So the topic for this week has to do with the meaning that meditation has for us. And I know some people like myself, at one point were a little bit allergic to the idea of meaning. But as I've come to understand the word, that it's really a broad word that covers a lot of ways in which we assign purpose, assign roles, assigned functions, assign, value, assign all these things to the activities of our lives to the events of our lives. That how we understand it in or interpret it in the context of our life story, context of our society context of our beliefs. And, and there's no shortage of the many, many ways in which we are one way or the other, assign some interpretation to the meditation we're doing. So this week, we're trying to bring some of that out and have you be more reflective about it in a way that would help your meditation both in that would help you not get caught up in assigned meanings that are not useful for you get in the way. And but also to recognize the useful ones are there to support to give buoyancy to give momentum to give strength, to meditation as well. To help you stay focused in what you're doing. So today, that topic is the values that we live by, and the role connection that meditation might have with those values. And it's hard to imagine that there's people who have no values at all, no ethical values, no sense of prioritizing certain attitudes to how to be in the world. And the some of them might be healthy and supportive of self and others, and some of them might be harmful for self and others. And but how does meditation fit into it? It would be unfortunate for someone who's a thief, who feels that it's fine to steal, that's they have no problem with that. And in fact, they feel proud of their ability to steal. And they assign the value importance meditation has for them, visit centers them, calms him down so that they can do their profession effectively, that would be quite sad, because of the harm that that does. But someone who is a caregiver, for example. And the value is to give the best care to someone in a medical setting or any kind of setting. And for them, meditation has the value of doing the same of grounding them, centering them, preparing them for the best so that the best of them can be present with wisdom and clarity for caring for their people in their care. And so here were the values we have how we want to live, are brought to bear on meditation, and meditations used to serve that purpose. One of the one things that really inspires me is people who want to live honestly, to really live, you know, without any lies, any deceit any just really want to have the truth to be the forefront. And, and without as a value. Mindfulness can be really a support for that mindfulness is, is a truth telling practice. It's a way of connecting to what's true finding what's true. And so here are the assigned function assign meaning the interpretation of what meditation is, is that it's truth making someone else the values could be harmlessness. And so the function the meaning that purpose of meditation is to live in more harmless life. Someone else their value is enlightenment, full, complete total enlightenment. And, and so for them, the value the purpose, the functions assigned to meditation is that this is going to support them to find a way to that enlightenment.
There can be multiple functions happening the same time, that can be you know, meditation can be us as can be. The same meditation can be done for different purposes. It can be both for many purposes, it can be for truth telling for distressing for coming with more groundedness, to work that we do to being on a path to awakening. So there's these, it's not like you're choosing one over the other, but to have some clarity about what's important, maybe what's most important around the values we have. And, and maybe even picking and choosing between things are important for us to give, so we can give emphasis to one thing to do really well. If we have too many values, too many purposes. Everything gets watered down, nothing really kind of takes root and, and flowers. And sometimes in order to really do well, we have to kind of choose this is what meditation is about, this is what I'm developing and doing here and have some clarity with it. And what the benefit of that is that no matter what the purpose is, and the really sense of getting behind it, and having some dedication to it, as meditation deepens, it kind of blossoms out into all these different dimensions of our life. So you might put aside certain things as the purpose and value. And later, you'll find that if it's a healthy purpose, it returns in a whole different way. Then maybe it'd be a little bit like someone who, you know, moves to a foreign country where they have a different language, and really wants to be friends with everyone on the street, and goes around trying to be friends, but can't speak the language at all. And so they get dedicate themselves to learning a language. And once it's learned, they find that walking down the street, that it's really easy to make these connections now because of shared language. So regardless of what the purpose is, for meditation, learning to meditate, well, opens up in such a wonderful way to so many different things. So what are the values some people live, center their life, the values that they have, more than the goals that they have the work that they have, the, what they're trying to do in their life. And it's some people how they live is more important than what they do. And I think that's in Buddhist practice, I think that we emphasize much more the how than the what, that whatever what meditation is, is for the way to it is by caring really carefully for the how we are, that we're not living a harmful way that we're doing what's beneficial that we're learning to be at peace and relaxed, non attached to learning to be kind and supportive or not be care to what we do, learn to be honest, and always learning to let go. So, so many different things that so that we can be at ease have equanimity, be at peace here, and now. Some people whose lives is the value they have is to be of service, to live a life of generosity and support. And so then meditation serves that purpose for them. For some people, it's to live a life of really practicing dharma for its own sake. And the result of that, they want to live a life of service. So all these things kind of shifting and changing in fact, over a lifetime of practice, that it's fascinating to see how the, what the interface is between meditation and the way we live our lives, the purpose the values we have, what we emphasize as being important, the OSI assigning a meaning assigning of importance of functions, to meditation into our life and back and forth, and it shifts and changes in a dynamic way. And, and to hold on to any one way. Any one purpose anyone meaning for what meditation is, sooner or later will get all bottled up gets kind of limited and come to a dead end. And rather than keep opening up peep kind of
looking and feeling and sensing all the different ways and functions and meanings and purposes that evolve over the years of practicing more and more and, and it's like it's like a dynamic stuff into the app and just like I don't know it's like Having a good friend. And over the years, the friendship shifts and changes as the friend, the the two of you change and shift. And, and but somehow you stay connected and involved and things flow back and forth and change and unfold and, and but because of the commitment to stay present and stay connected, that it's it, you all change together. So the same thing with meditation, so to understand some of the values that you live by, and that come into bear on meditation, and some of them, you know, you know, and then see how they shift and change. And one of the way they change is they move, sometimes we discover through meditation, that some of the values, some of the assigned purposes, some of the attitudes we have about meditation, don't work, that they're actually harmful for us. Straining in meditation being attached to states of mind that we're going to attain, holding on to calm holding on to bliss that might be there, these are all these these kind of holding on and wanting and overvaluing particular states of mind are kind of a dead end, they're not really that helpful. And so if a value is, it's all about attaining a state, it's all about having, you know, some wonderful experience, so that I can just add it to my repertoire of wonderful experiences. That doesn't, that's kind of a dead end to go. To attain to experience a full potential with meditation can be about it, there's a lot of conceit involved in meditation. And the assigned meaning is that is has to do with, I'm going to be the, you know, the best meditator on my block, and everyone will like me and accolade, so how wonderful I am, because I'm such a wonderful meditator. Or if I meditate, well, then my meditation teacher will praise me and put me up on a pedestal and will be happy ever after. So those kinds of assigning of meaning assigning a purpose assigning a function are dead ends, and they'll just, you know, end up kind of knocking your head against that dead end until, you know, you go find a different way. So, to look deeply, what is the meaning of meditation, what's the function, what's its purpose for me. So here's an exercise I'd recommend that you do for these next 24 hours until we meet again. And that is, you know, with a paper or with a computer. Right, the, the words, meditation means for, for me, meditation means and then fill in the rest of it. And do that 100 times. And every time, right, something different. And so, I know, I would have some years ago, many years ago, I would have been, I would have written down. Meditation means nothing, you know, it was kind of would have dismissed the whole exercise. But then because it's 100 different times, you have to kind of keep going. And meditation means that I sit on my cushion Meditation means that I sit early in the morning, you can say, kind of physical things like that. But does that really get to your heart does it really get to some deeper thing, and just can't keep writing, keep writing 100 times. For me Meditation means after a while you can drop there for me, but that's the idea behind it, and see what you discover, and, and stretch yourself. It doesn't have to be all at one sitting to do all 100 At one time, but maybe over the 24 hours, you can write down 100 fill in that sentence 100 times. So thank you very much, and I hope that
the exercises enjoyable and and useful for you and then we'll finish the series tomorrow.