I’m thrilled to be a part of elephant journal!
Following is an excerpt from my article, Close Your Books and Forget the Thinking: Teaching Meditation in a Community College Lecture Hall:
In the East, knowledge is all tangled up with the religious and so it is that the western categories of philosophy and religion don’t quite fit. Knowledge comes via direct experience, rather than cogent arguments. Truth is found in the stillness of the quiet mind, rather than on the pages of competing theories and the very pursuit is to drop the pursuit. We rediscover, rather, what we already know, uncover what was already there—what Zen calls your original face, what Hinduism calls your true self. But we have to get real still, so that we can see without looking and hear without listening.
I explained all of this. Then, I dimmed the lights.
“With your attention only on your breath, jot down, in your project books, each thought you become aware of. But don’t write me a composition! And, as strange as it sounds, don’t try to write stuff—because that means you’re following your thoughts. Just scratch out any key word and come back.”
I tiptoed around and stole glances over their shoulders. Some had no more than five words, even though five minutes had passed, even though we’ve got thousands of thoughts streaming by in the blink of an eye.
I interrupted the silence with two hits of my handheld meditation bell.
“Anybody care to share?” I asked. “Was there some thought you kept coming back to?”
“Yeah, that I can’t wait to eat, after class!” one said.
“Me too–I couldn’t get lunch out of my head,” a girl in the back added.
“Sounds like what we used to call ‘sick dreams’, as kids,” I laughed.
“So, we’ve got burritos on the brain. What kind of thought is that?” I asked.
“A future thought,” offered one quick student in the front.
“Exactly!” I said.
“So, here’s part two of our experiment: Next to each word, write a ‘P’ next to the past thoughts and an ‘F,’ next to the future ones.”
Read the whole article here!