Paying off a huge debt

Posted by on Mar 19, 2014 in Buddhism | 2 Comments

One of the metaphors used to describe the state of ‘jhana’ or absorption in meditation is that it’s like paying off a huge debt. The relief is incredible. Another way it’s described is that it’s like putting down a heavy load.

While these metaphors are used to describe a particular level of meditative concentration, I think you get a sense of them even after a few minutes of meditation practice.

Yesterday I taught my first class at work. It’s been a good few years since I taught meditation face to face and I really enjoyed it.

The thing I liked most was watching the faces of everyone as they came out of meditation after 20 minutes or so. They looked like they’d finally paid off the overdraft!

There was a kind of relief in their faces. Meditation really is an incredible thing to do with your time.

That experience of not even realising how stressed you were, or how busy your mind was, and then you do something as simple as meditation for a while and that stress and busyness lifts. You get to experience who you are without all that stuff you carry around with you all the time.

The natural response from your heart is a kind of relief, a gladness, a gratitude to yourself that you have given yourself this gift.

Gratitude to my teachers

The other reason I called this post ‘paying off a huge debt’ is that whenever I write a post in this blog or teach meditation or Buddhism in any way I feel that in some small way I am paying forward some of the great gift I received from the many people who have taught me over the years.

Without wanting to get too evangelical and gushing about it, Buddhist practice really has changed my life. Quite possibly it even saved my life. It’s certainly given me a way to live where before I had none. And I’m hugely grateful that somehow I managed to stumble upon this stuff and for some odd reason it stuck out to me as being worth pursuing. And then, even more luckily, there were people who knew about it and who were willing to teach me.

None of this teaching is mine. It’s all borrowed. When I can pass it on to interested parties I’m glad of the opportunity to give something back.


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  1. Linda
    March 20, 2014

    Sometime in the past 30 days, I was with my father as he was breathing his last very clear, rhythmical breaths over a period of days, with little else going on for him in terms of human activity. Having experienced my own breath through meditation since I started your course over a year ago, connecting deeply with my dad became effortless, as he was going through the process of his leaving his body. Yes, it’s another breath. Feeling peace and contentment with now…what a blessing….It is also interesting to me that some say it takes 30 or 40 days for the spirit or soul to leave this world. That gives the rest of us a chance to sort ourselves out on the day to day, I guess, when loved ones bid us their final farewell.

    • mybuddhistlife
      March 20, 2014

      Thank you for sharing this Linda. I wish him a good whatever-comes-next and I hope you’re doing OK.

      I’ve not yet sat with someone through the dying process. I sat with my friend and teacher a few hours after he died but that’s a bit of a different thing!

      But I can relate to what you say. When I was being wheeled into the operating theatre for emergency brain surgery, after I had said goodbye to my wife with a good chance that I would not come out alive, everything dropped away. I had said goodbye. I felt completely at peace – no desires, no regrets. My achievements and failures meant nothing. My ‘personality’ (the ‘me-ness’ of me) dropped away. I was left only with the breath entering and leaving my body.

      I watched my breath in complete contentment and peace. And then the anaesthetic kicked in…


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