Transformation can come about through meditation because meditation has many aspects. It’s more than you think! And, meditation is actually transformation. In this audio teaching, Phakchok Rinpoche explains how we may be unaware of the true meaning of meditation. We may think we know what meditation really means – but do we really?
For example, we often hear, “be present!” Saying “be present” is a very nice way to calm your mind. However, Rinpoche says that it doesn’t really help us see our minds. It doesn’t really show us what kind of emotions are strong. That’s why he wants us to understand that meditation has many aspects. It diagnoses our problems and acts as an antidote to those problems.
Meditation: Not Just Calming
So we can understand that meditation has many aspects. Therefore, if we sit and meditate but our temperament problems and negative emotions don’t change, there is something wrong. If we learn meditation and we don’t reduce our pride, what happened? Have we perhaps met some people who meditate a lot but have bad tempers? And then do we wonder if there is something wrong with meditation? Rinpoche says no – the problem is they do not understand the whole package of meditation. They are only learning one aspect of meditation: making the mind calm. This is like using morphine to reduce pain. Morphine does reduce pain, but it does not eliminate it completely. Likewise, we have to understand that learning meditation without diagnosing our own poisons and habits is like taking morphine. It certainly brings benefit by reducing part of our problems.
Three Points to Contemplate
Rinpoche wants us to think about three things:
- What meditation means
- Know how to meditate
- Understand that the Mahamudra meditation is a path of transformation
He warns us that we cannot be “picky.” We can’t choose what we like or want to learn. That selective behavior might actually reinforce our bad habits.
When we practice meditation, we confidently believe that we are precious. That means we appreciate that our body and our mind are powerful and precious. Precious means very valuable. Why are they valuable? Because we have the power to change. We can change ourselves and others. Thus, traditionally we teach that human birth is precious. And if we don’t see the value of our precious human birth, however, then we run the risk of developing low self-esteem.
Secondly, we need to understand that everything changes. We can’t rely on anything. Rinpoche gives the example of the ever-changing nature of love. Love changes every moment, every day. This brings worry. So what do we do now? Contemplating impermanence allows us to see that nothing is solid and firm. And that recognition allows us to relax.
This is where meditation comes in. It brings transformation. It allows us to change and improve gradually. It is very important. This is the only way that we can bring value to our life.