The Three Foundations

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Okay, so let's jump into talking about meditation. And in this video in the next few videos, I'm really going to talk a lot about what meditation is and how it works. Because you will know that around the world there are so many different types of meditation. There's zen meditation, Hindu meditation, Buddhist meditation. There's guided meditations, one pointed meditations. There's mantra, meditations, Vipassana meditations.

There's just so many different meditations, that for a beginner, this may be confusing. So I'd like to try to clear up a little bit of that confusion in this and the next few videos to really hone in on talking about what meditation is. And it is important to listen to these videos because if you have a good concept of what meditation isn't what you're trying to achieve by it will make you a better meditator. So in this video, I'd like to talk about the fact that meditation is underpinned by three basic foundations. There are three parts of our mind that will enhance our meditation practice, and we get these fundamentals right and work on them. And our meditation practice will approve, improve accordingly.

The first of these foundations is that of habituation. So meditation to a large extent is just the habit of thinking in rational, calm, clear thought patterns. Now, our thought patterns obviously grow from where a young child and we have all of these disturbances like anger, hatred, jealousy, all the negative emotions, which weren't there when we were born, when we were a baby. So we're not born angry, frustrated or anxious. We actually learn these by modeling the people and the world around us. So if we see our parents get angry, we actually model that energy if you like, or that reaction to things that make them angry in their life, and we learn ourselves to cultivate that negative emotion.

Now, over time, those particular emotions turn into a habit of mind. And that habit of mind gets so ingrained that we begin to think that's who we are. Well, meditation is really habituating the mind. So what we do is if we practice, if we practice once a day, for 10 minutes a day and practice calming thoughts, we are actually building up the habit of a calm, peaceful mind. Now if we also practice within Meditation that when we have a negative thought, we bring it back to concentration on the breath or a calmness of mind, where a guy in creating a habit to go from a negative emotion to a col emotion. So first and foremost, meditation is that habit of trying to bring the mind back to a calm state of mind.

Now, I hope that you I will encourage you through this course to meditate regularly, ideally once a day. And if you gradually build up that habit, you might find that one day even out of normal life, that you might be walking along the street and suddenly, you habitually go into a calm state of mind the same state of mind that you might have been when you meditating. And this is when we bring meditation into the rest of our life. And this is where the habituation is, you know, coming good now I also like to think of this as from the neurological point of view is that these patterns of mind or these habits are nothing but new pathways in our mind. So groups of neurons connect together to form pathways and get reinforced. Every time we think that certain way and think that certain pattern.

And so once a neural pathway, let's say, anxiety is reinforced, then whenever we get a situation similar to what triggered that anxiety in the past, we will go down that same route of anxiousness. So when we're trying to change habits in our meditation, it's also like changing the neural pathways in our mind. So that's the first foundation of meditation and it's why it's good to practice as often as possible. In fact, I would suggest that it's better to practice every day, we'll say five or 10 minutes a day. Then once a week for An hour, because that little bit every day, boss to create a habit, then if you do it either an extended period once a week, even though that's great, too. So what is the second foundation?

So the second foundation of meditation is wisdom, or understanding of your mind. So as you practice meditating every day, and getting into that peaceful state of mind, we are looking inside at our own thought patterns. And not only we practice changing those thought patterns, but every now and again, we have what's called an aha moment, I'm sure you've had one of those moments where suddenly you recognize a patent of your mind or you come across some sort of wisdom. And think I'm never going to think down that line. Again. It's silly to think down that line.

This is a much more wise way to think. And these aha moments can be quite profound. Now this insight into our mind and the way mind thinks is the second foundation of meditation. Because instead of looking out there, and by the way, we spend probably 95% or 99% of our time concentrating on all the problems out in the world. In meditation, we are looking inside at our own mind, we're actually seeing the patterns of our mind unfold in real time. And this can lead us to these insights of mind.

So that's the second foundation. Now, the third and final foundation is that of an open heart. And you might initially question well, what is an open heart and when I say that, I mean things like love, gratitude, generosity, compassion, those feelings of inclusiveness of other beings. And you might ask, Why is that a foundation of meditation. So let me explain briefly and I'll go into a further later lessons in the in this course. But briefly, if you have a kind and loving and a mind that is open to helping others, that implies that you are more selfless than selfish.

And the mind gets distracted by desires and aversions have what I want and what I hate and want to get rid of in our mind. Those are the things that stir up strong emotions, you know mine and cause the biggest distraction. Now, if you are to get rid of distraction, then one needs to get rid of these strong emotional thought patterns about what we really, really want to happen in our life. And what we really, really don't want to have happen in our life. So, aversion and desire. Now, as you get rid of these patterns, then you will necessarily become more selfless because you are not thinking Selfish manner anymore because you're not thinking so much about what I want or what I don't want.

You are just equanimity asleep in the present moment. And so we can help that by actually doing meditations deliberately on those positive emotions, like generosity, and compassion, and all of those that are mentioned, to try to help us open our heart become more inclusive and more selfless. And this in turn will actually give you a better base and reduce the emotions that are going to distract your mind, which will then bring you into a deeper state of meditation. So these are three fundamental foundations of meditation. And through the rest of these course, I'm going to be targeting one or another of these. So we'll be talking about technique which is trying to build up a good habit of meditation.

And then we'll be talking about the mind and how we can understand the mind. And then in addition to that, I've got meditations on all different positive attributes of our mind. And in fact, to help you I'm going to color code them. I'm going to color code, the ones on technique, white ones on wisdom blue, and the ones on open heartedness read. So you can easily distinguish which meditation category it falls in. So that's a real basic understanding of the foundations of meditation.

And we're going to then now turn to the two tools or the two qualities of mind that we have to build up these three foundations.

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