Self (mini) meditation retreat

meditation

It is important to go to a bit more concentrated meditation environment once in a while. The first and last time I went on a week retreat was last summer. With the show schedule 8 shows a week, I’m not be able to do that for a while. I’m trying to come up with some creative idea to sit a little longer.

My fiancé and pup went away for a few days and I had a day off to myself. It’s been 7 weeks since Miss Saigon opened. I wasn’t going to do much and enjoy just chilling out for a day without a plan.

I happened to take 10 AM class at MNDFL , which led me to take another at 11 AM, then noon… the same teacher was teaching for those three classes and told me that she was teaching another three in Williamsburg. I don’t think she was telling me to come but I said ok I’ll see you there. I ate and did a little yoga, and headed to three more classes.

In the end, I sat around 4 hours that day. That’s pretty good to me. The midday sit is usually hardest… I just fall asleep lol There was moments of that too but over all the momentum that was building up that allowed me to just be with whatever arising was fun to see.

And there comes another day, I can’t even count the breath up to 10. Haha.

I guess I’m not dead

meditation

The one thing I learned through mindfulness is that I’m not going to stop thinking. The mind thinking is as natural as my body breathing. I guess trying to stop thinking is like trying to stop breathing…. not smart lol My teacher would say if you can stop thinking you are either dead or enlightened. 

It becomes a bit problematic when I get hooked into the inner narrative/ story I tell myself. So I come back to the body sensation of breaths because it’s always there whether I like it or not, which really means that breathing is happening in the present moment. For the thinking mind, maybe I don’t have to push it away but just watch it as I can observe breathing…… sometimes. 

Why would you take a class

meditation

I practiced at home alone for more than a year before I started to go to group sittings. Good two years until I found this wonderful home MNDFL where I got certified as a meditation teacher. 

Putting that aside, it is a wonderful place to practice with other people who has similar interests without any dogmatic religious teachings. I still practice at home alone daily, but going to MNDFL is very important part of my practice. Having teachers in person who came from different traditions and can answer questions on the spot is amazing. Also with hearing other people’s experience through meditation makes me feel I’m not alone. 

Don’t get me wrong. There are tons of amazing groups/places in the city for meditation. But MNDFL offers so many teachers from different lineages in one place through out the day and week. What a great gate way to start the journey.  I’d say you may wanna find out yourself why you would take a meditation class!

So there is one more school of buddhism

meditation

I don’t want to make this blog all about Buddhism and religious stuff, but I must say it’s hard to separate:

1. I grew up watching monks visiting home and going to temples in Japan so I don’t mind the religious aspects of it.
2. Mindfulness came from Buddhist tradition although what’s taught here is usually secular version of it.
3. A little mystic, magical, rainbow, unicorn, woo-woo in life wouldn’t hurt anyone.

So the three schools of Buddhism are Theravada, Mahayana, and Vajrayana. I talked about Zen(Mahayana) and Tibetan(Vajrayana) because that was a part of my earlier journey meditating in NYC. Theravada Buddhism is called the oldest one. Again and again, with my micro knowledge, they go back to original teaching of Buddha in the Pāli Cannon (scripture). In the US it is also known as Insight or Vipassanā. Those who brought the big part of mindfulness practice back to the west are in this tradition, Sharon Salzberg, Joseph Goldstein, Jack Kornfield… so yeah.

Actually I practice and research a lot on this tradition now, because those people have written great books on mindfulness and loving-kindness. It gives me a nice guideline to practice and teach mindfulness. Also I listen to the podcast created by Dharma Punx. It’s mixture of Buddhism and neuron science, making the teaching very relatable to daily life.

I will write about different wisdom traditions too but the bottom line is….. it’s all the same shit in a very positive and wonderful way. There are so many similarities with different emphasizes. One may suit someone better in some ways, but really it’s all very good is what I want to say.