Please take a few moments before you begin this teaching to settle yourself. Sit upright, yet naturally relaxed. Before listening to and/ or reading the teaching make aspirations such as: "I am extremely fortunate to have the opportunity to listen to the precious Dharma. I am doing this for the benefit of all sentient beings so that they may be free from suffering and attain complete awakening".
Why meditate? What does meditation offer? There are so many ways to spend our time these days. So, what benefits do meditation bring, and why might we want to take the time for practice? Phakchok Rinpoche, in this video teaching from a talk at Rangjung Yeshe Gomde Cooperstown, New York, points out very concrete benefits.
Three measurable benefits
Calmness is easy to understand, and most of us prefer to be calm. We seek out places that provide that sense of peace.
When we speak of good qualities, we think of positive characteristics. Here, Rinpoche mentions compassion, wisdom, dignity, understanding, patience, and generosity. We value these qualities in ourselves and in others.
Flexibility: for minds as well as bodies
When our minds become flexible, we don’t suffer so much and we also don’t cause others to suffer. Normally, we operate with a lot of judgment. We judge others and we judge ourselves. We react emotionally and we operate with a lot of assumptions. But when our mind becomes flexible, we don’t hang on to all these things. That means that we don’t stay stuck in bad moods or negative thinking. Flexible minds allow us to deal with whatever comes our way — we’re less stressed and uptight. We learn how to let things go!
We have all come to understand the importance of keeping our bodies flexible so they don’t become stiff and rigid. In the same way, if we keep our minds flexible, then we can avoid tight, closed mental states.
When we start meditating as beginners we may feel bored. We should not feel surprised if that happens. Our minds are conditioned to crave distraction and that’s why it is important to know these three positive results of meditation. Knowing these results help inspire us to keep practicing!
If you are interested in exploring meditation, you may be interested in Samye Institute’s support program, Training the Mind: An Introduction. This short home-study program offers more video instruction from Phakchok Rinpoche and is suitable for all levels.
At the end of the teaching, please remember to dedicate the merit of receiving a Dharma teaching. As you go through your day, take a few moments from time to time to recall these instructions.
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