Helpful advice on dealing with critical thoughts, thoughts about the past or future, balancing concentration with letting go, making time for solitude, and celebrating whatever abilities we already have.
Stilling the critical mind
We tend to have an overactive, critical mind, and it’s good to push the pause button when this arises. In meditation we try to develop a sense of contentment with who we are without needing to be, do, or have something else. This provides a real sense of happiness and peace.
Advice for Dharma practice
Be in the moment
A mind thinking about the past or the future conceptualizes but does not directly perceive. Conceptual minds can be troublesome because they mistake objects for real things. Awareness of when the conceptual mind starts inventing stories and bringing ourselves back to the present makes managing our minds easier so that every moment can be good.07-05-08: Advice for Dharma Practice: Be in the Moment – BBCorner
Not too Tight, not too loose
Venerable Yeshe discusses how balancing effort and surrender is key to successful meditation. Focusing too much on results doesn’t allow a sense of joy to arise, and being too loose means we avoid going out of our comfort zone. Taking walks can help loosen the mind.06-30-15 Advice for Dharma Practice: Not Too Tight, Not Too Loose – BBCorner
Making time for solitude
Long-time Abbey resident Zopa talks about the importance of spending part of each day in as quiet and peaceful a place as possible to observe what’s going on in the mind. We can’t train our mind if we don’t know what’s happening in there.11-28-11 Advice for Dharma Practice: Making Time for Solitude – BBCorner
Practicing at home without the support of a group requires joyous effort and persistence. Abbey resident Zopa advises focusing on what we can do, instead of what we can’t, creating the causes for transformation without worrying about the results.07-17-10 Advice for Dharma Practice: Persistence – BBCorner