In my last post, I described a simple, effortless meditation practice that I call ‘Relax your mind’. I’ve discovered now that this is a bona fide Tibetan meditation practice called ‘Mahamudra’. I saw the similarity when I read a description by Karl Brunnholzel from Nalandabodhi, who will be teaching on Mahamudra online this Saturday. Here is Karl’s description, based on his upcoming talk [emphasis mine]:
“Meditation” does not mean meditating on something; rather, it means to become familiar with the nature of our mind. (Milarepa)
“Let your mind be in its uncontrived natural state, evenly and free of effort, like a great garuḍa soaring in the sky.” (Mahāmudrā Without Letters)
This talk will be the first one in a series exploring the meaning of Mahāmudrā, explained as “the gift of pleasure” in one of Nāropa’s texts, and the role mindfulness plays in this, from the deliberate mindfulness of a beginner all the way up to “mindless Mahāmudrā.” This state of effortless and non-deliberate mindfulness that is beyond mind—simply not being distracted from the very essence of the present moment of the mind—is different from simply paying close attention to the present moment of consciousness. This will include a review of Saraha’s fourfold key teachings on Mahāmudrā, called “minding” (or “mindfullness”), “nonminding” (“mindlessness”), “being unborn,” and “beyond mind.”
The practice of Mahāmudrā provides us with tools to directly click in to the spontaneously present clarity and vast openness of our own buddha mind. In Mahāmudrā shamatha, we familiarize with this through resting the mind in its natural state, which is open, spacious, and relaxed, yet very vibrant. In Mahāmudrā vipashyana, we take a closer look at the mind when it rests in such a way and also when it starts moving and experiences external and internal objects.
By engaging in these profound practices with a genuine sense of trust in our own buddha nature and the teachers that point it out to us, the birth of unborn mind—the warm and all-pervasive glow of emptiness with a heart of compassion—can become a direct experience.
This is exactly what I experienced in ‘Relax your mind’. I don’t even call it ‘practice’, because there’s nothing to practice. It’s completely effortless. I’m almost hesitant to listen to the talk because I don’t want to clutter up my Mahamudra with a lot of concepts. Just do it, it’s so simple. But here’s the link to the page where you can register for the talk: https://nalandabodhi.org/2021/06/29/41562/
P.S. I want to emphasize that with my Relax Your Mind technique, I am not “doing” Mahamudra. In fact, I am not doing anything. Relax your mind. I can’t emphasize this enough. Relax your mind is about not doing anything with your mind. It’s not about ‘not thinking’, it’s about not doing. It’s dropping the task orientation, that “with my mind, I am trying to ‘do’ this or that thing.” I have no goal, nothing to accomplish. I am not trying to obtain enlightenment; I am not trying to ‘purify my mind of taints’. I am not trying to heal my mind or become ‘whole’, or ‘my true self.’ I am not even trying to “experience the true nature of my mind.” Nothing. Not doing anything.