Introduction - Why Meditate?
This is the course meditation for everyday life with david nick turn david eyes actually a wonderful host he's bean touring the world doing lectures and giving talks on meditation and spirituality he's a featured writer for the huffington post and has been writing articles for them but surprisingly perhaps he's also an extremely accomplished musician he's a producer he's a guitarist he's on the fourth time I believe it is emmy winner two time grammy nominee I'm going to read off the list of credits that the people he's worked with is it's quite astonishing jerry garcia stevie wonder paul simon lana del rey krishna does some great names and of course we all know him for that writing the maria muldaur classic hit from the nineteen seventies midnight of the isis it really is a great pleasure for me to welcome to today's creative life course david victor good morning david on holiday because there are a number of different come shambala but this buddhist lineage that you're involved in I'm...
going to leave it to you to say that because I'm going to stumble over them if I try good okay well cover all that you know as we go and uh hopefully get to know each other and people out in virtual reality land saying hi to all of you so um we have three fairly dense days off learning and practicing together and hopefully the folks that are in the live room here with us, or actually physically embodied and present will be able to work with you and breaking down the four walls and heading out into cyberspace. I look forward to making contact with all of you out there and see if we can't communicate a little bit a bit about meditation and what it might have to offer for you and sort of the background of it and how to go about it if you you become interest, I'm doing that, so I thought I'd just start with a sort of grounded level of what you're going to need to participate in the course on dh the folks here in the studio have have a kind of set up that you've seen already s so if you're at home, what you're going to want tohave is one, you know, some set up where you're going to be able to do some sitting meditation with us, which could be cushions in the form of ah, flat cushion on the ceded cushion like ham in here, if you don't have that, just take a pillow or something off the couch, if you're comfortable sitting cross legged on the floor and we will be jumping right into that, so we'll be actually doing that practice starting in the second segment, so you're going to need that if you are not comfortable sitting that way on the floor on a cushion is completely legit to sit on the chair some people worry oh I'm not I can't possibly be doing it right if I'm sitting on a chair but there's actually statues of the future buddha my trail buddha who's sitting on a chair portrayed a sitting on a chair so I always say that to people you khun you can say I'm doing it the right way here s oh sitting on a chair is fine I'll be talking more about the posture as we go along and I think also you might wantto take notes so that you can keep track of things that are important to you in terms of what we talked about so you might need a notebook or a pad or your you know if your digital and you want to use your laptop that's fine uh so just make sure you have those few things available otherwise um you also need your body and your mind so hopefully you brought those with you because the body we have to bring sometimes the mind we left behind something at the last gig you know? So so we'll be you know, really talking a lot about working with ourselves in a very grounded, very basic way just with our fundamental gear you know, which is our body and our mind that's what the practices it's sort of down to very basic the level of understanding ourselves and working with with ourselves in that way so we will be meditating over the course but, you know, uh, nothing too strenuous. S o so, you know, we doing short periods of meditation, so if you're at home and you're watching online and or if you tune in in the middle and all of a sudden you think your screen has frozen, you know, you just see people sitting still, we will have, like, screen savers, and it will indicate that we're sitting for, you know, you know, for five minutes at a time, most of time, I'll be doing a guided meditation so you'll be able to track it, but if you do see us just sitting still will be resuming pretty soon they're after and you'll be that'll be indicated online, so, um, and we will be getting into that, um, in the second segment, um, in this first segment, I thought it be good tio like, like j k o said, you know, not much, many of you may not have much experience or exposure to the buddhist tradition. There's quite a wide spectrum, I would say when I started in nineteen, seventy was pretty minimal, but of course, notions like mindfulness and, you know, people practicing yoga and things have become quite uh abundant these days so it's probably less scarce a notion but just to talk a little bit in the beginning about, you know, the whole framework of why would you even want to consider taking some of your precious of how people life and spend it in this way? And so from one point of view you could look at your life is a form of currency you know, you have certain amount of time uh, a certain amount of energy, right that's what we have then we have our circumstances which vary from person to person, but within that we all have a certain amount of time and energy, how we're going to spend that. So I wanted to talk about meditation from the point of view of how it fits, how it sits into the rest of life and what's the value of it to our full existence, not as some esoteric activity, you know that you go off and meditate and somehow it's completely separate and distinct from your work as a lawyer, you know, your family life as people have talked about or your own personal sense of well being, you know, so um the analogy I wanted to start having a look at is the notion of training, you know, which is kind of across the board applies to a lot of different things people train to become good at something right. So and for whatever reason the body training is very popular in this country in the united states that we living so people don't have much of a time. Uh, well, why should I bother training my body? You know, getting in shape and pretty much most of us in january has a big bump in the curve of sales of gym memberships and things like that people go, you know, I want to get in shape, so of course we have some idea of working with our body in a disciplined way. Um but ironically, if you talk about training the mind um it gets kind of vague right there on uh uh yet arguably, I would argue, and I think my teachers would argue the mind is a very potent component of our of our daily life. So even even though somewhat invisible intangible, um if for example, you think of any physical activity like uh um basketball player running down the court, obviously you have to be in shape, but, you know, all of them are equally in shape, but who are the great players of the ones who are kind of using the mind in a very sharp and clear way, which is something you said some kind of clarity and sharpness, though the meditation practice is a form of discipline it's not hocus pocus it's not woo it's not pie in the sky it's howto work with the mind the everyday mind that we have a practical mind the mind that's typing on your computer right now uh that their mind that's going to get up and go to prepare some food and choose what you eat the mind that's shopping the mind that is uh um getting a new pair of glasses the mind that's saying you need to go to the doctor to get your body taking care of the mind that's telling you it's january and it's time to go to the gym that's the mind so the idea of training that minds so that its inherent sharpness and clarity and wisdom and also compassion can come through it's like cleaning up something so that the natural luster can come through. So in the buddhist tradition we look at qualities like wisdom and compassion is being natural to people native intrinsic you know and all we're doing is kind of polishing, you know? So we believe that people are basically good fundamentally good and, uh you look around it's hard to argue with that really if I'm just looking around this room right now you know and um so it's not so much a question of punishing ourselves or taking on some kind of uh you know, aesthetic discipline so you were bad so you khun beat yourself up more and feel better this is the ground of this practices actually being very friendly towards oneself very open developing kind of a warmth and compassion and the same time a certain level of precision about uh working with the, uh, quality of how our mind operates you know so it's very simple in a way and uh we're going to be um looking at this from a number of different angles and out there in in in cyberspace uh I'm just kind of trying to feel you all out there you know um we're learning a new way to experience people in this high tech age that we're in which is slightly disembodied you know but not completely because you can see me you can hear me you can't touch me from up there and you can't really feel people in a certain way certain depth of dimensions so everything we talked about I would say in addition to that at certain point if you want to go further you might want to gather with some human beings in a physical reality and meditate together and find teachers who are actually embodied so this is a great way to initiate a conversation to get a lot of information across and from my point of view I'm going try to include our cyber audience as if you were literally here um so you'll be having a chance to write in with your questions and comments and well well tune in that way so I would like you to think that the idea that you're physically here and you actually participating in this workshop in that way and we'll be sitting together would be talking about these things together and I'd like to invite you to participate is fully issue you would like a cz you're comfortable the a c j ko said I'm coming here from a certain training myself you know, that was, uh that I underwent and it's very unusual in a way the time that we're living in because I got to study with tibetan buddhist meditation masters without ever leaving the united states so that was my quirky karma, if you will and in nineteen seventy I was, um at the berklee college of music in boston, massachusetts and setting a little bit of yoga on the side and I happened to meet, uh, children trump remember who? My teacher and it was an accident just like this is an accident that I have no idea how I end up being here with you. All right? Is this sort of a lot of things in our life just kind of come together if you can relax in a certain way it uh you'll realize you're in the right place at the right time, so um my teacher was a very unusual um teacher in that he was ah sort of completely trained in tibet under a very rigorous system of training meditators that's very ancient you know his his lineage goes back uh twelve hundred years you know you can track all the teachers who okay so there's a tremendous emphasis on kind of direct personal communication from teacher to student and for that process to be continuous that's called lineage it's kind of different than new age in the sense that it's old age it's very ancient and there's been a lot of testing a lot of road tests going on in terms of people doing this practice my humble opinion is that the people we're no different than they are now we could romanticize it and say oh well those were the good old days and all that but I think people are basically dealing with the same issues as we are now which is what you all said when you started family connecting with your work you know feeling like you could get more balance somebody said that it was that you said that you said you have more balance and you know um these air just ongoing human issues that people are looking to solve how to live how to be so this tradition has a lot to say about that and the irony of it was it was very well established obviously in tibetan culture uh not very well established here in nineteen seventy you couldn't really even find a place to talk about this kind of practice but I ran into trumper interchange on dh started studying with him and it was very, very energizing and kind of illuminating and fun I think that's something people don't get is that actually there's a kind of a humorous side to this whole thing that maybe we take ourselves way too seriously on a certain level that can be highlighted by this kind of practice um and at the same time personally I was I had two tracks going on which was I was sort of touring all over the world playing music and studying music and you know, uh writing songs and doing film scores in l a and stuff like that and going back and forth between studying with my teacher and everyday life and at a certain point he uh sort of breast a series of teachings ethical shambala teachings which was his personal inspiration which has had a really really mix uh these kind of practices with the modern times and the life that we have now so I would say even that's a that's a specialty of are particularly edge is expressing ourselves in this way as opposed to going off to some cave or some forest somewhere on becoming kind of matting in along you know, matted hair and kind of your parents wonder what the hell happened to you you know you know so we'd like to include our parents actually andi are children and uh that's the particular tradition that I represent and then his son he died in nineteen eighty seven um demonstrating the truth of impermanence even though we don't liketo sometimes I understand that completely and then his son sack can the palm room but uh took over this particular lineage which is called kabbalah buddhism and he's a wonderful teacher and he's fifty now but which is amazing but he looks like he's thirty and he runs marathons and he plays golf and he's a very worldly person family person um and also highly trained uh uh buddhist teacher so I'll be talking about him a little bit because there's an interface there with the physical training he's very he's uh he's got a book out called running with the mind of meditation and it's about running as a practice. So we're going to be looking at all kinds of ways to take our regular activity and see if we can, uh include that as part of our mindfulness and awareness practice. So even even right now is people are doing their work and, uh it's that kind of a sense of being present fully and actually enjoying it that's a very serious piece of the puzzle here really appreciating and enjoying our life in a very full way so that's kind of ah, a little bit of the drift off who I am and what we're going to be talking about um but I'm interested who are you? You know so we did a brief you know look at the folks in the audience in the life of a studio audience and I think it be interesting to do the same you know, if we can I'd like to invite you in virtual how I should refer to our uh online audience online audience okay, you know, I like to think you is much closer than that but um invite our online audience to chip in and just maybe say a few words keep keep it concise about who you are, what your interest is so I can sort of attenuate my presentation to actually meet what you're looking for get out of this um and uh I also would like to ask you the question how are you and we were talking about this the other day I started asking people how are you? And I started noticing that nobody answers that question correctly because they tell me how they were they sum up their existence for the last seven months I'm going to ask you how you are right now and how you feel okay and uh very briefly no big dramas but you could you could just touch in on your life as it exists right now, which is a lot of what we're going to be doing and just tell us a little bit about yourself so that'll take a minute right we've already got a reply I'm going eleven welcome which he is saying they feel angry and they're in need of coming down wow so that's a really far status perhaps yeah, exactly perhaps trips to the moon but I'm sure we'll be getting many more responses in see there's something so vivid about that and so true and so real and you know, part of our week weekend or three day program together is to try to get at that quality of our own existence not make up some fairy tale and you know, kind of whitewash our existence but really get at the meat and bones of it what's that person's name that was magical witchy which he yeah that's our screen name yeah, of course yeah cesar in new I think it is apologies if I haven't got that quite right now cesar is calling from mexico hey says he's an aspiring buddhist from the tri ratner community does that mean something to you? Yeah. Okay any saying greetings back to you and we'll talk more so asking I'll say directly to you um police feel free to chip in as we go along and compare this and, you know, update your files with us ok on meditation we do have ah general theme about developing a meditation practice and also understanding the way to remain motivated you continue the practice so that's some of what's coming through I'll let willow answer those that's a very common thread off once having the idea that maybe this is a good thing how do you get your butt to the cushion and keep working at it so that that's a great one what else we got like apologies again if I haven't quite got that right sikander but saying they're a twenty one year old student and they want to be at peace with their circumstances andi caretaker I know it says judging us in japan welcome caretaker just after calmness and to be at peace with myself that seems to be the theme that's developing from our online community ohio goes I'm us so um depending what time it is there I was going to say good morning when we started because that's what it is in san francisco but some somewhat usedto having students from all over the world um good morning good afternoon good evening to you where ofyour um so these are all of course you have a few more. Maybe we just get a little bit more flavor to stella. Joe is saying I'm a stay at home dad and I've just finished cleaning the house I'm looking now to get calmness from anxiety and depression mmm wei have l b is a lifelong educator needing calming strategies um on march a month for seventeen is saying they're lost without some direction so that seems to be definitely theme developing here, dave yeah, you know, one of the things we decided to talk head on about in this workshop, of course um in buddhism there many ways to talk about practice and the buddha himself was said to be very skillful in terms of dealing with different people and one of the ways they said it is he has eighty four thousand skilful means or different ways of talking to different people, so but one of the themes that seems to really we strongly present in this day and age, it's stress and anxiety that seems a lot of people and depression, I think I actually could add that in there a lot of people are feeling overwhelmed by their own lives at this point, so we're going to address that we're gonna look at that and we do have actually some people are actually sharing with us some quite challenging issues great to breathe the same ty david, I'm a sham bal ian, but I'm sick with a cold and I've just been furloughed from my job on we had another contributors said they've also just lost their job of age years on rather tragically, richard of austen's saying, I'm I'm fighting, I'm facing a fight against cancer so people are having some very serious issues we appreciate you sharing them with us and so open and honest and uh I mean that's um well, first of all best of luck with your your battle there but I think the message is that each one of us has some kind of battle front that we're the shambala tradition is called a warrior tradition it's sort of the idea of arousing some kind of fundamental confidence and resort resourcefulness to face whatever challenges you're facing and you know, so this is in distinction to just the idea of that meditation is gonna be a kind of sugar plum fairy kind of situation and suddenly magically we're going to feel sparkly and good life life is much more penetrating than that. So hopefully some of these methods that we learned some of these teachings that we talk about our ammunition you can take right to the battlefront with you on dh in terms of living living in in the challenge this week saying so I think that's a good ah good bit and thank you all for writing it and I hope I really do encourage you as we go to uh please feel free to you know, keep rolling your comments and we have these wonderful hosts here her great moderators and will help me keep track of what you're all going through out there so um I want to just keep going with getting us organized in terms ofthe um what we're going to be talking about and I'm hoping that we have some very practical methods by the end of the three days where you feel I call it packing a lunch box and we're gonna be spending his three days together but if that's just a blip on the radar screen, then everybody just goes back it's almost like you dreamed the whole thing never happened really? So when we passed the lunchbox it's it's things to do and things to hold on to that you can take with you into your life that's that's my aspiration for for having this workshop so, um we're going to start now sort of taking a look at what the core off our workshop will be, which is uh how do we go about understanding what meditation is and how it, how it works and how it fits into daily life? So first of all, uh, in our tradition, I just want to say there's a sort of emphasis placed on before you start that you have clarity of some clear understanding of what the rules are, what game you're playing, how how to go about it and that's called a view so this this doesn't just apply to meditation is really a good it's kind of a threefold way of understanding any process and it's called basically the view and then the practice and then the fruition or the result view practice result so this morning is going to be this first segment mostly clarifying the view and then later on this morning we're going to actually get into the practice which is where you kind of put on your sweats, shoot sweatsuit and shorts and get out there actually running or lifting weights um and then we'll be hopefully talking about what the payload is you know what? Why would you for your activity and undertake this others stream of activity and how you get stick with it? So um that's just a sort of a general idea like, for example, if if we took an activity like tennis, you know simple before you start hitting the ball if you study with a good coach, they're going to show you howto hold the racket they're going explain where on the, uh, record hit the ball, how high to throw it up when you're serving there's a sense of like the person sitting down walking you through it that's that's what we call the view what we say is if that's clear the beginning, your practice is going to be very, uh effective, but if for example nobody gave you that and you're holding the tennis racket in the middle on maybe or maybe even worse, holding it by the the paddle side and trying to hit it with a stick so that's called not having a clear view right? If you're holding a tennis racket this way and trying to hit the ball with the stick that means you never nobody explained to you properly in the first place so I find in travelling around many people didn't really get you know, sort of a clear understanding of what meditation is and how to go about it and so they're kind of it's like a pinata approach to teaching you know, it's just they spend they blindfold you spin you around and say hi to hit the target so our approach is to get some very clear idea about what we're working with and how to go about it then the second stage is you've got to do it and this is like any coach is going to tell you this about anything, right? You're a musician, right? You know, if you didn't play those scales you could have you know all the slim ski books you want all the theory you want and when it's time to play, you're not goingto show up so practice is very important uh next after having a few um practice is uh where the hell thing becomes much more personal it's your actually mixing your personal experience with that outlook you know, with the with the approach practice is rough and gritty practices soulful practices, deep practices personal you know you could be uh you know, sitting on your meditation cushion you know and you look over the person next to you it's like you think wow, they really got it right but you have no idea you know practice is just about how it's going for oneself it's very, very personal for intimate in this practice you could say we become intimate with ourselves you know, that's a very that's a very interesting idea we know about a lot of written about intimacy with others but what about intimacy with oneself? How well doing know ourselves how familiar are we with the ground of our own existence? You know, so um if the view is clear and then you do practice supposedly then there's some idea of some result happening at that point if the view's unclear and you practice hard maybe no result if the view is very clear and you don't practise maybe no result so that's what we're putting together, you know, and that's kind of like anything see, I think in saying this there's nobody here was accomplished anything in their life without without these two things. So um talking a little bit more about some basics there of what the view is, I want to just cover a couple of kind of bullet items one is we are dealing with our mind and body as they currently exist not some fantasy version of that so we're working with the mind that we have already and so many people over the years who just said if only I could just trade this sucker in get you know whatever you imagine to be a better state of mind people out in uh online audience have already expressed that I feel this way but I'd rather be feeling this way so there's a certain amount of ah frustration there you know that's sort of the ground of the whole thing but in a compassionate way the approach here is actually going to start with ourselves as we are and you know there's a lot of ways of saying that start where you are start as you are and the essential point there is that rather than rejecting ourselves we're making friends with ourselves in a very fundamental way uh I think most of it no most of us know what it means to make friends with somebody else but it may be a little bigger reach to make friends with ourselves at times so we actually can be kinder and more compassionate sometimes to others than to ourselves so this is built into the very fabric of the whole thing making friends with ourselves um in that light as far as I'm concerned there are many different meditative traditions I just want to kind of go on record saying representing one of those that's even within the buddhist rum then you pull the lens out and there's many other spiritually traditions, and we're not saying any of those are better than any others, or even even from the point of view, comparing that that is completely a matter of personal choice and direction. But within this tradition, we're not so much interested in kind of achieving altered states of consciousness. That's actually considered a kind of a trap. We're very much the buddha himself was seen touching the ground it's called earth witness mood or if you see a buddha, they often of the right hand touching the ground, which means we're really dealing with grounded reality by our practice, as my teacher trunk remove chains to say, is expressing our desire to be realistic and to work with things as they actually are. So, uh, it's very pithy, very earthy in that way. And we're going to be talking to kitchen sink level in some zen monasteries in japan, the highest llamas they cook in the kitchen, you can you find you? Where is it? Where is the big cheese and he's the head cook? You know? So we're talking about that kind of real willingness to connect with with the basic reality that we have rather trying to skip over it into some kind of higher state, um that includes, by the way, everything that you'll talked about so think about instead of excluding and thinking I'm doing this practice now it just kind of exclude those things inclusive of having cancer inclusive of working with the family situation that's extremely challenge inclusive of having just lost your job um inclusive off having just uh broken up with your boyfriend girlfriend for the third or fourth time seemingly sort of with a similar flavor he wasn't at the grove and I just broke up with five years ago uh yeah uh so um inclusive of your mom your dad you know, inclusive of your relationships with your parents whether they were good or troubled or not inclusive off um your emotional set up you know, each one of us has a kind of a set of emotions that we're kind of used to that air feels like kind of a familiar territory and we'll be looking right into those things but with a very friendly and kind of open, inclusive way of going about it so that automatically creates another dimension of kind of spaciousness acceptance and as soon as we try to exclude those things and get some kind of peace without them I guarantee you're setting up your setting yourself up for a fall you know, because what's happening is everything you sweep under the rug later on it's gonna it's gonna come up to haunt you so we're talking about really including all of the things that we might be embarrassed about about ourselves that we wish you're different uh that have troubles in the past that people have complained about when they know us all of that's included ok so coupled with that there's a notion ofthe inquiry or exploring you know uh discovery and one of the things that we like to say is it well and personally I'd like to see this forest I'm concerned you look around you see people are very intelligent you know if they may be going blah blah blah blah blah and then when they pause you looking you look and you see this person is actually very, very wise in their own way so we're trying to bring that out not not uh laywer something on top of that that's this method or something like that the whole method is to bring out innate wisdom in people and also a sense of softness and caring which are considered to be natural attributes of being a person of course look everybody out there I know some of you are like project oriented you know but every project comes and goes but you don't come and go the person who's doing the project is who we're talking about for these three days so if your photographer if you're a pole vaulter if you're a doctor if you're a patient what we're gonna be talking about it's just um howto work with underneath your projects your whole sense of being and and you're feeling about your life so it is different maybe then some of the workshops here but I also feel it could be very much in sync with those in terms of we all have to deal with ourselves as human beings and then we have a job also so um the whole approach you know from the tradition I studied is about learning how to be less aggressive that you could say it's a through line less aggressive even with a non aggression as as a method as a tone so if you ever find yourself doing this practice and being too hard on yourself and you've added this to the to do list and you've added it to the like why I sock list can I say that on internet okay way because I think you know, in network tv I might get you know theo yeah why I suck list repeat you know if you're adding this practice to that don't do it don't do it that way um but instead we're looking at why do I think I suck that's interesting what's underneath that you know so that's the kind of inquiry that is three sixty you're looking everything we call with a word for that in the original language of sanskrit which is prasanna it's it's kind of discerning it's discriminating awareness you just you're willing tto look deeply, sharply, clearly it's something, even if it's disturbing, you know, even if you'd rather not see it, for whatever reason, you're even curious about why you'd rather not see it that's even interesting, and then that curiosity about other people liberates a lot of compassion, you know, because you're no longer just always trying to manipulate every situation to how can I make this right for me and this very tight framework? But you're really genuinely curious when somebody has a lot of this kind of project is very good it's like in it in a in a corporate environment like you will have your creative live there's a lot of this going, I can feel it a lot people are not being held down here, but maybe somebody has a good question why we doing it this way or something like that? That's where the illumination khun really come from from that kind of inquisitiveness? So we even go as far as to say that the pride practice of discernment progeny is the mother of all the buddhist that's a very powerful statement. This is if we want to have a wake life if we want to be present and happy, even that this quality of looking at things without kind of too much bias to begin with, too much judgment, so in a way, we're awakening a kind of, uh, one of my experiences with a lot of the tibetan teachers that I study with is a childlike quality, uh, not unsophisticated and not, um, um, naive, but fundamentally innocent, you know? So that kind of quality is powerful, and honestly, if you see the higher you go up in a good, healthy organization, the maur, this quality is present. It's an interesting thing, I mean, obviously, some people, some of us got get where we're going by dominating and kind of repressing people, but that's, we don't consider that the best way, and because everybody starts to hunch over underneath you, you know, and we are going to talk about leadership summit, how this this comes into play in even in business structures, organizational structures, family structures were trying to raise people up, not not hold him down, okay, so, um, so that's the mind were working with were inquisitive, kind of some clarity and precision that we're trying to develop and appreciation and softness and gentlest compassion towards ourselves. Now, if you think that might have something to do with, uh, getting ahead in your world, we're going to be looking straight at that later on, we're going to be talking about success. I'm very interested in success and how we define him and I thought during this workshop, I think either on the second or third day, we're going to be looking straight at every person in this room and out. Sergeant, what is your version of success with your nose? Oh, shit, being successful it with your life. And if it's making four million dollars a year, we just want to look at that were not saying it isn't or it is. But from each of our point of view, we look and say, do we have a successful life? Are we live in a full, rich life? So, uh, we definitely be talking about that some. So I think maybe this point I've said quite a bit, you know, as usual, loquacious louis over here.