I often say, paraphrasing my own teacher, that the purpose of Buddhist meditation is not to be calm, but to be real. Being real doesn’t exclude being calm, if that is what is happening. But being real is not some particular state of mind; it is the mind in accord with the actuality of things—“real thinking”, as Suzuki Roshi would say.
I think the notion that we are “supposed” to be calm is a common misunderstanding, and a cause for discouragement, among meditators. “I’ve been meditating for X years, and I still can’t calm my mind!” This may be a … Read More
The Buddha’s teaching about emotions could be summarized in a single common English phrase, “Feel what you feel.” The technical term, “mindfulness of feeling,” is widely used in Buddhist writing, but I think “Feel what you feel” captures the actual teaching best, particularly because it is phrased in a way that alludes to its opposite, “Avoid feeling what you feel.” We avoid feeling what we feel especially when the feeling is unpleasant, but I would propose that we also don’t actually feel what we feel even if the feeling is pleasant. The basic quality of feeling, pleasant or unpleasant, is … Read More