Welcome, everyone. Why do we need to meditate? Maybe you might think, “Oh, my life is wonderful now. “I don’t need to meditate. “Meditation is only for those people who have problems.” Maybe if you have problems in your mind – mental problems, or material problems, problems in your relationship with your husband or wife, or in your life, at work, or if you lost your job and you’re unhappy, depressed, then you should learn to meditate and to make your mind calm and peaceful. Otherwise, no need to meditate. Of course, meditation is good for when you have problems, to make your mind calm, peaceful and joyful. But, even if you have no problems, if you meditate, it’s good for you. You can do more. Your mind becomes more peaceful, more open. It is good for you to allow your own basic goodness to manifest. You have love and compassion. You have wisdom. You have joy. You have capability and power that already exist within you. Meditation allows you to manifest your basic goodness. In this way, your mind naturally becomes calm, peaceful, and what we call “pliable and workable.” Normally, our mind is like a crazy monkey, saying, “blah blah blah,” and you cannot control your mind.
Your mind is controlling you. The monkey mind is controlling you. But through meditation you gain control, so your mind becomes calm and peaceful. And, of course, meditation is good for when you have problems. Problems become your friend. Let me tell you my own experience. I will tell you one special story. No, no, no. It’s not very special. Maybe you already know this story. When I was young, I had a panic disorder. My parents are wonderful, I have a very kind mother and father. I was born in the northern part of Nepal, right in the middle of the Himalayas. In fact, it was one of the highest mountains in Nepal, a snow mountain with glaciers. Very nice.
Beautiful. And the morning sun radiated to the mountain, and the glacier mountain became a golden color. So nice. But, although I had a nice family, a nice environment, panic followed me like a shadow and I was looking for some solution. My grandfather was also a very good meditator. When I looked at him, he was meditating peacefully, calmly. Very nice. I was inspired by him. Near my house, there were many caves. I think you may know in the Himalayas there’s a lot of caves. Sometimes I ran from my house to the cave, pretending to meditate there, although I had no idea about meditation.
I’d just sit there, wondering what I should do, and maybe fall asleep. And one day, I thought, “What should I do?” I thought maybe I should say something in my mind, say some words — what we call “mental recitations.” So I did that and it felt nice. It felt like I did something, although I didn’t know what I did. When I was nine years old, I asked my father to teach me meditation. My father was a great meditation teacher, but I was too shy to ask him directly. I approached my mother to ask my father to teach me meditation, and my father accepted. I was so happy.
First, I asked a question: “Saying some words in your mind, is it meditation or not?” He said yes. And I was so happy. I learned many meditation techniques: how to open my mind, open presence, open awareness, and how to use panic — and not only the panic but also any other circumstances – as support for meditation, to make friends with the problem.
And how to make your mind calm and peaceful, and make it pliable and workable. I learned a lot and I was so happy. But I was a lazy boy. I loved the idea of meditation but I didn’t like the practice of meditation. This is why I still suffered from panic. I felt fear of strangers, fear of natural disasters, like snow storms, earthquakes. And sometimes there was fear without any reason. I just got dizzy and my heartbeat raced, and I sweat sometimes without reason. Then, when I was eleven years old, I moved to India, to a place called Sherab Ling. I learned a lot of meditations from many other teachers. But again, I was lazy. But, when I was thirteen years old, there was a traditional three-year retreat that was going to start. And I thought, “Oh, I should join this retreat.” But I was a little bit afraid that maybe they would not accept me because I was too young. So I asked my father to ask His Eminence Tai Situ Rinpoche, who is the head of our monastery and he kindly accepted. So I joined the three-year retreat. But in the first year of the retreat, my panic got worse.
And especially when I was in the group prayers, where sometimes we use some musical instruments, the noises drove me crazy and I had to go out of the prayer session. I could not join them, you know? Most of the time, we were meditating alone in our rooms, so I felt happy about that. But I was not really applying the meditation techniques. Then, one day, I asked myself a question, which was, “I still have two more years to go, “so do I really want to apply meditation techniques, “or do I just want to spend the time like this, unhappy, “for two more years?” Then I decided to apply mediation techniques to my panic.
I sat in my room for three days, using my panic as a support for my meditation. My panic was gone..