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More advice for beginner meditators

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.

Stilling the critical mind

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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • Persistence

    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.

Sravasti Abbey Monastics

The monastics of Sravasti Abbey endeavor to live generously through dedicating their lives to the Buddha's teachings, practicing them earnestly, and offering them to others. They live simply, as the Buddha did, and offer a model for society at large, showing that ethical discipline contributes to a morally grounded society. Through actively developing their own qualities of loving-kindness, compassion, and wisdom, the monastics aspire to make Sravasti Abbey a beacon for peace in our conflict-torn world. Learn more about monastic life here...