Love this dharma talk by Jonathan Foust about “Your True Nature is Already Here.” You can tap into your true nature, by resting in presence without desire. In meditation, you might find your life starts changing because desires don’t have quite the same allure and fears don’t have the same grip on you.
Here are a few things that really turned my head:
1. At the 12-minute mark, Jonathan talks about the Buddha’s flower sermon, where the Buddha allegedly held up a flower and said nothing.
2. At the 26-minute mark, Jonathan quotes someone about how thoughts you have which you compare “what you like” against “what you don’t like” is a disease of the mind. There doesn’t have to be a dichotomy.
3. It’s a transformational practice to train your ADD mind to be here – and for you to have the power to observe without reacting. Observe your reactive patterns and consider possibility of “responding” to life rather than “reacting.” Tune in more to preference-less awareness, where you can merely be the observer.
4. Buddha nature involves stepping back to see more clearly. What is this primal feel?
5. At the 37-minute mark, Jonathan provides a quote to the effect that a little fish doesn’t understand “what is water?” We don’t see when we are “in it.”
At the end, Jonathan reads this amazing poem by Danna Faulds about “Awakening Now” – it just blew me away…
The latest dharma talk by Jonathan Foust – entitled “The Balance of Resilience & Surrender” – is replete with fine anecdotes and a roadmap about how to possibly find that balance. Jonathan tells the tale that Tara Brach often tells about when the first test pilots were attempting to enter the atmosphere, many died tried to fight to keep control. One finally succeeded – because he had been knocked unconscious and thus gave up the fight. From then on, that became the standard operating procedure.
I’ve learned on the basketball court that when I press, I often don’t succeed. It has to be a mix of being focused and giving effort – but also letting the “game come to me.” That’s when the magic happens. Of course, it’s hard not to press when you want it to happen. So it’s something you have to be mindful of, not wanting it so badly that you get in the way of yourself…
Experts say that the average person has 50,000 – 80,000 thoughts per day. That’s between 40-60 per minute. Doesn’t seem possible – but if you stop and think about it, that monkey mind does race. That’s part of being human.
Recently, I told my sister that I’ve been doing really well the past few months and she asked how that came about. The obvious answers involve getting vaccinated, being outside in warm weather and seeing some real live music. Not to mention a new job that is coming along just fine.
But the less obvious answer involves how I’m spending my 50,000 thoughts. Most of our thoughts are very repetitive. Telling ourselves the same stories in a loop. The key is to whether those stories are positive or negative. Maybe neutral. You know, it’s all about attitude.
So thinking about it more deeply, I’ve realized that I’ve been waking up with a bounce in my step. Enjoying a swim first thing in the morn – and I’ve been running positive stories from there. I know it’s hard to get there – and that I can fall off a ledge any moment due to the way the world is now – but I’m savoring the ability to maintain a nice run of good stories while I can…
Following up on last week’s blog about Part 1 of Jonathan Foust’s dharma talk about the flow state – we now have Part 2 of Jonathan’s talk, so I summarize what I learned here about how to train yourself to access the flow state at will:
The most creative people tend to be the most disciplined. That’s because we can be as much as 5x more productive in the flow state. A study found that a level of 5% flow is normal, your productivity doubles at 15%. You can cut the 10,000 hours required to master something in half by using flow.
So being in flow is a practical thing – it can improve your productivity for your work life. But wait there’s more – what if you apply to meditation. Pure flow can really help you tap into self-awareness.
There are seven things you can do to help you achieve flow:
1. Cut down on external distractions (eg. clean up your immediate environment).
2. Cut down in internal distractions – meditate or journaling before engaging in the activity you wish to embark upon.
3. Use background sounds to help you along (eg. pure sounds or music).
4. Have a clear outcome in mind for the activity.
5. Conduct a brief routine or ritual before you start – develop neuro-associations (eg. rub hands, other small movements, saying that you think).
6. Engage in the task during your peak biological time – are you a morning or night person?
7. Hydrate or small doses (200 milligrams) of caffeine.
As someone who loves to tap the subconscious through hypnosis, I was fascinated by this podcast by Jonathan Foust about the “flow state.” Around the 10-minute mark, Jonathan breaks down his discussion into four parts (the first three of which are covered in this podcast – the last part will be covered in a future podcast):
1. The magic of being in the flow state?
2. Is the flow state mindfulness?
3. How to sabotage the flow state?
4. How to access the flow state?
Since I play a lot of basketball, I know the flow state well. When I enter it, I can do no wrong on the court. I know my shot is going in before I even start to make a move. It’s all instinct and none of my actions are dictated by conscious thought. It’s only when I “press” – when I try too hard – that things start to go wrong.
Jonathan provides a similar anecdote. About when he played ping pong for first time. He could anticipate where the ball was going next. After I while, he thought to himself “I’m crushing this” and then he immediately wiffed. Perhaps part of this auspicious start was beginners mind but part was probably the flow state.
Mihály Csíkszentmihályi describes the flow state as sort of an optimal state of happiness. Your’e fully immersed in an activity. You can have the flow state in a group setting as well. Those intense conversations where everything is blocked out. The flow state increases creativity and expression…can’t wait to learn how to more easily access the flow state. But I do know that hypnosis can help…