Jhana Junkie??? Zoe’s first Blog…
What is “jhana”? From Pali, jhana translates similarly to what the Yoga traditions call “samadhi”. In meditation practice there is a movement with absorption from relaxed, calm and focussed to rapture and bliss.
It’s generally a good thing!!!
Can you get too much of a good thing?
Maybe you’ve heard of Gym Junkies who spend too much time working out, thinking this will fix all their problems, well… maybe I was meditating assuming this would fix all my problems…
Why was I a junkie? Well, because it feels so good! When I learned to still my mind and allow it to become absorbed in it’s object of meditation, layers of bliss emerged. I was hooked! It’s easy to want more of these sensations. This is what I did for a few years of my practice… very bliss-fully.
Have you heard the phrase, ignorance is bliss? Well in my case, it certainly was.
I was blind to other things brewing in my life and being; things I did not want to look at.
I will always be grateful for my dear friend who introduced me to the Buddha Dharma practices. It was through these practices that I started to see my addiction to the pleasure states. This was NOT leading me in the direction of a deep fulfilling and nourishing happiness.
Grief rolled in!
What was the point of all my years of yoga practice and study??
I felt it was all wrong. I was all wrong.
HERE I WAS, SUFFERING AGAIN / STILL, ARGH…
THEN, I started to clearly see my own ignorance. I started to shift my meditation practice to orient towards clear seeing rather than just samadhi. I was now on my way to waking up; to a more authentic version of happiness… And this is possible. Here’s what Seth Godin has to say on the topic of true happiness versus the short pleasure of the distracting shiny sparkles along the way…
This is a perspective shift. Mindfulness / vipassana and loving kindness are the pathways. They offer possibilities of practice and expression in our moment to moment existence and connection with others.
The curiosity and unfolding joy and happiness that emerged from this practice lead me to sit a 6 week long retreat at IMS in USA in 2017. This allowed my body to come to rest. So I could trust in my peaceful heart; trust my own inner goodness and expression.
Many dear family, friends and students made donations / offered dana to supported me to attend this retreat. I had countless moments of overwhelming gratitude. At times, sitting in meditation, all these people came to my heart. I would literally feel like I was sitting for us all. This experience had me deeply understand, realise fully, generosity (dana) as the currency of connection.
Giving and receiving is the process of life.
Some people may never have the desire to sit in silence for this period of time, it might not float your boat, but it does mine. Totally does.
Now, it is my turn to give back; to share what I have learned from my long retreat and years of practice before (and after).
All acts of generosity are a practice of opening our hearts.
All intentions of being willing to see clearly, moment to moment, lead us towards a nourishing long lasting happiness and further away from the depth of suffering.
All the moments when we recognise our inner goodness, and see this reflected in others, will bring us closer, more connected.
And to this, my heart says, YES PLEASE!
Which is why I’m collaborating with NeLi Martin to offer EMBODIED MIND Yoga and Mindfulness Meditation Professional Development for women working in Mental Health and Health professions.
Join us! Get connected here.
Have you tried to incorporate jhana states with Vipassana?
Hi Jorge, yes, this is a very useful way to approach Vipassana… Settle the mind first and then notice what arises.