Sunday, January 29, 2006

Exploring your inner life

Today, I came across a form of insight meditation or reflection that can be done with or without pen and paper. I found it on the website called, "Zen Practice and Dharma study". Here's how the process goes:
The thousand-petaled lotus meditation is a symbolic rendition of the idea that everything is connected to everything else and that nothing is really separate and isolated from all the rest of the universe. For this meditation you chose an image or idea to be the center of the lotus flower. Start out with ideas like: flower, love, peace, light, home, or friend. Later you could use words like: angry, sad, or pain. The petals of your flower symbolize the connection between the center to other ideas that come up. Look at the petal idea for awhile then let it go returning to the central idea after you have observed each petal idea. Try to observe the association between the center idea to the petal idea. This style may lead to surprising insights about your inner life if consistently worked at. It is also used to observe particular problems or conflicts.

For example: Suppose I place "peace" at the center of the lotus. Then while I'm meditating, I think of one of my cats. The connection is that I feel peaceful while stroking my cat. Then suppose I think of taking out the garbage. I may initially think that this is something that takes me away from peace since I dislike taking out the garbage. But, in exploring a bit deeper, I might then realize that only from a state of inner peace can I let go of my aversion to taking out the garbage or I might realize that if war were to come to our shores, our infrastructure might be so damaged that there would be nobody to collect the garbage so I'm privileged to take out the garbage during peacetime. Do you see how that works? This is a wonderful exercise for examining and investigating one's inner life.

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