Susan Hills Nelson lives in Columbia, SC, and works as an attorney for Nelson Mullins Riley Scarborough. She has also been attending Ganden Kadampa Buddhist Center for about four years. This year, she made a New Year’s Resolution to meditate every day. She’ll be giving us a weekly update on this blog to let us know how it’s going.
March 6, 2014
Four weeks of daily meditation. I nearly lost it this week though. Lots of family drama and life drama. My mind was definitely not at peace. And my heart, as opposed to jumping in and directing the show, chose instead to cower in fear in the corner.
Instead of boring you with all of the gory details, I figured this week might be a good time to talk about what I am actually doing when I meditate. (See I told you I was cowering in fear).
First, I sing the Liberating Prayer. Then I chant Heart Jewel, which is a prayer practice. Technically, it is the Guru yoga of Je Tsongkhapa combined with the condensed sadhana of his Dharma Protector, Dorje Shugden. Now try saying that ten times fast.
Gen Nyema, our resident teacher, says that doing a prayer practice before you meditate is like a springboard or an atlatl for your actual meditation. (See the picture of girl using an atlatl to throw a spear, if that word makes no sense.)
Anyway, you get more bang for your buck, or in this case, better focus and attention on your object for your time. Or at least a better intention. I have definitely found that to be true. Without some prayers to put my mind at ease, my meditation becomes time to make to do lists for the day.
When I get to the right part in the Heart Jewel practice, the part where we receive blessings, I stop and meditate for about 15 minutes. I focus on one of the 21 objects in the New Meditation handbook. These rotate daily and I generally follow the Heart Jewel calendar on our center’s website. The objects of meditation are things like compassion, giving love, recognizing the sufferings of samsara, generating bodhichitta, death, birth, etc.
Finally, I take another 5 minute meditation break after the Guru’s blessings prayer. Guru means Spiritual Guide, in my case Geshe Kelsang Gyatso. However, you can pick the guru of your choosing.
After all that, I finish the meditation session with the rest Heart Jewel. It ends with the nine-line Migtsema prayer, which is kind of like the credits to the movie. This meditation practice brought to you by the following Buddhas…That is another Gen Nyema analogy. She is a smart cookie, that Gen Nyema.
The whole thing takes me about 45 minutes.
Any questions? Fire away. Meanwhile, I am going back to my safe little corner to cower.