When it comes to meditation, your busy mind seems to barely focus on one particular activity, including meditation, which is very helpful to release stress. Is there any way to improve your meditation skills? I’m going to share with you some of my ideas.
Let me tell you a story first.
Sunlun Sayadaw, an accomplished spiritual master of last century, not much educated as a farmer, one day he was told to focus on breathing in and breathing out, then he practiced and practiced. Finally, he attained enlightenment in a short period of time.
1. The simplest is the hardest
The breathing tradition was what the Buddha did, and it was what some ancient easterners did to achieve enlightenment.
Can you believe the tradition as straightforward as being aware of the breath leads to this ultimate pursuit in Buddism? It has been known as “Vipassana Meditation” in modern times, which is originated directly from Buddha.
This is a stripped-down eastern practice with no fluff in it, and it is not complicated compared to some other meditative training.
Nevertheless, we are unable to witness such a “miracle” through this plain method over several decades, even though many masters have been teaching this breathing tradition over and over again.
No one taught Sunlun the formal and rigorous processes into meditation. Nevertheless, when he was sitting and walking, even when he was taking a rest, every moment he kept mindful of his breath.
One day, he sat down under a tree near the farmland and began to watch his breath, in the beginning, he was aware the air touching the tip of the nose, so he was mindful of that touch, from here, he stepped onto a path leading to self-realization.
Why are we not a patch on our less educated, even illiterate predecessors, who were surviving wars, diseases, poor conditions among other things in their lives?
2. The simplicity of the heart should be one of your top priorities
Paying attention to one’s breath is simple. It’s obvious to notice this is not something mysterious or complicated.
This method is precisely passed down by Buddha. On the contrary, for most of us, when someone told you to focus on our breath to achieve mental and physical relaxation, yes, we can, but we are not able to go any further.
Even the peacefulness you got from the breathing practice could not be lasting. We stopped right before entering any kind of doorway.
The reason we find it difficult to reach the goal is not that of intelligence difference, but the mental clearness and spiritual simplicity we don’t have:
We have to fight with the buzzing thoughts in our multitasking brain all the time: one idea is just popping up, another one comes correcting the former one, judging, condemning, analyzing, and we seem to buy into all the inner voices.
3. Life seems speeded up and we are inundated by many details which are pulling at our time and attention.
Moreover, we are so lucky to have access to multiple forms of information sources – books, audios, videos to absorb any knowledge, we have exposed to too many choices more than we need. Google says we look at our phones more than 600 times a day.
Modern lifestyle is characterized by endless disputes over a specific issue, contradictory theories and conflicting information from different authorities, in addition to other trivial and mundane details of everyday life, compelling us to get into the trap of confusion.
Everyone seems honest while cunning, reliable while trustworthy. We are getting more and more skeptical about everything and mistrust anyone. This is how our lives get overly complicated and speeded up. We have been continuously running into all the hype and noise.
Getting sidetracked on and on, we find it’s hard to stay focused, it’s exhausting to make a choice. How many times have we searched on google for topics like “is *** real?” or “is *** a scam?”
Being doubtful is becoming the first criteria when we first meet someone or something, although it is an effective way to keep us from all the deceptions, we cut the most fantastic part out of our lives as well.
It’s hard to admit the fact that the poor-educated condition was yet a “blessing” for the ancients. On the one hand, they knew nothing, on the other hand, they were not “smart” enough to analyze and calculate the pros and cons.
No redundant and toxic thoughts popping up in their head, their minds were simple and clear.