From the BlogMeet Ron


Honolulu folks –> Join a supportive group of like-minded folks tonight 4/28/16, for meditation, mindful movement and discussion at our place, 3241 Alani Drive, in Manoa, at the usual time: 6 to 7:30 PM. If you have a meditation cushion please bring; if not, no worries. The front door opens at 5:50. Note: please do not park in the driveway, as we share this rented house with another couple and we do not want them to be blocked in. Thanks!
Dear friends,
As we develop experience in meditation, we begin to appreciate the ability to see what’s going on inside with greater clarity and humor.
When we hit a rough patch in a meditation session, such as restlessness or boredom, we can actually see how moods arise. This is a very useful skill, as in noticing ourselves identifying with moods, which are really just clusters of associated thoughts and images, we create a little space in which we can intervene before we are completely swept away.
To become a well-rounded meditator, I feel, it’s helpful to become familiar with a handful of meditative tools, and to have access to them in the moment.
For example, sometimes we may feel a melancholic mood coming over us, or a depressed one; and if we are alert, we can gain the direct realization of the ways of our deep mind.
When a melancholic cluster of thoughts or images enters, say, you may remember how this led to feelings such as “this meditation is going nowhere.”
This is an intimate “knowing” of an often unconscious pattern in your deep mind.
In time you gain a sense of what works to uplift your mind, brighten your mood, and bring fresh enthusiasm to the path.
You may feel this goes counter to instructions where we are simply attentive to moods in a nonjudgmental way, without wanting them to change.
Yes, of course …
But the Buddha also taught ways to “gladden the mind”– when we meditatively know we are going down a rabbit hole of unhealthy mind states, we see this is happening, and have the space and judgement to bring out an appropriate tool – such as reflection of loving-kindness, or an immediate dousing of our heart’s malaise in the sound of rain on the lanai’s tin roof.
Or the smell of white or yellow ginger in the yard.
Or contemplating the earth, as the Buddha taught his own son, Rahula.
Meditate, instructed, so that your mind is like earth. Lots of disagreeable stuff gets tossed on the earth, buried in the earth, yet the earth isn’t offended. When you make your mind like earth, all the scary, yucky, embarrassing, lusty thoughts can more easily, organically compost.
But this can get tricky at first. It just takes time for you to be unmistakably aware of your own inner landscape.
To see when that when this mind state comes up, it leads to this.
To see when just pure mindfulness, plain and simple, works for you in the rough patches.
And when it’s time to bring out a time tested tool to gladden the mind, in the Buddha’s phrasing. This often means that you have to explore on your own, to try this and that at times, and learn for yourself what works when.
One Buddhist monk, I think it was Ajahn Bram, said “You need to learn how to read your own mind.”
I will leave you with two passages from talks by another well-known Western born monk, Ajahn Thanissaro, on the spirit of the teachings the Buddha gave on gladdening the mind:
So when the path starts getting discouraging and the mind starts feeling dry, these are things you can think about to remind yourself that you’re on a good path. It may be a long path, but it’s a lot better than not being on a path at all, or on a path that requires compromises in terms of your ideals, in terms of your sense of what’s right and honorable, and then yields a happiness that laughs in your face and runs away.
And –
For instance, there will be times in your meditation when things aren’t going as well as you’d like. In cases like that, it can be helpful to go outside and look at the beauty of nature around you — the clouds, the sunset, the moon and the stars at night — to help clear and refresh your mind. There are passages in the Canon where Maha Kassapa, who was one of the strictest and sternest of the Buddha’s disciples, talks about the beauty of nature. The constant refrain in his verses is of how the hills, the mountains bathed in rain, and the jungle refresh him. Some of the first wilderness poetry in the world is in the Pali Canon — an appreciation of the beauties of not just nature but of wild nature. That sort of appreciation is part of the skill in learning how to gladden the mind.
Learn to read you own mind.
Experiment with meditative tools and reflections that have worked wonders for those who have walked this amazing path before us.
And don’t be afraid to be bold, to gently investigate your own mind, and step into the never dispiriting stream radical freedom, here and now.
Katina and I are here to support your meditation practice in any way we can.
Aloha, Tom, Katina, Uilalani and Kupaianaha
If the spirit moves you, please help spread the word about mindfulness meditation by:
–>> sharing this email with friends who may be interested or
–>> following us on our new Facebook Page  where there are other goodies or
–>> checking out our blog with other stuff like this to read

Ron Richey
439 Nahua Street #2
Honolulu, Hi 96815

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