yangsittingBelow is a summary for Dr. Yang Yang’s Functional Meditation including the contemplations and mental principles.  Hopefully this will help in understanding this technique and process

Nurturing Daily Life through Contemplating Reality

Awareness Contemplations for Understanding Reality as it is through Functional Meditation

*The Meaning of Life

*Everyone is Seeking Happiness

*Nothing is Personal

*Everyone is Different

*Yin-Yang (Reality/Reversal)

The purpose of the Contemplations is to identify aspects of life to consider and upon which we can meditate, or contemplate. As a methodology for meditation, this technique is considered contemplation. The process is to take a topic for which we want a deeper understanding and to take it into meditation, to contemplate it. The process is basically a reversal of the Taoist cosmological idea of “from Wuji to Taiji”. In this case, we go from Taiji to Wuji. We take an idea into our busy minds and purposefully think upon it as a method for leading us to stillness. Once we reach of state of Wuji, we of course discard the idea and sit in stillness. In the process we make peace with the idea or concept we are contemplating so that once we leave meditation we are hopefully not bothered by the aspects of our life that relate to the contemplation. In time, we should be at peace with the idea more and more until we have a change in our relationship with the idea and the greater world. From this we can see that not only is this a good method for meditation, it is also a template for enlightened living, a guide for daily life and a way we can extend our “practice” to all aspects of our lives.
The Contemplations are categories Dr. Yang identified as important to happy, healthy living. Of course, we can add and use categories of our own that speak to our condition, our philosophy, or our current situation, but for the purposes of this lesson we will stick with Dr. Yang’s categories. Don’t use these as opportunities to judge yourself or your life. Rather look at them to establish reality. Remember your mind doesn’t know the difference between a snake and a coiled rope. Reality can be what you make it. If you make life a struggle, it will be. You can also choose peace and prosperity. Use these to understand yourself and others so you have a better foundation for deciphering what reality may be.

The Meaning of Life: This is Tao. What is the purpose of your life? I recommend you don’t get too big with this one. Keep it simple and close to home. The bottom line is this: Is life for crying, worrying and fighting? Or is life for living, laughing and loving? Think Hakuna Matata. Again, don’t try to answer huge existential mysteries. What is your Tao?

Everyone is Seeking Happiness: This is a fundamental aspect of human philosophy, from Buddhism to economics. People are motivated to seek happiness and relieve suffering. It is axiomatic that humans act. The motivation behind action is selfish and related to one’s own happiness. Again, don’t make too much of this, look at the basic statement and consider your actions and the actions of others in relation to reality. You will see that when you are confused about the behavior of others you can always bring it back to this. This insight is fundamental to peace within and without.

Nothing is Personal: This insight follows the previous one. Again, based on the assumption that human action is self-centered, we can see that when one acts out against us or others it is from a self-centered position. People act to satisfy desire or to relieve suffering. Even if it is directed at you and in your face, it is ultimately still much more about them than it is you. A lot of people struggle with this one. All the more reason for contemplation. Consider it lightly. Don’t try to save the world, just look at it, meditate on it. See what you come up with.

Everyone is Different: This one really speaks for itself. We are all different. That’s OK. It has to be, because that is the way it is. To expect anything else is to set yourself up for disappointment and strife. You may need to question your expectations with this one in light of reality. Consider this is nothing new; we have always been all different.

Yin-Yang (Reality/Reversal): This is also Tao. Everything changes. That is the nature of existence, of reality. Whatever is happening now will soon turn into something else. All of life is a continual process of yin-yang, yang-yin, etc…. Our goal is to learn to go with the flow, to follow Tao. Understanding this contemplation is very helpful with that.

Using Mental Principles to Integrate the Contemplations through our Interaction with Reality

The mental principles are the tools we use to implement the above contemplations in our daily lives. It is good to be settled with these through meditation, but our goal is to integrate the peace of Wuji into everything we do, to still be in that state off the cushion. To that end, Dr. Yang developed the Mental Principles to go along with this. Following is a brief summary of each principle. They are pretty simple to understand. The key is working with these daily and integrating them into your thinking of all things.

Everything is my teacher: This is a take on and extension of the idea that everyone is my teacher. In light of the contemplations, many people and events in our lives serve to teach and inform us along our path.

No Expectations: It is typically not the people and situations in our lives that stump us, but our overt and often unreal expectations. Removing those better allows us to go with the flow.

Nurturing: Nurture yourself and others. Once you do, your world will change in ways unimagined.

Moderation: The age-old advice still holds. Everything in moderation.

Focus: Don’t get too extended in different directions. Develop a solid training and living program and stick to it. Know who you are and what you want to accomplish and stay focused.

The Golden Rule: The basic guideline of all the world’s religions and spiritual programs. Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.

Gratitude: Be thankful for your teachers, life’s lessons, your blessings, etc…. It’s hard to be miserable if you are constantly thankful.

Forgiveness: This also is a common thread in all the world’s spiritual teachings and speaks for itself.

Honesty: Develop unquestioned honesty in all things. Not only will it improve your relations with the world, it will improve your self-satisfaction and sense of peace.

Resilience: Stay with it. We are doing more than learning a few simple movements or remembering a few ideas. We are learning to go with the flow, to let go the negative. That’s big. It takes work and discipline. It takes resilience.

Approach these lightly but diligently. Play with them and consider them, but don’t turn them into a reason for extravagance or fanaticism. See if they have some meaning to you. Consider them and put them aside. Go live your life with these in the background. If something doesn’t work, don’t judge it one way or another. Leave it alone for now. Keep it in the back of your mind and play with it every now and then. Don’t expect immediate transformation, but don’t disregard the ideas either. If you integrate this approach into your meditation and self-nurture routine, you may find yourself softening around the edges after a while. Again, the goal is to live life at its fullest. That’s all.

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