As I have finished my dissertation on 'AI, Transhumanism, Consciousness and Buddhist Ethics' for my MA I am now returning to my blog. So for the next 60 weeks or thereabouts I will be posting a special blog on what I am calling Mindfulness Slogans for Mind Training. These slogans have been used for centuries in India and also Tibet by most of the great meditation masters. All the great masters both practiced and trained in these mindfulness slogans.
I have used the image of crystals above as that is how I hope that you will view these slogans as you train your 'monkey mind'. Crystals to stabilise the mind.
There is also another important reason. Even though you have completed the Learning to Exhale training in Mindfulness or MBSR, the MBSR movement is a secularised form of meditation we must not forget that originated from Therevadan Buddhism. Stripping out the rituals and religious imagery I am not too bothered about as it is a means to and ends. However there are two sides to meditation in the East - shamatha and vipassanā. MBSR as a system is more shamatha based but there is a deep and desperate need for vipassanā practice and reflection which is why I am writing these blog entries.
MBSR is not all there is to meditation. How could eight weeks practice ever be? Especially when you consider some people in Tibetan Buddhism enter three year meditation retreats.
Another reason is that those who have completed the eight week MBSR training or our the Learning to Exhale mindfulness training are seeking out retreats where they can deepen their practice. Sadly secular ones do not really exist. People generally head to Buddhist ones whilst not being Buddhist which is cool. At these retreats inevitably vipassanā arises. So what is it?
This is the next stage of meditation training for people who have become meditators. This is where you start to enquire how and why you might feel dissatisfied by life and examine what are the patterns that cause that suffering and why you repeat them. This is where the hold the intellect has on you starts to loosen and the awareness starts to come to the fore more in your practice. You also start to question the seperation between yourself and others. This 'dualistic fixation' is gradually broken down generating real felt compassion not just conceptual.
In the market of 'spiritual materialism' the word 'ego' is bounded about. People of low self-esteem refer to those who live with healthy levels as having a big ego. An Irish mystic I know referred to it recently as 'edging God out'. Or rather - edging the divine out if the 'G' word irks as for many it now does due to years of hypocrisy in organised religions. In its most extreme form it refers at times to a narcissist someone so vain and self-absorbed they can't see anyone else. Sometimes people are labelled wrongly as this so others can control them. Anyways the ego is a big subject and nowhere bigger or more used as in 'mind body spirit' circles.
Added to ego is the discussion on 'self' or 'no self'. This can be confusing for westerners in a secular setting. We are told in the West to integrate the self and connect to the 'true self' but in the East it can be misunderstood that the self should be 'deconstructed' when in fact they are referring to the persona, or mask a person wears or the belief the mask is the self when really they are hoping that the false self is dis-guarded in favour of the true self of awareness.
If you attended week five of the course you would have heard me say 'the personality is what you do on the street and what you do in the home is character'. As the old age goes 'street angle house devil' and so true.
So this is the reason that we need the slogans to keep us practicing, guide us, police us and put us in the right direction to evolve our practice and give us insight personally rather than reading or hearing about everyone elses experience.
If you were on the course I illustrate the mind and its potential transformation using the metaphor of a kaleidoscope. Slogans enrich the mind like each turn of hand has on the beautiful designs in the scope it brings into being.
I am writing two books now the first is Learning to Exhale - Mindfulness which is a book with each chapter summarising what we we covered in the Learning to Exhale eight week course in mindfulness whose curriculum that I devised and evolved MBSR which is 30 years old now.
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So what are these slogans? See after the picture of our Sweet Dreams Box
Well there are 59 mindfulness slogans in total so there is going to be 59 blogs one for each slogan. Each week I will be explaining each one and how to integrate it into your daily mindfulness practice. They were devised by a number of Mediation masters but the best form is by a meditation genius called Atisha who lived in both India and Tibet.
The best way is to take one slogan a week as I am suggesting and reflect on it for a week. Slogans are also easy to remember and easy to apply.
As you can see the slogans are split up into seven sections which are traditionally referred to as 'The Seven Points of MInd Training'
Here are all the mindfulness slogans that we will be covering together over the next 60 weeks. Please forward to friends and get them to sign up with their emails. So we can automatically send them a blog link each week.
This is also a way for you, 2,500 of you that we have trained, to connect back to your practice and awareness that you discovered through the training.
Training in Absolute Bodhichitta
Training in Relative Bodhichitta
Transforming Negative Circumstances into the Path of Enlightenment
I am really looking forward to this journey with you all and what the positive effects will be and also am hoping that you will be commenting below on how you are applying the slogans as we go along.
A lot of what is contained here will be included in the new book Mindfulness Slogans by Ralph Quinlan Forde.
Finally more good news in that my first book The Book of Tibetan Medicine will be available as an ebook in the coming weeks on our site to download.
Discover Your Beautiful Mind
Bestselling author Ralph Quinlan Forde BSc (Hons) MA is the writer and editor of the Mindful Beauty blog. His first book The Book of Tibetan Medicine went into 11 languages. His second Nutriwine has