This is a transcribed Guided Meditation and Talk on Developing Power of the Heart and Power of the Mind. The transcription has been edited, modified and adapted for readability.
SanghaLive and Marnie hosted the session on Sunday 25 September 2022.
A warm welcome. Let’s get underway. Power matters. Responsible, caring, loving power really matters. What we are faced with outwardly, and sometimes inwardly, is the abuse of power, the exploitation of power through anger, blame, control, exploitation, domination and discrimination. This misunderstanding of the nature of power, and the outcome of it, affects our views, perceptions and relationship to life.
SanghaLive begins the session with practice. Practice takes priority. Our sessions fall into two areas – power of the heart, power of the mind. I will distinguish the two. This practice is a guided meditation with a reflection running through it. Lend an ear.
First is the posture. The posture itself is a form of quiet empowerment when we sit tall and upright. Let’s sit tall and upright, whether you sit on a chair, cross-legged or use a stool, indoors or outdoors. I’m going to close my eyes. Your eyes can close, open, half open.
A Guided Meditation/Reflection on Developing the Heart and Developing the Mind
The guided meditation consists of two or three sentences then silence for 30 – 60 seconds and then another two or three sentences alternating through the 30 minutes.
We are human beings, creatures of the earth, women, men and other. We experience a day-to-day life with a remarkable potential to know ourselves well and deeply. This requires meditation and reflection. We have an interest to develop power of the heart and mind.
We have a core question to ask ourselves: Am I committed to developing my heart, to empowering my heart?
What are the ways to confirm development of the power of the heart? This requires a profound interest, a priority for the application of our energy.
A significant expression of our dedication develops the power of the heart. This reveals itself through expressions of love – kindness, friendship, service, sharing, romantic love, compassion, non-reactivity.
We support an unwavering motivation in the daily opportunities to reveal love for our welfare. This love shows through caring behaviour, diet, health, posture, exercise and the way we view ourselves and think about ourselves.
In an equivalent way, outwardly, we bring the power of the heart to others, to creatures and the natural world. We consciously cultivate and evolve through the recognition of love and placing it in the centre of consciousness.
This requires learning to handle the challenges that love faces.
We commit ourselves to develop the power of mind.
The power of the mind also requires tremendous dedication. Are we prepared to give priority to develop the power of the mind? The mind includes knowledge worth knowing.
What knowledge/information/views can we dispense with in our daily life? Do we live in the superficiality, the tedium of relentless information pouring into our mind bringing about a suffocating numbness to our lives?
We give ourselves the opportunity to find out what is worth knowing. What is the knowledge giving us the opportunity to go deep into an issue?
What views emerge out of knowledge? Do we have the power to say yes to ethical and caring knowledge?
Do we have the power to abide in silence in the of the mind so, we don’t slip and slide into the trivial the irrelevant, the indecisive. This provides the potential for wisdom, unification and integration of a healthy heart and clear seeing mind. Heart-mind can make a powerful contribution to this troubled world.
What do you talk about? What do you read? What do you listen to? What do you think about? These teachings and practices emphasise the application of power with a capacity to take bold steps.
Trust in love and wisdom rather than waste your life on the trivial.
Let’s liberate as much love and wisdom in heart and mind, into this world as possible.
A Talk on Developing the Power of Heart and the Power of Mind
We hear a great deal about power. We can transfer power to the external world and those rotten and corrupt institutions we constantly endure. We listening to accounts of the abuse of behaviour – justified and supported with all sorts of warped reasoning.
If we project onto abusive authority, we neglect loving power, wise power/spiritual power. We dissipate our power as a human being. The power transfers to the abusers of power. We recover our power, so we do not give power to the other – the organisation, business, religion or the institution, the politics or the individual.
Look very carefully where you make the transference of the power onto others. If you do that, you will experience two responses. Both are hopeless. You feel helpless. That’s the nightmare of transference.
You say “What can I do? I can’t do anything. They have all the power. They run things. It’s hopeless.” This is powerlessness. It is the voice of despair. It’s been going on for too long. Time to stop this transference.
The second response shows in being reactive. The reactive can come out as aggression, blame, fault finding, putting down others and slagging off others. We react and cannot see through the blind spot of anger. We see our manifestation of abuse of power in the world in the presence of our old, unresolved stuff. Be mindful, to use that buzzword, with regard to feelings of helplessness and blind reactivity.
With wise conservation of power, we become emboldened to find our voice. We speak up, protest, to offer a different view of things. Our trust in the power of love and knowledge, a combination called wisdom, goes deep within us. We put aside needing the approval of others and put aside needing our own approval for what we do.
This puts an end to living in this fictional world of low self-esteem and inflated self-importance. This fiction runs up and down the scale of views about ourselves. This is a hopeless way of perceiving. The exploration of our relationship to power requires dedication to the integration of heart and mind on the daily basis. Then we can face the challenges that life throws at us.
The Sanskrit word siddhi refers to miraculous powers. The Pali word is iddhi – referring to power of our being – not walking through walls, walking on water and other distractions divorced from reality. The Buddha pointed out four primary areas to develop inner power.
1. Awareness. What do I need to be aware of? What are the changes, subtle or gross, contributing to the heart’s development of power – through kindness, love, appreciative joy, compassion, care, sensitivity, respect, kindness, generosity. You do not develop power to become a good person. This power has nothing to do with being a good person and the need for approval. This is the empowerment of the whole being to liberate the precious into the world.
2. Meditation/Unification of being. I think of meditation in diverse ways – solitude/aloneness, stillness. This can include formal practice or not. A retreat or meditation can make a genuinely valuable contribution. Meditation includes silence, stillness and being alone. You can be alone in the coffee shop. You can be alone in the nature or in your room. In that aloneness and stillness, an opportunity arises to listen to heart and mind. What’s the Whisper? What’s the nourishment? Meditations may have some method and technique or may not. That is important to remember. You can meditate on a poem, on a plant, on music and more.
3. Reflection: In our stillness we can then engage in a quiet reflection.
What are fresh ways to cultivate kindness and love?
What would be a bold step today?
What would it be to do something new or write something new, fresh, not done before. You place awareness, meditation and reflection together – on the bus going to work, indoors, sitting under a tree or wherever.
4. Energy. The first three require energy. The development of power for heart and mind requires energy. What will give you the energy to develop such a power? You bring together awareness, meditation. reflections, and energy. Explore and experiment. What will show the love today? What will show wisdom? What will develop non reactivity?
As a feature of clarity, we need to know ourselves well. Love can become inhibited, overshadowed when we feel stuck, indecisive and reactive. There is the experience of the don’t know, mind, don’t know what to do mind. You burn up energy in such states of mind. To liberate love, you need to be aware of what gets in the way of it. Address that. Reflect on it. Bring energy and interest to it. Meditate on what obstructs love. Talk about it. Share with others.
Know the potential then to move away from obstructions or dissolve them to free up the love. Do not be interested in feeling good about yourselves. It’s completely irrelevant. Freeing up love is not a self-comfort, an I, me and my approach to things. Power is an inner movement of the being to allow something to free itself up. Be interested. Be dedicated to something genuinely authentic. We wish to stay true to love.
Let me give you give you an example. I received a phone call. The person was standing outside the front of a hospital. I have known him for years. He said “I’ve just received some terrible news. I was diagnosed a few minutes ago with lung cancer.” Such information can trigger fear, stress, sleeplessness, acute anxiety and more for a person dealing with what he has just been told. The person needs a voice of support, the power of empathy and kindness to give nourishment to help them find a way through shocking and unexpected news. The heart matters in any significant conversation.
The Buddha reminds us to engage in reflection to contribute to handling a challenging situation? What will one say to another? I go regularly to church (coffee shop) for a cup of Holy Latte – oat latte. At the next table, four people were talking. One person’s wife had recently left him. He was upset, suffering, bitterly disappointed and sounded at times angry.
Three people with him were trying to give support. They barely asked any questions to the man in distress. They would give him advice. One criticised his wife. We tend to offer prescriptions. You must… You should…Tell her… Get on with your life… This is rhetoric. Useless. By the way, teachers tend to offer prescriptions.
What do we say? Engage in reflection on issues that we attend to. What shows a fresh, original way of engagement. If you have not meditated upon, reflected or inquired into, you will not have explored ways of expressing the power of knowledge. You will merely repeat what your conditioning says in an important conversation. Your conditioning will be much the same as lots of other people’s conditioning. A person struggling with an issue may conclude “it is not worth talking because I hear the same advice and I don’t need more advice.”
It is an undertaking to give time to reflection and meditation. Dig deep into the being. Respect the silence. Learn from external forms of knowledge, from the power of the mind of others. See what comes out of the deep. The deep tends to be fresh, original. Your depth will help change this world with all its ghastly suffering. The power of the heart-mind is important.
As human beings, we develop this power to express the voice, written or spoken, or through action. We transcend ourselves and the opinions of others, who try to hold us back. Such power offers a liberation from the limits of our own mind and the thoughts that go with it. It is a wise duty to take no notice of this mind.
Know the old, conditioned mind Oh, I can’t do this. I’m not very good, I’m not ready. And I haven’t gone very deep. Who am I to do anything? You can spend a lot of money (in therapy) trying to feel good about yourself. You can go back in your history, right back to Adam and Eve. It may not make any difference.
Your everyday mind might hold you back. You have not resolved nor understood why it’s holding you back. Never mind. Take no notice of it. Respond. In spite of ourselves, we initiate something. That’s true and authentic. This body of teachings is not dependent on how you feel. Feeling can generate influence. Please, please do not transfer power to what you feel or what you think. Take care with this. This is the wrong direction. You experience feelings, feeling tones and sensations. If you rely on your feelings, you won’t act. Perhaps, your feelings are nervous, hesitant or resistant. Perhaps the feelings are I can’t do this.
Power does not depend on feelings. Power does not require feelings for action. Reflect on the time when you acted. Remember what did not say or do, did not respond, due to a holding back. Perhaps, you didn’t want to sound reactive or were fearful of their reaction. Or despite feeling hesitant, you acted. All credit to you. This is called power. Power reveals itself in the wisdom of action and the wisdom of non-action. This power is not self-created, and certainly not created by the other.
Love and knowledge are extraordinarily precious. We find this in a variety of areas helpful and supportive. Look back on the past, reflect on people in the present who embody a wise power, who confirm the liberation of heart/mind, liberation of love and wisdom. Let’s learn from our teachers, gurus and wise souls. Let’s see what encourages them, what nourishes them. What did they say? What shows authenticity?
In the passage of years, we have no idea of the fruit of the small seeds we plant, no idea if what we do, will have any lasting benefit, or make any difference big or small. We don’t care. It’s not the priority that our actions in the world should work out. We stay true to the principle. That approach is part of that power. We have day-to-day life for this exploration.
Keep your precious eyes and ears open – from meetings with people from podcasts, reading, sharing and listening.
Take root in the deep of the being, so that you experience the benefit to find a fresh relationship revealing what power is about.
That’s the voice for the evening.
Let us have two minutes together in the silence.
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