After 2 pages of pure nonsense I feel obliged to offer an answer to myself.
Greetings all- this is my first topic here, and I hope I'm not being overly redundant or boring... feel free to redirect me if necessary.
So... the more I learn about Buddhism, and the more I put myself in the radius of the teachings, I realize that many of the Buddhist values are universal, and can be approached and understood by seekers everywhere, through intuition, wisdom, compassion, and a relentless pursuit of the truth.
The essence of the tradition, as evidenced by the life of the Buddha, is a rejection of false (established) practices, and putting the pursuit of truth above all else. The Buddha succeeded because he was able to break through the lies of the world.
This being said, I think the establishment and dissemination of the Buddha's teachings and the tradition of compassion and introspection that the Buddha's success has fostered is a jewel of humanity, and a beacon of light for seekers everywhere.
I feel like a big part of this tradition is bringing the rhythm of the heart and the panorama of the mind into synchrony.
This is where the practice of meditation becomes a useful tool, in calming the heart, clearing the mind, and introducing them to one another, almost for the first time.
My dilema (and potentially that of others) is that much of this synchrony depends on interest and support.
If I am doing something that I find to be truly interesting, or in an environment where I feel comfortable, wanted, needed, and accepted, my heart rate stabilizes and my mind lights up.
The problem is that I don't have control over this. So in a typical meditation situation, where I am sitting in a quiet room, focusing on the breath and trying to clear the mind, none of these positive mechanics are at work.
And the question arises, why should they be? I mean, you aren't doing anything, you're just sitting there, that's really nothing to feel good about. Don't get me wrong, I don't totally agree with this, but on a sub-conscious level, this is my tendency, I am realistic about this situation, and so it is decidedly uninspiring and uneventful.
Maybe that is the point... to immerse oneself in the mundane, and in that moment of focus, to see the magical.
Essentially, I think this is a key point of Buddhism. To be able to stabilize your heart and engage your mind, even when the environment is not terribly interesting or supportive. But I am having some trouble doing this.
So, help a new guy out.
Greetings- and welcome to Dharma Wheel. We're glad you found your way here!
The sentiments you express are indeed universal. People from all places and times have understood that to be engaged, they must plug in to a part of the world that excites them, that they can understand and contribute to, that they can relate to and derive meaning from. While this is generally a healthy practice that creates a vibrant and full planet, the individual can often experience waves of instability as a result from the contrast between the engaged and non-engaged states. I think this is the crux of your query, and is a hurdle that many face but few can clear.
The Buddhist tradition supports meditation as a way to steady and enter the mind, to know it with greater intimacy and clarity, to reduce the distance between the self and the mind, and to guide the self to important areas in the mind that may otherwise be hidden. Through this process we can learn more about what has excited the mind in the first place, why and how the mind responds in positive ways, and how repeated positive responses strengthen new pathways that create a stronger self.
Sit- and focus on something that has brought you joy recently. It can be an activity, an image, or an interpersonal experience... any positive coloration will do. Without grasping or tugging, let that color know that you are receptive to it, that it can enter; leave the door open, and the light on. Persist, through dedication, and start to notice your thoughts less, and your patterns or manner of thinking more. When your mind is positively engaged, how does it behave differently. Remain receptive as you, in broad terms, understand this manner of thinking enough to where it won't fly away. Sit with it, and let it teach you about yourself. Your emotional experience will let you know you are on the right track. At this deep stage of the process, gently shift the focus from your mind to your heart. You are building a bridge, through compassion.
I would encourage all members to know that Buddhists are generally known for their kindness and knowledge, and are helpful, especially when called upon. There are names for folks who inflate their own false sense of wisdom, but Buddhist is not one of them. After you type a post, read it, and ask "Am I helping?" "Am I answering questions, or simply patting myself on the back for some wisdom that excludes the option of a practical response?"