Coming Home to Yourself
week 2 of the 2017 meditation course, Bangkok

video and transcript


OK … so
The end of the session today I will introduce another

extra practice

which you

can take up optionally

so your 20 minutes a day
that’s mandatory

but what you do during that 20 minutes
is optional

so I will give you another practice today

to take back
and experiment, or try out


there is a problem


these kind of practices

special practices

and that is
there is a natural tendency

for us to look for additional complecity

to feel like we’re adding something on

that we didn’t have before

and really meditation should be
going the opposite direction

I noticed this a few years ago

I was with my good friend Marisa
many of you know her

and we were

doing some sessions with a
business group in Singapore

which was actually more fun that it sounds


she was teaching some

Yoga and Qi Gong to the group

and many of the people – especially the ladies

had done a fair bit of yoga before

and many of the men

had never done any yoga before

So – she was really teaching at a very basic simple level

and the people that had done yoga before

started getting a bit annoyed with her

because they wanted more complicated things to do

In yoga you do all these different asana

these different positions right

so you start off with your

dipping dog

and things like this

but once you’ve dipped your dog a few times

you want to get into more

advanced postures

the gyrating giraffe!

wallowing warthog

lying lion, and the …

all these different positions that …

Marisa kept saying,
it’s not

about twisting your body into a new movement

unless you have a problem with a particular bone

or set of muscles
that you’re particularly trying to work on

the idea is to bring mindfulness to the movement

it’s not that you are attaining to something new

it’s that you are returning your attention back home

Her … that didn’t go down very well!

they’re like ‘no no no’!

I read about this particular posture, and only

16 yogis can do it in India,
and I want to see if I can do it

and eventually she just thought up the most ridiculous

difficult pose that she could possibly imagine
something where you have to twist your leg up

fold it around in a granny knot
and lean it against the wall …

and said right – you go and do that one

and then they were happy you see!

they couldn’t do it, but ..

actually Marisa can’t do it either,
she told me afterwards

but they were happy because they’re getting something new .. something …

more complicated

and the meditation, including the yoga in fact

and including the Qi Gong

is not

about getting to something
more and more complicated


when we give you,
meditation methods

these are

little tricks

only to help you settle into that
simple raw, naked awareness

that is your own real nature

it’s not that you have to go and practice more and more

complicated meditation methods

the meditation methods may have value

and they are great tools

and pick them up and use them

in a wise way

at that time that is suitable for you

you have visualization techniques

I did a retreat once

you have to visualize

a pipe going down from the top of your head

that is

red on the outside

white on the inside

and inside that pipe is a tiny mustard seed

on which is written the sacred symbol

in Tibetan, NOT sanskrit

they were very clear about that

doesn’t work if you

if you think in Sanskrit symbols

and then you have to shoot
this seed up from the center of your body

to the top of the head,
where the pipe comes out the head

but on top of the head is a
white Avolokiteshvara Buddha sitting there

and on top of him

is a red Amitabha Buddha

and Amitabha Buddha has his big toe

on the crown of your head
which stops your mustard seed flying out

it’s actually a really …

it has a value, the practice

it has a certain

method, and a certain use

and so it’s actually a good practice

you have to be in it to really understand it


by the end of the sessions
I was just feeling aargh …

I don’t want to

do it

I spend enough time imagining things

my meditation time is the one time
I don’t want to be doing all this kind of stuff

so things like visualization

and certain ways to breath

they can be very useful

but ultimately

the meditation should be getting more and more simple

not more and more complicated

these are tools that you use just to stop and be

the best meditation

teaching I ever heard

Sit and know you are sitting

that’s it!
right, that’s all I need!

shut up now

leave me alone!

that’s all you need


it’s quite tricky right?
because your mind goes wandering off

you have that idea,
but your mind has other ideas

and it will go and do something else instead

another time I met this

woman who

had been doing a Mahasi Sayadaw practice

and in this practice

you watch the movements of the feet

and you go : left moves thus, right goes thus …

and then it’s : lifting, moving, placing

and then it’s : lifting the heel, lifting the foot, moving, touching, pressing, placing …

so there are stages to the movement of the foot

and this is how Mahasi Sayadaw
would break down the walking meditation

and usually you start with the 2 movements, and you work up to the 6

and she told us .. she was very proud of this

she said
I was with this teacher

and he taught us

the 7th movement of the foot


… Yes – and they don’t normally teach this

they only teach this in very special circumstances

I’m like: you’re starting to annoy me!

but I’ll go along with it ..

oh he must have been very confident
in the group that he had with him at the time

she said ‘yes, I was very lucky’

this 7th movement makes
all the other movements of the feet

make sense

OK you’ve jazzed me up now!
what is it?

‘I can’t tell you!’

it’s a secret movement.

you have to have reached permission

she said

it’s not that I don’t think your meditation is good enough!

[ thank you ]

she said

but I don’t have permission to teach this thing …

it’s a very secret teaching!

oh come on, give me a break

like – the foot moves

whether you break it up into

4 stages, 6 stages, 12 stages, 24 stages

it’s the movement of the foot

unless you are moving your foot like this

and then you have a little

flip to the side

then I would accept.
OK there’s a 7th movement of the foot

that I’m not aware of

But she was very proud, you see
to have added this extra practice

into her repertoire

of practices

and it’s not about that

even the 6 movements of the foot
if you can

be with the movement of the feet

simply nakedly

with awareness

that’s what you are aiming at

that’s why Mahasi Sayadaw was

teaching these movements of the foot

because if you say

watch your feet move and feel the physical feelings

your mind wanders off
but if you say

watch the lifting moving, touching, pressing, placing,


your mind is caught up with the activity more

and it will snap

you out of the natural tendencies of the mind

the discursive mind that is always thinking

that’s all it is
that’s what the practice is for


the meditation is something that we should keep simple

and I’ve known a few people


including myself


have been so busy looking
for a certain meditation practice

that we’ve missed the fact
that you are already meditating

sometimes I am sitting there quite peaceful

I’m quite peaceful, and OH
I should be noting my thoughts!

I should be

MY BREATH! I forgot about my ….

it’s ok – if you forget about your breath that’s ok

one of the questions that has come up is

the thinking

and I’ll talk more about thinking
in one of the later weeks

but how to control the thinking
and how to stop the thinking

well the thinking
does have to stop

that’s not something that every

teacher or system would agree with

but …

I’m insistent, and I can show you
the suttas and scriptures

but if you try and force your thinking to stop

well that’s just another movement of the mind

that force is another movement of the mind

just like the thinking so …

you are using a hammer to break a nut

but one of the tricks

is to notice when you are not thinking

and if you pay attention to that

there’s a lot of times during the day

when the mind just quite naturally stops still

and enters into a very beautiful, clear awareness

and at those times, what happens is, either

you’ll fall asleep

or you’ll think of something

you’ve got a bit of space

Oh right. I’ll go fish around in my

bag full of nonsense that I carry around with me

and find something that happened in the past

brush it off and have a think about that

or fish around in my bag and
find out one of my plans for the future

and oh yes,
I can start planning out my retirement home in

New Zealand

and a little farm that I’m going to

grow …
and the avocados, and I think I’ll have some oranges

and some lemons,
and then

have some animals …
I’d like to have some capybara

living on my farm

I wonder if I can get ..

a licence to raise capybara

and you’re gone, right?

I love capybara – do you know these things?

these are .. they are like huge rats [rodents]

very placid creatures

this big?

[ in South America ]

you have big ones, OK

I’m from England
we only have little ones

and they are very placid right?

very peaceful creatures

and that’s what you do

you waste that moment where actually it’d stopped

and you were bright,
and you were clear, and you were aware

so meditation isn’t really something
that you force to happen

that you make to do

it’s something that you find,
in amongst your mind as it already is

your meditation is already there

you really just don’t pay attention to it

so if you can stop and cherish those moments

when the mind is bright and clear

and aware and peaceful

and just relish that

the more you relish it, the more you cherish it

the more it’s going to come back

the more you ignore it

and fill it up with some nonsense story
from your bag of stories

then the less you are going to be able to notice it

and I think this is why

often in India or in Thailand you find these people who are jsut

beautifully gifted at doing meditation

and I think part of the reason for that might be

because in the culture

they have had this teaching of meditation already

so there’s a kind of awareness that it’s there

Certainly most of the Indians that I’ve spoken to

they all have an awareness that
there is this deeper nature
so they’re more in tune with it

and more able to come and do the meditation

developing this meditative …
or this awareness part of the character
then, is our aspiration

if you want to be a meditator

.. and not everybody wants to be a meditator …

if you want to be a meditator

this is what we are cultivating

don’t wait too long to cultivate it

because if you wait until

you’re really sick

or you’re really in crisis

or you’re really dying

then it’s going to be too late

Ajahn Chah said

teaching meditation to someone who is sick

is like asking them to watch their breathing

while you are poking them with a red hot poker

it’s very difficult

but if you’ve trained this meditation

consistently for a long period of time

it’s right there

in fact it’s so close to you

that it becomes almost automatic

it comes very easy

it becomes almost easier to do the meditation

and then you think

Oh, now I have to get up for work.
I just want to sit and meditate

this course

7 weeks

I actually took from a friend of mine

who is a cancer surgeon in Hawaii

and he teaches this course online

for people who have had cancer surgery

and he teaches this world-wide

but the people have to do it online

so every week online, they get a new set of tasks

they get a worksheet

and they have to do it

and then they send in their reports

He has now got some

research funding after more than 10 years of doing this

some funding to launch

a world wide proper

clinical research into this

but of course he has 2 difficulties

one is that the people

are not there

they’re in different places around the world

and you all know how often
you’ve signed up for courses online

did you do them?

so that’s one difficulty
and the other difficulty of course

is that they’re recovering from their cancer surgery

he always presents this as

is the word ‘paliative’ ?

something you do after surgery

so it’s not a replacement, it’s not a preventitive

it’s something to help deal with the recovery


it’s very difficult if you waited until that time

in order to start your meditation practice

I did have one friend
I mentioned him last week

he was the guy who was learning Thai

and he had to travel on the skytrain

5 days a week – and he said his iPod was his lifesaver

because he couldn’t bear jsut to

standing there on the train and not having

something to occupy his mind

to me I have the opposite problem

too much occupying my mind
that I want to put it down

he eventually

at 32 years old – went into hospital
he had an A-series flu

and the flu shut down every organ in his body

he became within a hair breadth of death

he lost all the ends of his fingers and toes

because his heart had


able to pump blood out to his extremities

and so he was 40 days in the ICU

he’d just got out of the ICU and then he died

So, sad story

but I’d known him for about

4 or 5 years – he was actually
my closest friend in Bangkok at the time


we were friends through computers

we were both, kind of, computer geeks

we had similar kind of things

and we’d share programs

experience and

I would come round and scrounge food

and so we had that kind of relationship

he was never really interested in meditation

but when he went into hospital

as he was coming out of this

really terrible state

that he was … barely conscious state

he woke up with this desperate urge to do meditation

why do you want to do that now?

all these years that I’ve known you

but now I have to come to your hospital to do it

his parents were very much opposed to me

they were very strong Catholics, and they didn’t like

him or his children being around Buddhism

so I used to go in the middle of the night

so as not to

disturb them

also he had no other visitors
in the middle of the night because

no one else was allowed into the hospital

but that’s one of the privileges of being a monk

we don’t get many privileges

but access to hospital in the
middle of the night is one of them

and so he had this desperate urge to do meditation

of course he’s not really in a situation

to learn, but anyway

I went in there

4 or 5 days a week

and we did meditation together during the night

So don’t wait until it’s that long [time]

the only way to

have this meditation strong is to develop it

and you develop it through consistent


so all the tips and all the tricks

they are just tips and tricks

really the thing is you have to do it

If Ajahn Brahm was sitting here now

the room would be full

full of 300 people

is your meditation better with Ajahn Brahm?


you might like a particular teacher
or you might like to

well you might like his jokes I guess


really if you want to develop meditation

you have to develop the meditation

the ego has a trick

the ego wants to do something

it says ‘OK I’m going to be’

a beautiful peaceful person

I made the resolution this year
that I was not going to get frustrated with anything

Yeah it didn’t work

if you use your ego, your willpower

I’m going to change from this into that

how long is it going to last?

really you can’t maintain

willpower for a long period of time

the way that you do develop is by what you do

by living and working in the world
I have a number of videos of

American soldiers being trained

and this is what we

something that we study in psychology
when they join the army

and they join because they want to throw

they want to carry machine guns

and they want to fire tanks

and they want to

fire missiles from airplanes

and the first thing they do is

they have to make their bed

So the army knows that

if you are going to train somebody

if you are going to change somebody

it’s not with these ideas

‘I’m going to be this, this or this person’

it’s through a simple daily, regular training practice

so in the same way we are doing that

with the meditation

this is what rituals are about

this is why rituals are a way to

train yourself in a way that your

ego or your willpower

can’t maintain

if you get up in the morning and you

you do your bows to the Buddha statue

it’s remembering that today

in this day

there is something that is greater than myself

there is something more beautiful than myself

there is something that I am aspiring to

and so you do your bows

I do my bows every morning – 12 bows

or do your chanting. Do the recitation

we did some of it today

if you can do the chanting every day

rituals are a way to develop

a part of your character
that your will power can’t develop

and this is why all religious traditions

get into rituals

you do it in lay life too, right?

when you get married

do you just go

sign your name. Right dear, we are married now

No you want to introduce a kind of ritual

you want to make it harder to get married

you want to

identify that space

an aspiration

by doing something a bit more difficult

a bit more ritualized

you get married in a nice dress

or a nice suit

you don’t get married in shorts and T-shirt

most people

so the rituals that we do

are what we call ‘Upaya’

expedient means


if you like

that we use in order to develop a consistent practice



is coming home to yourself

it’s not a dogma

we’re not teaching you

sacred chants and recitations

you’re not being asked to memorize ancient teeachings
or worship certain gods

all the things that

a lot of people do

the practice itself

is actually just coming home to your own being

and that’s real

that’s what really attracted me to Buddhism
in the first place

because when I close my eyes

and I turn my attention back

this is my own being

if it’s bright – well then it’s really bright

if I’m sleepy, then that’s really sleepy

that’s actually the experience that’s happening

and that really attracted me

about Buddhism

is that you are not trying to impose any external form

It’s coming back to exactly who I am

exactly how I am

it’s not a worship

it’s not a ritual

it’s not a competition

this is the way my being actually is

and what we’re doing is we are turning the attention

back on your self

for all animals

our attention flows outwards

and when I say ‘outwards’
this is a model

there are different ways to model

the experience of being alive

the experience of being a human being


one should be careful about mixing models

you use a model because it

explains something and predicts something

so we don’t need to get too confused with mixing different models

Freud did this – he had this


conscious mind, pre-conscious and unconscious

was one of his models

and then he had the

id, the ego and the superego

and then he tried to say

well ego – is that in the conscious,
the unconsciuos or the pre-conscious?

where’s the superego – is that?
and he got horribly mixed up

I quite liek Freud

but he really

he went completely off the rails

when he was trying to mix his own models together

So when I say ‘turning the attention back inwards’

this is a model, right?

this is just a particular way
to understand your experience

So in this model

the attention of the mind flows outwards

Now, ‘outwards’ is into the world

and the world means ‘everything that changes’

so your thinking also


considered ‘out there’ in the world

because it’s something that moves

something that changes

it comes up
it goes down

it disappears, it comes back

it’s happy
it’s unhappy

so it’s considered ‘outside’

it’s considered ‘the world’


when we look at

say, the body and the mind

which we were doing earlier on in the meditation

in Buddhist terms
or in Indian mystic terms

both the body and the mind

are both external

they are both in this realm of Samsara

which is the things that change

things that arise, and cease and pass away

things that are unstable

so both the body and the mind are both

on that Samsara – that changing side

on the other side you have the unchanging

in Buddhism we call this the ‘unconditioned’

in some of the Hindu schools they call this the Atman

but the Atman

which they call a ‘Self’ (with a capital S)


when you use ‘Self’ that is not
referring to your self as your personality

your personality –
your hopes, your dreams, your aspirations

your neurosis, your fears, your past

your future

that’s your personality, it’s not your Atman

the Atman is unchanging

or in Buddhist terms, the ‘unconditioned’


and this unchanging

aspect of your being is your real nature

according to the mystic tradition

so in order to come back to your real nature

you have to turn the attention around

come back to your own self, your own home

and this is what we are doing in the meditation

every time the mind wanders out

to the past or the future

wanders out into the physical sensations of the body

or the sounds or the sights

every time you find your attention
getting caught up in those you stop

and you break that habit

and return your attention back home

sounds will go
and physical feelings will go on

and there are times when you need to investigate

sounds or feelings

and we will work with that in one of the later weeks

but for this week I just want to

have clear this idea of the mind leaking outwards

into activity

and this is your habit

‘habit’ is a good word for Karma

because you’ve done it in the past

since you were very young

your parents were teaching you

to look at the things that you can do

the things that you can make

the things that you can attain

you’e been trained from day 1
to send your attention outside

my parents were very proud of me when

we had a big AGA cooker, which is a coal


powered, coal power cooker

and to make the toast you have to lift up the top

and put your toast [bread actually] on to the cooker

and I wasn’t big enough or strong enough
to lift the top up

I could only get it half way up
it was quite heavy

so I would always have to call my mother to come and

start my toast

and then one day … there’s like a tap

at the bottom of the AGA

I think it’s a drainage tap or something

and I figured out if I stand on the tap

I can lift the top up, of the AGA

all by myself and I don’t have to call my mum

I said “mum mum, I can do it by myself”

she says “oh that’s really good,
now I don’t have to go and do it for you”

so she gives me a whole bunch of congratulations

“you’re growing up, you’re getting bigger

“you’re getting stronger, you’re getting smarter”

“I’m so proud of you, I’m so happy”

and then the tap broke

because I was standing on it

“you’re so stupid, you’re so rotten!”

so you’ve been trained from an early age
to send your attention outwards

here we’re turning the attention back around

and facing it back towards your own real nature

it’s not something that’s been made up

it’s not something that you have to learn about

or that’s given by a Buddha, or anybody else

It’s your nature

and if it’s your nature,
well then it should be something beautiful

this unchanging aspect

you can think of it like a light

like a torch in a room

and you shine a torch around a darkened room

and what do you see?
You see the books

bookcase, TV, computer, desk, a chair, a table, the bed

light switch, a picture

ceiling, the floor, carpet

you see everything except the light

the light’s right there
right in front of your face

but you miss it because you are seeing the things

in the same way

your own real nature is right there

it’s bright, it’s strong, it’s pure
it’s never changed

it’s not something that you create

It’s right there. It’s your nature

but you miss it

because your attention is so caught up
with the things that change

the things that come into your awareness

so our process is one of breaking the attachment

to the things of awareness

so that we can turn around
and see the awareness itself

Seeing that will


may well have come – you get glimpses
you get flashes

from time to time

the mind comes together, you are like …

oh right – that’s it

the enlightened people
they describe it as ‘remembering’

they don’t describe it as

creating something

not even attaining to something
it’s remembering something that was right there

it’s right in front of you

so close that you miss it

there’s a story that describes this

this is a favorite story of Poonjaji, Papaji

he was an Indian guru who I quite liked

He said there was a lion cub

that got separated from it’s parents

this is before the Lion King !

it got separated from its parents


it got adopted by a bunch of donkeys

Now remember – stories work

by representation, by symbols

and a donkey symbolizes ignorance

and innocence

ignorance and innocence
are very very close together

this is an interesting topic, but we’ll skip it

So the lion grows up with the donkeys

and it eats grass like a donkey

and it neighs like a donkey

and it gallops like a donkey

i guess some things it doesn’t do like a donkey

and then one day

it is with the other donkeys, and

the most frightening thing that is possible occurs

there’s a great roar goes up

in the jungle

and this is the lion’s roar

and the lion is the king of the jungle
because it has the king of roars

you think an elephant would be king of the jungle but it …

a trumpet is a bit squeaky and forced –
it’s not a roar

and so all the donkeys are terrified
and they all run off
and the lion is like

“what are we running from?”

“we’re running from the lions – they are dangerous”

it so happened that one day

the lions snuck up on the donkeys

and roared when they were very close

and the donkeys ran off
but the young lion cub who was now grown up

who thinks he’s a donkey

is captured by the other lions

and but the lions don’t eat him

and he says

the donkeys told me I had to fear you

and the lions said
“there’s nothing to fear”

and he said “but why?
The donkeys told me we have to fear you”

and they said “Yes, but you’re not a donkey”

“you’re a lion!”

he says “I’m not a lion – I eat grass”

“I neigh, I gallop”

they said “no no, you’re a donkey”

“no no, you’re a lion”

He says “I’m not a lion, I know I’m not a lion
I’ve never been a lion”

“How can I become a lion?
I’d like to be a lion!”

“what do I have to do to become a lion?”

and the [other] lion says
“you already are a lion”

and so ..

the lion that thinks he’s a donkey, what does he do?

so the head lion says to him

“all you have to do”

“is roar!”

and eventually the young …
the lion goes off

and he neighs and he makes some sounds

and eventually he roars

and he realizes

oh that’s right, I am a lion

So Papaji would tell this story

he was an enlightened guy

i believe – how can you tell?

take an online test or something??

how can you tell?

he would tell this story

to say “you know, this enlightenment is your real nature”

It’s not something that you have to develop

it’s not something that you have to attain to

It’s what you are, it’s who you are

you need to wake up and roar

So I really like this …

way of …

I like things in story rather than metaphysics and things

it makes more sense in a story

so this is your own real nature that you are returning to

in order to return to it

in order to stop seeing the objects in the room

and start noticing the light

that is coming from you,
from your hand, from your flashlight

you have to turn the attention around

To turn the attention around, you have to break

the process of attachment with
all the things of the world

so this is what we are starting to do in meditation

when you sit

and you be with yourself

break that attachment
it’s not going to be very worthwhile in worldly eyes

they say “well, you’re just sitting there!”

but this is the process to get back to who you are

according to the Buddha

he had one little story, he said


coming back to this .. what he called the ‘unconditioned’


would cost you 100 years

of the most diabolical torment

in the worst hell

I would say to you “do it”

he said

but it isn’t

this practice

is beautiful in the beginning

beautiful in the middle

and beautiful in the end

it’s one of the key sayings of Buddhism

So …

This unconditioned nature is your own real nature

we are trying to break the attachment with the things of the world

turn the attention around and be with yourself

every so often the mind will just come together

and become bright

and it seems kind of obvious

“oh that’s it”

“that’s where it is”

of course, then your ego, thinking

grasping mind is like
“oh yeah, I’ve got it now, I’m doing it”

“I’ll be a teacher. I’ll give up my job”

“yeah I can teach meditation now”

and of course, it’s all gone by that time

it [ego] tries to get hold of the experience

but just for that flash, just for that moment

“oh that’s right!”

some people will have had this

you can have it through drugs sometimes

you get like a glimpse

you have it in meditation sometimes

you have it in

near death experiences sometimes

some people just have these experiences
when they are very young

I remember a whole chain of experiences
that I had when I was younger

that I think are what
put that seed in my mind

these experiences come in two kinds

there are disenchantment experiences

and illuminatory experiences

of course we all want the illuminatory experiences

where suddenly you see brightness,
you see light

you see beauty, you see ..

this is what it really is! “oh right!”

it’s illuminating

you know that’s what we all like

but probably more

useful are the disenchantment experiences

‘this is not what it is, this is not what it’s like’

‘this is not my real nature’

and these are the experiences that start to
break you from the attachment

in the world

So I’ll talk more about those, maybe, in one of the other weeks

the task for this week

to go and practice

if you are of a mind to

is to count the breathing. Count the breaths

so as you breath in, you count ‘1’

and you breath out

the next breath in you count ‘2’

and you breath out

and so on, up to 10

if you can get all the way from 1-10

and without your mind wandering off anywhere

then you go from 10 back down to 1 again

Now when you first do it

it’s not that difficult

you can usually get from 1 to 5

1 to 8, 1 to 10

but the more you do it

the less far you are going to get

so eventually you can’t even get to 1

without your mind wandering off somewhere

and you think,

‘this is getting worse, I really can’t do it’

this is good!

because you are starting
to see your own mind more clearly

the only reason you could get from 1-10

was because you think you got from 1-10

but actually your mind was off doing other things

and then every so often it’s
“10, hey I got to 10!”

it’s like
1 -what’s for dinner

2,3,4,5 and the mind is going “what’s for dinner?”

“I can have this, I can have that, I’ll go see this friend”

And then you’re like

“Oh! I got to 10!”

‘Yay – I must be a real meditator!”

the more you do it, the more you see

you can’t even get to 1, without your mind wandering off

this is good!

because you can see what’s happening in your mind

which ordinary people can’t

if you haven’t trained yourself, you can’t see it

so don’t be dismayed

if you find yourself getting less and less close to 10

you may find yourself at other times

when you do get to 10

and all the way from 10 back down to 1 again

without the mind wandering off

yes – happens

this is not because now
you are doing your meditation really well

this is because you were doing
your meditation well in the past

and now it’s giving you the payoff, the dividends

if you like

so your good meditation when you are really clear

this happens because of the work
that you’ve put in previously

not because you are now doing it correctly
you win Wimbledon
– it’s not because you played the best match

it’s because you’ve trained
for the last 15 years in how to play tennis

same with the meditation

so if it [mind] does come together, great!

this is the result of what you’ve done before

it won’t last for that long

if you can get from 1-10 and all the way from 10 back down to 1 again

without your mind wandering off

you probably don’t need to do the counting anymore

you can stop

and I want to leave it open to you – dynamic meditation

you are the only one
who is experiencing your meditation

I don’t experience it

no teacher is going to come and experience it

nobody is going to put their hand in your head

and twiddle the knobs
and set everything right for you

you’re the one that experiences it

So it’s up to you to determine whether

you should be using this counting method or not

if the mind is coming together,
it’s bright and it’s clear

you really don’t need any special meditation method

you may note 2 kinds of

experience, as the thinking goes ahead

one is that thinking will come up

and you are lost

you’ve lost count

in that case you stop and you go back to 1 again

the other experience is

you might find that the thinking starts to come up

but you don’t get lost in it

so half of you is counting

and the other half is kind of, like …

trying to go off this way thinking

that’s ok!
Because you’ve maintained your awareness

you can keep counting – and it counts!

but if you get lost in that thinking

and you forget about the counting

you stop, and you come back to 1 again

this will help to

break the attachment to the thinking

and later on we do ‘Investigation of States’

which means we investigate things that are going on

and we investigate what thinking is

how it works, what it’s patterns are
and are not

but to investigate it …

investigation in Buddhist terms means


or ‘witnessing’

that’s how we investigate things

and so

by doing this counting method

you are training yourself to be able to observe

your own thinking

because you’re not losing your self awareness,
and your self-presence

while the thinking comes up
and tries to grab your attention

you may even feel it pulling on you

think of it like a thought tugging on your leash

because your mind has you on a leash

it has you trained like a little puppy

and the thought comes up

and it yanks you
“come think about me! Think about me!”

“Believe me! Believe me!”

and you stop!
Hang on!

I don’t have to believe you
and I don’t have to follow you

this will afford you so many insights

but we’ll talk about those in another week

So try the counting method

I’m going to leave it up to you whether you do it

how you do it

you can get a little bit dynamic

which means you can play with it a bit

have fun with it

rather than

applying a rigorous meditation method
that a teacher has given you

the 7th step of walking!

it’s not going to get you enlightened any faster

because you do the 7th step

Play with it a little bit

this dynamic approach to meditation

means it will take you longer to learn to meditate

than if I simply say to you
“do this, this, this and this!”

“don’t listen to any other teachers
don’t go to any other schools”

“don’t turn on YouTube
do what I say”

you can get into meditation faster that way

but it’s not wise

and then you would always be reliant on the teacher

if you are willing to investigate and play a little bit

take a dynamic approach

it will take you longer to learn meditation


in the end you will be better at it

you’ll be less dependent on the teacher

and you will know what the right meditation method is

for the moment that you are in

because some days you might really need to like,
screw your face up

and really try

and other days you might need to just

“Hey, I’m just walking down the street!”

I can’t tell you
I don’t know what your state of mind is

you probably wouldn’t believe me anyway

so if you have practiced this kind of dynamic approach

you start to get the feel for what needs to be done

and in my opinion – I think

one should trust you, in these things

I never liked teachers that always told me what to do

I like to hear them tell other people what to do

and then I’ll do it later

I’ll do it later,
when I can pretend that I thought of it myself

that’s always been my approach

OK so is that clear enough for everybody?

to do counting meditaiton