Spirit Grooves Blogs

Published on March 16, 2014

There is a gravitational component to mind training, but I have not often seen it mentioned, so now is a good time, since it is almost zero outside on this very cold morning and spring is still not here. This little poem I wrote can serve as an introduction.

The same world,
That early on,
Makes it difficult,
To meditate,
Makes it difficult,
Not to.

The above poem kind of points at what I am getting to here, the fact that the very same forces that make it difficult to meditate in the beginning lock us into the meditation groove later on. I thought some readers might like to know at least something about this principle of meditational physics.

Actually great meditation masters (like Patrul Rinpoche) have pointed this out long ago:

"Don't Prolong the Past,
Don't Invite the Future."

The gravity (grave) of the past is constantly pulling us in one direction, just as the hope of the future is pulling in another. We would like to be present (in the present moment), but most of the time we are caught somewhere in-between, distracted by the past and the future. We all spend a lot of time in those two places, anywhere but right here and now. We all know this.

And this is not true because I say it is. I say it is because it is true, and like Buddhism requires, we each have to test this truth for ourselves. Check it out. When we learn to meditate, it is just about impossible to put the ball in the pocket, so to speak. No matter what we do, it rolls the other way, either toward the past or the future. After all, that is what learning meditation technique is all about, allowing the mind to rest in the present, right?

There is a learning curve here, let's call it a pocket, one that we habitually roll away from due to our distractions until we are less distracted, at which time we begin to roll the other way – into the pocket. Just ask a musician what being "in the pocket" or "in the groove" means. They know.

So there you have my analogy. As long as our habitual distractions "distract" us, we find it difficult to rest in the present moment. We roll away from the pocket of the present. As we gradually remove our tendency to be distracted, we start to settle more in the present, and roll into the pocket, so to speak. And we can stat there.

There is one thing that is very encouraging to know: the same mental gravitational forces that make it difficult to rest in the present, as my poem says, also make it difficult not to as we actually learn to meditate. This is good news!

Once we are no longer affected by the forces of distraction, we begin to settle into the pocket of the present and remain securely seated there. I find this almost magical.

In my experience this present moment (being in the pocket) is the window, not only through which we can see the true nature of our mind, but also the stylus or laser-beam of insight by which we inscribe the story of our life clearly and perfectly in the karma of the mind, without being distracted.

Where before we were all over the place, every-which-way-but-loose, as they say, with practice the lure of the past and the future evaporate and we are more and more seated in the window of this present moment. In fact, in time, there is no other place that we feel comfortable other than right here and now, as this little poem points out:

Not an option,
But a refuge,
Less painful than:
Anywhere else.