that you will develop clarity, strength of mind and also stability or sort of a little less being buffeted around by the highs and lows we're going we're going to look at those things but right off the bat that's our gym membership sales pitch right there okay write it if you go to the gym they say you want to get buff and have a six pack and a good wind power you know you you go to the gym but if we want to develop clarity, focus and stability than this meditation practice we're gonna learn this is said to be very effective and helping us to develop those qualities does that make sense? Well then why aren't we doing it? Uh we're getting do you have to get into that too, right? Um that comes a little later, so then we have some sort of basic ideas and I found these very helpful over the over the years core principles again, like what we were talking about with, uh with each of these areas one of the core principles unshakable doesn't matter if you win california and new york doesn't matter if it's a blizzard or or you know summer weather one of things that sometimes insane buddhism is son face put a moon face buddha we're not we're not waiting for the circumstances to a line and then we can have a perfect state of mind we're ready to adjust and adapt so that includes this idea of starting where you are um so basic uh another student of trump room which is a children very very great very popular buddhist teacher and uh I think she has a book don't you will call start where you are so that's a very core start where you are here's what happens a lot of us come to meditation we go you know what I really am looking for here is david nick turn mine two point oh, I got one point oh, and I just would like the upgrade could you just slip it in and what's in the upgrade? You know I'm calmer and more peaceful I'm happier you know, on dh so we approach meditations like I'm just going to swap discs you know? Can I do that and that's unfortunately I guess if we maybe in the future we can sell that I don't know but right now we don't have it for sale so we have to work with the mind we have and that's that's that's going to be the starting point for this kind of practice if you think about it's the friendliest thing you can ever do towards yourself, start where you are and even towards somebody else you know like if you have your children coming in for your your project, which I'm very excited about, by the way see uh you know, I wanna help you with that, okay? If you have the children coming you want them to start where they are except themselves as they are and so that's how we start with ourselves in this practice is there's a kind of um opening of of our heart towards our own situation and stop beating ourselves up and pushing and being aggressive about trying to get to a different state of mind right away so it says in meditation it's important to start exactly where you are with the mind that you have right now you can't trade your mind in for a newer model that's a big relief you see um it's also scary and kind of daunting in a way because it means um whatever we have whatever we brought to the cushion and now when we sit down that's what's going to be there and that's such a different approach than me selling you tranquility I'm not in the business of selling tranquilizers in the form of meditation okay you're a mass but this will make you calm you know you could take a tranquilizer if you want that and uh probably work better this is different this is you sit down and boom there you are just the way you are on duh with all your flaws all your beauty all your richness and we work from that ground so from that point of view again you remember in the first segment I said the ideas were dispelling notions like uh that could save you time and energy meditation is not repression at least in our tradition that we're presenting here the buddhist tradition there's no attempt to squish the confusion and mess that we have ah and put a layer on top of that of some kind of superficial calm and tranquility if I had again making a buck if I had a dollar for every time I've said that to people and they look at me they go like really you know and everybody wants to skip that step of just making friends with themselves the way they are so um I make this point with a heavy hand at this point we're here to have a open look at ourselves unbiased with genuine includes inquiry and curiosity about who we are uh how we feel how how our attention and awareness are working so that's a very very important point now this is me I'm from new york and kiss you didn't figure that out yet which you probably must have I did spend six years in california the certain point in my life so I'm also get it if you know what I'm saying in california thing it's a little mellower and everywhere else is a little different new york we just get right to the point you know that's that's the beauty of life in new york it's khun be a little bit uh intense that times so uh there's a joke so I'm asking again am I able to use words that we wouldn't go on network tv? I think you'll be okay only because it's you david okay and based upon your word choice before that you know I'm going I'm going I'm going to modulate this because that's another thing about new yorkers as we could just talk some stuff you know a guy pulls up a tourist drives into new york and pulls up in the car you know and I asked one of the people walking by says you know excuse me sir, can you tell me how to get to thirty six street and third avenue or should I just go screw myself there's a more powerful way of telling the story so that's a new york energy right? Let's get to it. What is it? What do you got what's going on and in meditation interestingly enough people like you look atyou each other here this is a very listen to what you said in terms of your entree to come into the workshop somebody was quoting kierkegaard. You know, this is kind of, uh, sort of intelligent, intelligent group of people and then somebody comes up and says here's how to meditate just kind of sits still just kind of close your eyes and I'll bring the bell in twenty minutes so there's no clarity there's no precision in the instruction yet you know that that would never fly you know, in any kind of other activity didn't you eleven somehow so you see people meditating I called I'm not going to let it go I called the hope and prayer school or the pignon a school of meditation and give you a bad they blindfold you spin you around it's over there somewhere the target but in the in our tradition is very clear a sense of how to how to go about it which doesn't mean that you won't then bring your own beautiful ornamentation to it but the technique is deliberately simple it's intentionally simple and direct because we've already got all the complications we need so the idea is that we're trying to cultivate simple awareness now that may seem like what's the big deal about that it's actually the most overlooked capacity that we have is just to simply be present and aware at awake uh and recognizing our own sort of natural resourcefulness, intelligence and wisdom on the spot that's called buddha you know in that tradition awake so we're not cultivate any kind of special state you see and uh um I've often said this to people, but when you're meditating you're not really trying to become a good meditator I mean that's that's that's like there's no olympics for meditation right went to our summer like persons like yeah, we're going to enter this guy and then they would just pick you up they pick up the cushion transport you to the thing and you know yeah bronze medal you know were meditating to become good people that's that's the pope point is something that's going to mix with our life hopefully in a positive way if it does if that fruit grows on that tree then it's gonna become a organic practice for us all right it's going to something we do um and that's just uh underlying thing I want to get across is this is an organic practice some people are not familiar with it but it's just a way of sort of tuning up uh your mind let's just keep it simple like you drive your car thousands and thousand of miles on the road time for a tune up you know, just to make sure everything's sinking up firing together so it sze just that basic how does it influence business and how does an influence creativity it's it's the backbone of the whole thing it's what's underlying you see somebody in their sort of simple presence that's what everything that you do is going to stem from so it's a very core kind of thing but it's not separate from it's not meant to create some kind of special skill or seven separate capacity other than the ability to live life with more wisdom and resourcefulness you have everybody you know at home and if you just have to download it if you're home and audience you have a handout is one of handouts that comes if you register for the course um simple instruction meditation taking your seat simple meditation structures for ordinary people so you can see you know, some people they want more exciting something more exciting than that. So that's a different workshop okay? Like how tio achieve enlightenment in a single weekend uh how to fly how tio transcends worldly existence we don't teach that, um we figured people are having enough trouble with their everyday life that you could use some tools on dh er this is kind of more from that that uh that notion so the instructions there are in three simple parts and if you have it, you don't have to look at it now because I'm gonna be walking you through it sitting you threw it on dh then you have that though everybody at home and us to review uh summarize so the three steps of doing this practice are basically related to the physical setup. How do you handle your body situation? How you said, um the second step is how you place your awareness your attention third step is recognizing the myriad thoughts and emotions that come up recognizing them for what they are and then returning the awareness to, um a simple kind of placement uh so what are we doing? Are we trying to get to some state where which were like in a particular state? No. What? Comin back? Coming back. Coming back, coming back, coming back, coming back again. Come back again. Come back now! Come back! Come back and it's in a sense, it's, that, uh, we have that much trust in our own nature if we don't trust ourselves in a fundamental way, this is going to very hard to do. But if we trust our own being that you could sit quietly and just be yourself and be opening awake that's kind of the ultimate expression of this particular kind of practice and, uh, we're really just cultivating that quality. So, um, the the idea is that our mind, you know, is habitually fragmented. You know, if you just look at your mind like a wind window on somebody's mind an average day it's kind of it looks like what we call monkey mind is the sort of popular translation into the west. Just if your mind is a monkey is just swimming, swinging from vine to vine from topic to topic. Uh, you know, it's quite it's like a little movie, right? And I have a few other phrases for it or time I called spaghetti mind because it's just like you know and my favorite but it's a little more literate but kirkuk guards in the room then james joyce could be here to would you say james joyce mind which for those of you who are not familiar with him is a writer there's no punctuation there's no capitals there's no paragraphs it's just discursive thought so um our mind when we sit down is gonna have that energy to it um and I'll say this now repeat it there's no problem with that we think that's a huge problem the only problem about it is we're a little bit off balance and distracted and we can work with that. So that's the idea here of howto howto develop what we call mindfulness what is mindful, mindful asses taking that attention and bringing it together in alignment with wherever you are with whatever you're doing so um if you're having a nice glass of water if you're cooking um if you're on the internet typing that's tricky um if you're playing tennis uh if you're having an argument with your own spouse, we could do it mindfully and that is, uh, a game changer interestingly enough, it's uh I would say of all the things we're going to be talking about these two days this's the jewel in the crown because if we bring mindful us into what we do and we cultivate that um it's we're synchronizing the sort of basic aspect so our existence which is our body and our mind so when those aaron sink everything you do is gonna have a lot more clarity and focus so this is just one practice but it's called in the original sanskrit calls shama tha meditation or um means really calmly abiding you know and then it has the connotation of settling the mind town like the monkey we give the monkey a little bit of a focus and arrest it uses the premise of one point in this one pointed concentration because normally our mind is jumping around sort of like from topic to topic and in this case too sort of um counter offset that tendency to be a d d no, we just pick one object of awareness so it could be anything that you could pick anything if you wanted to sew uh for example you could take that camera there does everybody look at the camera you know look at your screen at home if you at home uh look at your hand just actually look your hand everybody the back of your hand left right hand look at the this is mindfulness you're just simply paying attention to something you taking your awareness and putting into one area okay uh feel the feeling in your knee thing you're aware of any, uh listen to the sound in the room everybody close your eyes from it, and just listen to the sound in the room. Listen to the sound of your own breathing. This is a very natural part of the mind. You see it's. Not nothing extraordinary.

Class Description

The success of every small business owner, creative professional, manager, and employee hinges upon creativity — and the focus and clarity needed to unlock our full potential. In this course, renowned Buddhist teacher David Nichtern teaches how to sharpen your creative and professional skills and integrate them with mindfulness meditation to transform your relationship to both work and life.

David has spent 40 years integrating his Buddhist practice with a successful, acclaimed career in the creative and business sides of the music, film, and television industries. David shares the tools and strategies that have helped him succeed in business, thrive creatively, and live a rich and balanced life.

With David, learn how to cultivate stability and clarity from meditation practices, unleash your creativity, and form a grown-up relationship to money and your career. By the end of this course, you will understand how to support your professional and creative endeavors, define clear goals, and create a solid foundation for a balanced and thriving existence.