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Last week we trained our imagination in the Body of Light meditation. Some people feel they have no imagination, others think imagination is only for kids, and most people think that imagination is only a visual thing.
In fact, everybody has imagination.
We all use our imagination all the time and it plays very important role in our life.
Imagination is not only a visual thing, you can smell with your imagination[try - fried onions...] hear, taste and touch with your imagination.
Imagination is very important for the processes of learning, understanding, creating, and it plays crucial part in how we experience feeling. Even our eventual liberation from suffering - Enlightenemtnet- is achieved through the power of our imagination.
All the above may not be obvious but if you start examining your mind you'll become aware of the role imagination plays in your life.
So training your imagination is important!
Our understanding of what we can do with our imagination can help our meditation improve greately and through this a whole new world of ideas and experiences may open to us. With this we can learn to create and develop good qualities in our own mind. That will make us peaceful and happy.
We can understand this in few ways:
1. Everybody knows what it’s like to open a letter from the bank, internal revenue, your GP, and feel your body turn to lead. This feeling comes from your mind, from your imagination.
2. Think of how our dream experiences [which are really only mental experiences] affect our physical body. Our imagination can affect our physical body in the same way.
If your mind [imagination] can do unpleasant things to you, why can’t it do the opposite? Why not use your imagination to make yourself light and spacious? Which is what the meditation on the Body of Light is all about.
This is why we do the Body of Light meditation and why it is so important. It opens the door for new experiences through the power of our mind's ability to imagine.
Therefore, Get the CD from Tharpa Publication, read the instruction given in the booklet - then practice, practice, practice. You'll really feel the benefit.
The Body of Light meditation prepares us to meditate on the conventional nature of the mind, which is what we are learning in our classes this coming week. It is a very important meditation but many ignore it because they feel confused when they hear the pointing out instructions for this meditation.
This coming week we hear the pointing out instructions on what the mind is - clarity and cognizing with the power to create and experience.
In the beginning using our imagination we need to create a concept of what such a thing will be like. Our imagination creates a rough , faint, generic image or initial understanding. This rough generic image or undertanding becomes what we learn to concenrate on and in time we will come to experience our mind beyond our imagination. At which time we have realized our mind directly.
And as Buddha said - 'If you realize your own mind you will become a Buddha. You do not need to seek Buddhahood elsewhere'
We'll talk more about these things next week but for now let’s conclude that:
1. You are going to train your imagination in the Body of Light meditation.
2. You will spend time creating a rough understanding or generic image of what the mind is: something that has no physical properties but is able to experience, know, perceive and remember.
Keep it real - imagine it!
And how quick it passed!!
Looking back at the first month of the year what did we do in Compassion Centre?
Traditionally January is a month we try to take off for retreat. Although it is difficult for people to take a whole month off to do meditation, at Compassion Centre we provided couple of options for people to taste some retreat experiences.
The aim was to get back to a peaceful, calm, mental experience after the busyness of Christmas.
The three days of retreat had three sessions each and the meditations were simple and familiar ones:
This was like a weight loss diet for the mind after a long period of gorging on rich emotions during Christmas. People really enjoyed this retreat. And it was nice to see so many people making it to the sessions. Obviously there was a need for it!
Over the years a tradition has developed at Compassion Centre to do a retreat together as a community in a more remote venue. This way of meditating - secluded from the hustle and bustle of life, in a nice quiet place with a great bunch of people - provides a real opportunity for insights and experiences to grow. And indeed many people have had a great experience on this last January retreat.
Northumberland is perfect for this and a few years ago we found a place there called Middleton Hall. It is Compassion Centre's third year in Middleton Hall and it was lovely to see June and Brian (the owners} again. The place was lovely, warm, clean and most importantly quiet! We certainly feel at home there. http://www.exploremiddletonhall.co.uk/media/pagecontent/1.jpg
We had 6 days of meditations with four sessions every day. Each session was 90 minutes. So you can imagine it was a challenging event. But everybody gained understandings and awarenesses from this challenge.
The reason the January retreats are mentioned is in order for you to start planning for next January. Will you have some time to clean your mind in a retreat? If you do not plan for it, it will not happen. If you think about it you might just find yourself surprised - you will have done a week long retreat away, or few days retreat at Compassion Centre - and you well feel so much better for it!!! Think about it.
Once the retreat week finished we started the year and returned to our regular classes. It is nice to be back in the normal flow of regular classes. Seeing familiar faces, talking about Buddha's teachings and enjoying meditating together with people we know. People mentioned how much they missed it.
The theme for the classes is learning to meditate. We are using the meditation CDs - which are a very easy practical way to get yourself going with meditation. The teachers use the basic guided meditation which are on the CDs to explore the meaning of meditation. This is helpful for both the beginner and the experienced meditator. In fact those who've been coming for a while have pointed out how much benefits they receive from hearing these teaching.
This is how Kadampa Meditations work. Everybody starts where they are and as you train and improve you hear new things in the same teaching. This is often referred to as the 'house elves' of Geshe Kelsang Gyatso who once again re-wrote the book while you were away!
Looking forward to seeing you all in the coming year. Let's bring goodness and joy to this world.
With love Compassion Centre
For more pictures click on the image below.