Skip to main content

money & life

Meditation for Everyday Life

Lesson 16 of 28

Obstacles Along the Way Part 2

David Nichtern

Meditation for Everyday Life

David Nichtern

buy this class


Sale Ends Soon!

starting under


Unlock this classplus 2000+ more >

Lesson Info

16. Obstacles Along the Way Part 2

Lesson Info

Obstacles Along the Way Part 2

So there is this notion of slowing time down and and experiencing time um not as something to just crank through um not it's something that's getting away from us but something that we're riding in a particular way that's a little bit uh uh interesting isn't how swell the time can go when you're doing your practice and we haven't really tasted that yet we as a group here because we're on tv but otherwise we I would make you taste it wait just slow down you'd be going to hearing the bell and then you think oh well david must have fallen asleep or his watch stopped and you hope there is nothing more distressing in a meditation session then looking at the time keeper and seeing them fall asleep you know they're not gonna remember to ring the bell on I'm gonna be stuck here forever so we should find a cockatiel in well, it's funny you say that about eddie because I do wanna mention that as far as I'm concerned dog can do mindfulness meditation and I've seen it actually with uh used to have...

a dog named leroy brown and his mind is very scattered you know? You know dogs they can be very scattered and defused just like us and he's looking at this and smelling this and distracted by that but if I hold a biscuit up he goes and he has one point in this it just for that in a dog body it's easy to develop that you'd use food as the object of the meditation but you are training the dogs mind when you do that right if you don't just stuff it in you hold it they hold their very alert for a moment you know and then you go and then they're back to their destruction so that principle is kind of the same for us where our mind is all over the place but we don't need a biscuit he wouldn't train the human being that way would be insulting you know but you would say you have the power yourself to bring your mind back so human being it could be really, really cultivate mindfulness but so so a well trained dog has a lot of mindfulness they're not just running all over the place they can bring their attention back the same same principle. So here's here's some of the um obstacle said I just outlined physical discomfort for meditators sometimes it's just like you got my body is just killing me you know? So we like to say that you can learn uh how to work with your physical situation and shift your posture if you need to or find the right support with cushions or just become acclimated to the posture sleepiness, laziness, restlessness, boredom, anxiety, dullness, depression, distractions, excuses, resentment, craving anxiety, stress, longing jealousy, pride and be the's the experiences we have that actually, um kind of between us and the goal line actually, but instead of looking at them as obstacles that kind of keeping us from getting way, we want to be those air very experiences from which we can learn so that's transformative when we talk about transformation we're talking about actually changing, keeping the energy of something with changing the shape of it that's what transformation means so any of those khun be used as a fuel for the path of meditation that's a very pale when you get that, uh, attitude down um then really not obstacles they actually becoming inspirations to practice. So that was sort of the main point of this, um, of this uh, the second segment, um, so I wanted to do ah uh another guided meditation in this session a contemplative meditation. And uh, just if you remember from the first session, this is where we use our mind creatively to think about explore but particular topic with the intention of developing insight or cultivating equality that we want to cultivate. So, uh, again take your seat if you're at home or if you're here taking meditation seat and usually if we do any kind of there's a lot of practices that are creative ways of work with the mind but one of the nice things to do is just to a few minutes of breathing meditation the mindfulness meditation if you even just touching on that and the analogy I think I use it. Yes, it's like sorbet between courses of a meal it just clears your palate. You can use this practice any time you want. Really? Even if you're about to have a meeting at the office here or, um go actually go have a blind date. Um, you know, gig coming up or something to sit for a minute, you know, just even just a moment and just pay attention to breath and kind of re synchronized with yourself. Take a few breaths, even if you take two or three mindful breaths, it could be very powerful. So we're going to do a contemplative practice now and address what is considered one of the core values are virtues for, you know, somebody who's trying to develop themselves and that would be generosity, right? Do you all agree? That's a good, good virtue. Tohave when you see somebody that you say they were generous person, we usually means something very good bye that so I'm gonna look close your eyes for a minute and we're going to think about the topic of generosity and maybe first thing about what what does it mean to you to be generous what's the meaning of that to you what comes up for you when you think about generosity, about being a generous person giving of yourself, what is sitting, I'm implying terms your relationship to other people what's it like to be generous to somebody else you can think of a specific situation, maybe in which you felt you weren't generous. What did that feel like? How'd you feel after that? How do you feel during that think about something that you really covet in your life and think about giving it away? How would that make you feel? Think about whether it's easier to be generous to somebody that you really like what's it like to be generous to somebody you don't like that much what's the issues there think about somebody you admire was really generous what's the quality that they're embodying if your mind wanders during this and you start thinking about other things were still sort of in that mindful domain where you bring your awareness back to this topic that's the kind of mindful dimension of this practice they keep coming back to what you're thinking about generosity. What what obstacle do you experience to being generous? If you think it's a good idea and you'd like to be more generous, what obstacles come up for you? What what is a deterrent? What gets in your way I think it was somebody you know is not generous in your estimation how does that make you feel how did they make you feel think about yourself do you consider yourself kind of rich and full of resources and offerings or do you feel lacking and needing to hoard uh whatever resources you have are you running out of are you re supplying us you go and then think of an environment that you function in like a workplace or family situation? What would it be like just imagine it if everybody was practicing generosity was more generous would that feel like so these kind of practice you can just, you know, do on your own and kind of explore an area that you want to explore in this case we're exploring something that we consider to be a virtue positive kind of quality so there's a lot of advantage to that because on some level, you know, the's air things were aiming for whether we're aware of it or not as human beings, we're aiming for these kind of qualities for the universal good qualities so let's come back to us present moment here just kind of return into this space he'd been in service in the chat room in your mind there for a moment on dh I'd like to just sort of gather some feedback from the people here first and then we'll go to the online community inside about generosity I was waiting for the bell wait we're gonna meditate beginning in the end I was thinking through it and and I didn't realize that was the meditation just setting us up for how many really so what about generosity uh I don't know it could be a lovely exchange what do you look at her now it could be a lovely exchange is what I came down to it the end when someone is generous with their giving and there time and energy and end up themselves it's a good thing yes when that could be reciprocated good. Okay that's good could be a lovely exchange willow yeah, I've experienced that it feels simple for me to be generous to everybody pretty much including people who have been mean and cruel and all kinds of things uh difficult to myself you know that's my biggest challenge and I bet it is with most everybody you know uh I think even in terms of giving my daughter ah on a precious object or something like this and everyone so I'll think how's she gonna take care of this and then you know, may am I that generous just too or am I being foolish or am I analyzing too much and just do it everything's impermanent but but the lesson of generosity I think I struggle with the most is to myself and it gives me such joy uh giving to other people but I've also learned to accept other people's generosity uh which not too long ago I had great difficulty doing you know but I still feel like I have ah mohr toe learn in the purity of it yeah okay thank you so I thought it was really interesting because when I went into the meditation I was thinking of like I thought we were going to meditate and like more negative than positive and I already had my sister in my head and then you said think of generosity and then I did and it was really interesting because I felt like all these things that she says to me I felt like well that's very generous of her toe like share these things with me as much as I hate hearing them I felt like she doesn't say them because she's just want to have a react like an every action from me like regardless of what hurt image of like my perfect person would be like it's she wants me to be better but it's her own thing and then and then when you were talking about someone being not generous I actually couldn't think of anybody because I thought about that first and then I was like anybody that if I feel like I don't like this person or whatever doesn't matter because everything that they can give me will be like generous regardless of work like even if they're being mean about it because it will help me so I thought that was really interesting I couldn't think of something bad maybe uh a newt you know a new territory yeah, I was surprised online are we cooking over there looks right we have all flavors and sizes of comment it's about generosity teo problem etta I felt joyful it always makes me happy to be generous to others I do sometimes have a hard time being generous generous with myself but I'm working on that uh c l by rai says generosity is the key to abundance and walter him says giving something away hard at first but usually feels good once you do it on the flip side jake dmitri says and immediately I felt used and manipulated when I thought about generosity and then they ended it with yuck I guess is a judgment or I'm gonna miss you maybe they're seeing something about how they framed generosity, right? Right that's sort of yeah yeah she's phrased the question we'll take me the person who made that comment before they gave the comment they actually phrased the question which this might be a good time knows his saying why do you think I come up against so much fear resistance whenever I take my seat this seems like a common experience from others I've spoken with but I'm constantly trying to come up with new tools on how to push through this resistance these these tools seem to them bore me they wear me out and then I tried to create utah's it's a very frustrating cycle and then they tried the meditation just there and that's how they reacted right jig mayo side with what it looks like jake michel tree thank you not sure j r I g m e g g m e shell tree tibetan name take me so it doesn't say where he's from it doesn't touch we can ask waste treatment where are you from? Just write and tell us where you're living now and where you're from uh so um uh they're in austin and it's a sheep she um ask her she's tibetan our general that's a dharma name she hears me right? Yes, I did it just takes a few seconds can answer yeah so, um I can see the future which is these people just appears holographic projections in this space I'm honestly actually they're dharma name so it's a dominant okay, so um yeah, I think that person is maybe I'm saying that uh they're pushing a ball uphill in terms of practice, you know? And this feels like all effort and all struggle uh so you know, sometimes you can say a lighter touch taking just a lighter touch the whole thing maybe some sense of humor coming into it about how basically impossible it is and that uh is not to make you lazy but to make you kind of like not push so hard into the practice that it becomes you know, humorless and thick and heavy uh um lighten up a little bit on your touch there it's like telling somebody lighten up on a you know, swinging a baseball bat if you're just gripping the things so hard it's so you can't really get a good swing out of there you know? So I think uh how we touch these things how we uh they're marrying back to us are kind of approach may be too heavy handed possible so any others they're coming yes kathy is the same when I think of generosity memories come up of times I gave time and energy and heart and soul to people who treated me very poorly she's asking where to the boundaries a good one that's really good question because there's a great expression that trump room but a coin called idiot compassion which forever I find myself repeating that the idea of trying to be compassionate but we're actually being a doormat for somebody else's aggression it's not helping them it's not helping us so it's it's sort of compassion without any kind of skill or or a boundary or clarity um and you know the real compassion you kind of have more clarity about what the person really needs um so sometimes just helping people like for example, giving being giving money to a junkie that might not be the most skillful way to be compassionate, that person there may be no way to be compassionate that person in that time other than letting them go through whatever they need to go through or it might be food and shelter would be a better a better offering you know, then money so, um we have to be mindful of who we're giving what and what's going to be the impact of off that for them and really having clear intention and our meaning our intentions to help them. So if we're giving something that's just making them more selfish and more self satisfied and stuff like that then generosity could be don't give it and then you actually being really generous that's hard for some of us we just give ourselves away and sort of uh we're not really aware of the of the kind of dynamic of the whole thing I identified that uh giving what I think someone needs rather than identifying what they really need and giving them that and that does not feel good. You know, a lot of our initial discussion about generosity was positive, but but not identifying others needs and giving of myself other otherwise does not feel good well but it's almost like, you know, if aunt flo would've asked if we wanted that sweater for christmas before we got it maybe we would have asked for some socks, you know, when you said and flow in my mind I'm sorry, that was I know now, but I thought at first it was one of our online people, eh, auntie f l o w really and flow and flow is giving us the sweater and, uh, it's not what we want or need and, uh maybe, you know, I know this with mothers and daughters a lot this comes up in a lot of conversations have like, uh, she doesn't really see me. She doesn't know who I really am she's giving me these things, but it's really to make her feel more comfortable if does not not really being received. So this is kind of, you know, the kind of general area where are we doing that? You know? And to the extent that we are willing to be a little bit more awake in the exchange and and see that sometimes the best generosity you give to somebody is leaving them alone, you know, letting the figure it out that's something you know is a very powerful that could be very generous where you don't just jump in at all and let them figure it out, and other times it can be we sometimes they can be giving them a real clear feedback somebody needs then you're and you're not hemming and hawing you're not holding back and you're giving uh you know, some really clear and decisive feedback that could be very generous my mind went several places um especially us like you were asking but what is generosity mean to you started to make the distinction between giving and being generous and even sometimes like the the response came toe to mind I was just picturing ah, a transaction where somebody's giving some food or giving some money or giving something and that's the transaction and where somebody might say, oh, well that's generous like give you five dollars I'm giving you something, but if I give you twenty now I'm being generous and so the distinction between like giving and what makes giving a generous expression I thought of also this this dichotomy between somebody who's seeking and asking for versus just being given um and the generosity that doesn't line up with what somebody really needs who just got a bar the other night in this junk I wanted to just talk and talk and like dominate the conversation and dominate the energy and go mi mi, mi, mi and and just when wass you know was I was good for me to be generous and give him my attention and a bunch of my attention or when is the cut off point? And then I finally came tio a poem by rumi about the sun and the moon um and how generous the sun is and how it just shines its rays on the earth and it doesn't ask for anything in return and doesn't say look earth what all the glorious sunlight and ones I've given you what are you giving me back just is part of it is like way of being sure yeah I mean these are different angles we're looking at interestingly enough the idea of sort of skillful generosity came up the idea being generous to on oneself came up uh I don't hear anybody arguing against the general principle which is interesting something just say well, you know it's just me me me and that's what's good for you life um in our kind of buddhist way we would say probably our true happiness has a strong connection to generosity of spirit you know it's just who we are david what are we gonna be talking about in our session when we come back from lunch in about forty five minutes well this afternoon I think following through more on kind of obstacle what we experience this obstacles I wanted to talk about body an emotional world and linking that with our conversation of stress and anxiety and like, you know, really looking we're going to look more deeply into our kind of physical constellation or emotional constellation and the idea of the meditation is not just a mental trip it's, really dealing with our whole sells whole whole energy. Uh, so we're gonna be taking a look at that, maybe doing a little bit more meditation practice, for sure. Um, and, uh, a little bit more of the contemplation and certainly room for discussion and all that. So that will be this afternoon.

Class Description

In today’s hectic world, our busy lives often crowd out any chance to sit still. Who has time to focus on mindfulness when there are 40 emails to write? Join Buddhist teacher David Nichtern for an introduction to meditation. David will show you how meditating for just 15-30 minutes a day will clarify your mind and decrease your stress levels.

David will teach you the basics of meditation, unpacking the centuries-old spiritual tradition into a practical playbook for living a balanced life. You will learn simple posture, breathing, and directed contemplation techniques that will help you unclutter your mind and increase your energy.

Stillness is a powerful way to be kind to yourself. At the end of this workshop, you will be more present, aware, and connected to the world around you.

Class Materials

bonus material with purchase

Cultivating Mindfulness E-Book

Cultivating Compasion For Yourself and Others

Simple Meditation Instructions for Ordinary People

Ratings and Reviews

Student Work

Related Classes


Sean Newton

I've tried to develop a meditation practice in the past and signed up for this course because of the title ..'everyday life' This course works!! I'd like to thank David and the Creative Live crew for providing a life enhancing course. At first I was a little impatient as I thought the sessions were long, drawn out and repetitive however, half way through it 'clicks' (it made sense) and what may seem as a long-winded preamble is in fact laying a firm foundation for understanding and progression. Hastily wanting to skip to some perceived 'good bit that helps hedge fund mangers etc ' is like sprinting to the end of the rainbow instead of appreciating the various colours. (Your own perceptual colours even ;-)) Anyway, a worthwhile course - so stay the course and feel better for fit

a Creativelive Student

David is an amazing teacher, he has a gift for relating the principles of mindfulness in an accessible, relatable way. Plus, he's really funny. I'm super psyched to participate in this workshop. Thanks CreativeLIVE!


Also found this through the DTFH podcast. What a wonderful, powerful, and approachable course in meditation. Highly recommended to anyone interested in starting on this path. It's chock full of practical information and ways to apply meditation to your life.