So we've been talking about meditation andthen we got up to the point where I gave some basic instructions on posture how you needto sit in meditation and something that we need to understand is that meditation is abouttwo things one it's about developing good habits and two it's about getting rid of badhabits and we need to do both of these things so there's conditioning and deconditioningwe're conditioning ourselves to positive or virtuous acts and deconditioning ourselvesto our negative habitual Tendencies so our Tendencies towards negativity so when wetalk about conditioning then we can think about conditioning in terms of virtue whatwe're trying to do is to habituate ourselves to Virtue and in fact this is the actualmeaning of the word meditate in tibetan.
It means to habituate or to familiarize so wewant to become familiar with virtuous a hello hello very scary dog hello poodle as well morning all noise yeah I'll bark no bite and so we canthink about this conditioning in terms of Conduct in terms of engaging in virtuous conduct forexample giving in generosity being kindly to others that sort of thing but as you rememberthen there are three gates of virtue that's of body speech and mind and really what we need todo is we need to habituate ourselves on all three levels and that's something that doesn't happenimmediately it's something that we have to gain a habit for and in terms of deconditioning orgetting rid of bad habits then it might be the.
Case that we are a miserly individual and sowe have to break down that tendency towards miserliness this mindset that doesn't wish togive away but also this body that isn't habituated towards the act of giving now the problem is isthat conditioning doesn't happen immediately or overnight it doesn't happen overnight and alsoit won't happen unless you put in the effort if you only believe in this life and do not believethat you can pass from One Life to another then you have a lifetimes of negative habits to getrid of of and you have a lifetime of inertia or this resistance to positive virtue that you needto counteract but in terms of your meditation then how does this apply the main thing is you'retrying to condition yourself right and this conditioning doesn't just happen immediatelyor overnight it takes time so initially what's.
Important is that you practice for short periodsand often this is a mistake that many people make when they start meditating they sit down and fromday one they decide that they're going to do one or two hours of meditation every day but theproblem is we haven't got the habit for this and so it's better to develop that habit slowlyon a reasonable time scale and with reasonable expectations otherwise there's the danger ofgetting dis respondant sort of giving up or burning yourself out for example there was astudent of the Buddha and he had great faith in the Buddhist teachings and the teachingson generosity but the problem was that he was extremely miserly individual he wasn't even ableto give his wealth away to his own family and so he approached the Buddha for advice and saidGreat Sage I have faith in everything you have.
Taught and I believe in the virtues of generositybut the problem is I'm a very miserly individual and I cannot even give away money to my own familyand the Buddha said that doesn't matter you start with what's easier and so what you need to do isgive from your right hand to your left hand so in this way then this Rich King developed the habitfor giving away even though he wasn't actually giving anything to anybody he developed thismechanical or muscular memory for generosity on a very low scale and in that way that he wasable to progress in his practice and eventually became a very generous donor to the S so for uswe need to work in this way we need to habituate ourselves and contion ourselves bit by bit andthe best way to do that is to start with what's easier and that applies to generosity as much asit applies to these habits of loving kindness and.
Compassion initially then it's difficult for usto have love and compassion for our enemies and so what we have to do is we have to practice ourlove and compassion for those who are near to us who we hold to be dear and then we can train inspreading our love outwards at first to those who are near to us and then those with whomwe have no significant connection whatsoever and eventually we develop this ability even tohave love and compassion for our enemies now this process is what is called skillful means andit's something that you need to apply yourself to in your meditation so as I said previously thenyou set a schedule for yourself let's say every morning first thing before you go to work youmeditate for 15 or 20 minutes and once that habit becomes established then eventually you can extendthe time to 30 minutes or 1 hour and they over the.
Space of several months or a year you can developa firm habit for meditation if from the outset you try to do too much then it's quite likelyafter a number of months that you will suddenly fall off the wagon you'll lose the continuity ofyour practice because you started with your aims set too high it's better to recognize where youare on the spiritual path and work with that and that doesn't only apply to the mere mechanicalworkings of meditation for example we can't sit on the floor cross-legged for more than 5 minuteswell through time we will be able to extend that time and eventually we'll be able to sit for anhour or more in cross- leg on the floor if we take it slowly but if from day one you force yourselfinto Lotus position all that will happen is you're going to damage your knees and you'll get fedup and So eventually this won't be beneficial to.
Your progress on the path now when we talk aboutconditioning it's not merely conditioning our body in this mechanical and physical way we also haveto train the way we think and likewise we have to train our speech as I said previously then thereare these three gates of virtue but that means there there are also three gates of misdeeds ornon- virtue and what we need to do is condition ourselves to virtuous acts and also get rid of ourbad habit of negative acts so for example we might have this bad habit of speaking harshly to othersinsulting them and shouting at them and this is not something that we can lose immediatelywe might go into the workplace and then if somebody does something to Annoy Us immediatelyit will trigger our habit for Harsh speech and so what we need to do is initially is conditionourselves towards speaking kindly to others having.
Speech that is pleasant and is aimed at makingothers feel good and happy it's not necessarily the case that in order to bring benefit you haveto talk sweetly sometimes in drastic situations it's necessary to use harsh speech for exampleif a young child was about to drink poison you would have to act hastily and quickly to stopthem from engaging in a self Haring act hello you who else is wearing Monk's robes around herewell that's what Randy said he said I think that's another Monk how many monks do we have in theneighborhood I've not met any you know this path up here yeah you said that it goes to the riveryes where is that cuz it goes down like that go down the hill out and the river's about oh it'sbeyond that beyond that yeah yeah you got to go down the big hill you can follow the river all theway to the clay Banks it's magnificent wow that's.
Quite a long way right well enjoy your walk thankyou bye bye so what we need to do is we need to condition our body speech and mind and in termsof conditioning the body then that means being able to sit still to sit in meditation posture andalthough initially it may be difficult then with perseverance if we take it easy and be carefulthen eventually we'll develop this physical habit and ability to sit for long periods in meditationalso we need to condition our speech and so we have to condition ourselves to saying meaningfulthings and also expressing our love and compassion for others through our speech when it comes tothe mind it's a little bit more difficult but essentially the mind is the root of everything andso everything depends on our mental conditioning and really that's why we engage in meditationand contemplation and also study for example.
If you're engaging in the practices of generatingbodha or loving kindness compassion then this is something that you have to develop a mental habitfor but the point is that our conditioning of body speech and mind is not something that happens inisolation if we condition the body it's not the case that this doesn't affect the way our mindis and likewise our speech for example if we sit quietly in meditation posture this will naturallymake us a calmer and more peaceful individual and also by engaging in this silent sitting then itwill affect our habituated Tendencies for speech people who speak carelessly are not often takenseriously they don't have weight to their words whereas those whose speech is guarded and speakonly when it's appropriate or often respected by others through your physical conditioning thenthis will also condition your speech and your.
Mind ultimately what we need is this mentalstability but even the mechanical practice of sitting quietly on your own has an effect onthe way your mind is if we go out into the world world in the busy street or in the workplace thenthis destabilizes the mind as well and it's very easy to get frustrated feel anxiety or get upsetfor example the other day I was in a rush to lag the pipes before the cold weather came and notonly that then it was absolutely essential that I got back to the fery on time because I needed toreturn home to look after my parents I couldn't stay away for another day and so there was acertain amount of pressure to get the work done and not only that the work was complicated andinvolved many different factors so this naturally causes the mind to become agitated well it's theopposite when you sit in meditation it naturally.
Causes the mind to calm down in fact sometimes wecalm down so much that we fall asleep now in terms of deconditioning or getting rid of bad habitsthen this is slightly more difficult and that's because our bad habits are so entrenched if we'rea very angry person and we're always shouting at others then it's almost as if we don't needany kind of trigger whatsoever before we start shooting our mouth off and upsetting people andit is the case that by conditioning ourselves to keeping quiet or only saying things that areappropriate and kind towards others that this can help to reduce our natural tendency to speak harshto others but really ultimately what we need to do is we need to recognize the negativity of ourbad acts so meditation acts to help us to develop good habits and also it helps us to get rid of ourbad habits and as I said these things don't happen.
In isolation they happen together in synthesis inTandem and likewise these two aspects are related to method and wisdom method is the means by whichwe develop good habits and you could also say that this is what is associated with the progressivepath wisdom is about seeing things for the way they are but the important thing is we need toembark on our journey we have to start somewhere and as I said in the previous video that startingpoint is motivation it's about understanding what we're aiming for what our goals and objectives areand then we have to use our wisdom to determine the best path for us to progress and once we geton the path then we have to be skillful and that means not trying to do too much too early on as Isaid it's absolutely essential to do short periods often to develop a habit you've got to habituateyourself stage by stage and not try to do too much.
All at once so this is just some general adviceof how to apply yourself in your meditation practice and then in the next video I'm goingto discuss some of the basic techniques that are used to develop this mental tranquility and alsomental acuity and so until then and see you next time