Teachings from the Gaea Retreat. Part Two.

The following talk was given at the Gaea Retreat Center on May 23rd, 2015.

Welcome to Meditation Group.

My name is Daniel.

The Buddha sat under a tree in the woods, kind of like this. He sat with the intention of attaining Enlightenment and eventually he did.

Let’s talk about what meditation is. Meditation is a general term for several religious practices, some different from others. These methods have the same mystical goal. To bring the awareness of the practitioner to a state in which they can come to an experience of ‘awakening’ or ‘enlightenment’.

THE CULTIVATION OF MINDFULNESS

When people start meditating, they often have a less lofty goal than Enlightenment. They are usually thinking about bringing more mindfulness into their lives. This should be encouraged. Some people think the mystical journey is not for them and that is fine.

Mindfulness is moment to moment awareness. This means being completely aware of what’s going on around us rather than being distracted all the time. So often our distractions take us out of our lives. We spend a majority of time lost in discursive thinking, thinking about what we’re doing later, or what we’ve already done. One of the benefits of meditation is that even when we aren’t meditating, we have strengthened our ability to be mindful. So, in our regular daily lives we are more aware of the world around us and our relationship to it. When we are more present, we can respond more effectively to the things that come up in our lives.

We can have mindful reactions to frustrating events, rather than the knee jerk reactions that our minds often try to carry us to.

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About Daniel Scharpenburg

Daniel Scharpenburg is an independent dharma teacher living in Kansas City. He gives online teachings through the Open Heart Project, the largest virtual mindfulness community in the world. His writing has appeared in Lion's Roar, Patheos, Tattooed Buddha, and Elephant Journal.

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