This past Saturday I took a beginners meditation course at the Chakrasambara Kadampa Meditation Center in Chelsea. I had been interested in learning how to meditate for quite some time and an added bonus for me is this was a buddhist meditation course. My best friend took a class at the same center and told me many of my own beliefs and philosophies were similar to buddhist beliefs, so I wanted to learn more about it.
Of course the day of the class my train is delayed and I show up 15 minutes late. They were already in the middle of a guided meditation. Crap. Luckily it was no issue for me to quietly get situated and join them.
The instructor was an adorable middle school teacher with this cute and calming, distinct voice. She not only guided us in some sample meditation techniques but also spoke to how meditation is a primary focus in buddhist teachings and how meditation helps the mind learn for oneself Buddha’s dharma (lessons).
A few things I took away from this class…
- One’s “problems” or “crisis'” are really not yours, but are external to you. A great example is if your car breaks down, it’s really not your problem but the car’s problem. Yes, you have to fix it but knowing it’s not your problem directly should aid someone in dealing with the issue with a clear mind because you take unneeded emotions and stress out of the equation. So the next time I get stressed out at work that someone’s computer died and they called me for help, I can remind myself it’s really not my problem, it’s the computer’s problem (this will take some work).
- One’s mind naturally is clear, like water. Our issues or “dysfunctions” as they were called in class create a cloudy mind wherein the decisions we make are not necessarily made with a clear and present mind. Through meditation, focus and practice, one can allow the dysfunctions to settle and once again clear the mind.
- For every negative dysfunction, there’s a positive action you can take to overcome it. The three dysfunctions we discussed were wanting of objects or people to ensure happiness (I guess you can also call this greed or desire), anger, and jealousy. Their opposites were love, patience and rejoice, respectively. I found this concept very interesting and will probably read more about it in the near future.
All in all, it was a very worthwhile course. I hope to take another one of their courses as well as do some more research so I can learn more about it.
Do you meditate? If so do you have any tips you can share? I’ll take any information I can get.