TMS Session #7


  • Opening meditation: body and breathing — here’s the introduction:

No matter what our present situation, we all live most of our life in a trance. In this trance, our minds are constantly being taken away from the present moment, hijacked by the latest plans, worries, judgments, regrets. And though very occasionally, the trance is pleasant, like when an outcome we have long wished for comes true, it’s usually not pleasant. This trance is stressful, and can even feel intolerable sometimes.  Look inside, and see if this rings true for you.  I know it does, otherwise you wouldn’t be sitting here.

The very first words the Buddha uttered after his enlightenment, when he made the decision to share his realization with others, have been called traditionally “the four noble truths”.  The first of these he call the truth of dukkha, which has often been translated as “suffering”, but actually means something a little less extreme, like “unsatisfactoriness” or “unease with what’s present.” Reflect on this. Isn’t it actually comforting to hear, from one of the wisest teachers in all human history, that the stress and emotional difficulties we each encounter every day are absolutely normal, shared by every human being for all time,  and this was the first aspect of the human condition he chose to discuss, 2500 years ago! Not holiness, not sin, not enlightenment, not meditation -- just “shit happens”. We may go into the other truths in some detail someday, but -- spoiler alert here -- the third noble truth is that it is possible to free ourselves from this dukkha. And the path to that freedom flows through the simplest of actions: being aware of the present moment -- accepting, even cherishing, what is right here, right now. So that’s what we’re practicing here in the meditation space.

  • Reading: the poem “Diamonds” by Ingrid Goff-Maidoff

  • Metta

Recording of the session here:

Guided meditation for the week: This one is by Mark Williams, the author of Mindfulness, a Practical Guide to Finding Peace in a Frantic World. This is a key book for putting meditation into practice. This guided meditation is short — just 8 minutes.

© Anthony Ackerman 2013