Friday, October 10, 2014

Beyond the Mat, by Eric Lussier

Shang Longrik Gyatso Rinpoche Students
Reflections by Eric Lussier from Canada

Practicing Buddhism has been an incredible eye opening experience. My first encounter with it was in a quiet room with my eyes closed, sitting on a cushion with my spine straight. The scene was the perfect environment for me to find a glimpse of the quietude that my mind was craving in my busy life. I went at least a year practicing meditation before I encountered a master who teaches from a long lineage of Buddhist practice. Meeting him, I was immediately captured by the elusive idea of “practice” in Buddhism.

My Buddhist teacher, Shang Longrik Gyatso Rinpoche, introduced me within the first month of my studies to the concept of looking at my life as the training grounds for transforming the mind. Meditation was then no longer separated from my daily life. Meditation is present in every activity of life: from cooking, cleaning, sleeping and even communicating. Every activity had its own unique challenges and opportunities to know myself (or my mind) better in each moment. This helped to establish the grounds for transforming thoughts that were often the culprits behind the scenes of my mind – wreaking havoc on my mental stability.

Meditation is sometimes useful in developing relaxation and adding clarity to our concentration. However, many newly developed meditation forms often stop there. The transforming possibilities of the mind are then limited. It took me a while before I came to realize that meditating could also be an escape from myself, contrary to the original intention of my meditation.  Rinpoche has shared with us before that:  “…true practice is when people understand how to use awareness to observe the myriad living things and manifestations of our world…”

The description begs meditation practitioners to get up and face the world and others, as well as to face themselves and practice awareness in each moment of their lives, not only just 15 minutes each day. Practicing under Rinpoche’s astute guidance has allowed me to see my thoughts and myself more clearly.  My eyes are now open to the limitless opportunities, methods and places of practicing meditation throughout my busy life.

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