El·e·na [el-uh-nuh, uh-ley-nuh; It. e-le-nah] /ˈɛlənə, əˈleɪnə; It. ɛˈlɛnɑ/ –noun a female given name, form of Helen // A proud student of His Eminence Tsem Rinpoche // Personal assistant with a BSc (Hons) Psych from Uni of Warwick // These are snapshots of my life, in words and pictures

Meditating on the dot-within-a-dot

January 23, 2014 4

Rinpoche is known for using technology to spread the Dharma

Rinpoche is known for using technology to spread the Dharma

Rinpoche sent me the most amazing series of audio messages yesterday. The messages addressed a goal I should achieve, and the method for getting there (and no, I’m not telling you what they are ;)).

Seriously cool that my lama sends me WhatsApp audio recordings but that’s not the point of this blog post.

So when I listened to the messages, my immediate thought was, “OMG, what a privilege.” It was swiftly followed by, “But I’m no one so how is that even possible?”

In times like these, I find it very useful to revert to a couple of things.

  1. trust your lama. Like, duh.
  2. fall back on the dot-within-a-dot meditation

So I guess the first one is pretty self-explanatory. I could go all abstract on you and be like, “Yeah, just do it” but that probably won’t be very helpful for you, so here’s a simple guide you can use. I visualise my teacher as being one with my yidam and the lineage lamas, and request his blessings to fulfil whatever instructions I have received. And generate trust that my lama knows better than I do, because following his instructions has only benefited me thus far so shut up Jean Ai and stop sabotaging yourself with your doubts.

(I talk to myself a lot. Fortunately for my sanity, my voice of reason (versus my voice of impulsive apathy) is pretty strong)

The second one is where it gets real interesting.

 

The Dot-Within-A-Dot Meditation

So the other day, we were just kind of hanging about in Rinpoche’s room (no, not really) doing nothing in particular (REALLY not really haha) when Rinpoche gave us a short teaching on a meditation we can do which, if done regularly, will lead to many positive results: the reduction of our ego, the lessening of our fears, the decrease of our attachments, and the growth of our sense of universal responsibility and compassion.

It is pretty simple and doesn’t require you to be a Buddhist or anything of the sort. You start by thinking about the ever-expanding universe and the billions of galaxies, planetary systems, solar systems and other-technical-terms-I-don’t-know which are out there in that vastness.

Out of all those planets, of which many will be populated*, there is Earth.

So where exactly in this solar system is YOUR problem? ;)

So where exactly in this solar system is YOUR problem? ;)

Then, out of all of the continents on Earth, you were born into your continent-of-residence and out of all of the continents, you were born into your country-of-residence.

Bring that down even more. In that country, you could have been born into any town, and then into any family, but you ended up in the family that you did, as the person that you are.

And let’s whittle down even further. Let’s look at this using the concept of time, which has no beginning and no end. As humans, we like to think that we are so important but realise this – your 80-100 years on this Earth is a blip in the spectrum of time, so how did you come to make your life the centre of the universe?

Now what’s the point of reducing yourself down to a mere speck on the landscape of sentient existence? Is it to disempower you? To demoralise you? To remove all sense of control from your life? No, it is in fact quite the opposite. For when you feel like your problems overwhelm you, like nothing is going right, and AHMAGERD what are you going to do, remember this meditation and realise that your problems are small potatoes on the grander scale of things. Because in this gigantic universe, YOU are so small, so insignificant, you don’t even register.

So why make your problems feel like they herald the end of the world, like they threaten your very existence? For on the grander scale of things, your problems are so teensy weensy, they aren’t as monumental in the way our egos like to perceive them.

Hey, breathe and relax. You can get through your problems.

Okay, so now we come to the empowerment part of things. You there, yes you. The being whom I’ve just reduced into a small speck of almost-nothingness. Here are a couple of things for you to meditate on, after you’ve brought yourself down to a dot (you) within a dot (country) within a dot (Earth) within a dot (our solar system):

  1. If you’re so insignificant on the grand scale of things, why not try and why not fail? What is REALLY going to change, on the grand scale of things, if you fail?
  2. Your abilities are no less than anybody else’s on this planet, who are just as much of a dot within a dot within a dot as you are. Yes, you are just as capable of success as everybody else. Perhaps you have more stumbling blocks than others, maybe they had a head-start in life. But who says you can’t catch up?

Consider where your fear, insecurities, laziness, comfort zones and all of that stuff come from, and whether they really matter. On the grander scale of things, are your 80-100 years of living in a comfort zone all that valuable? Worth giving up everything for? Are you going to spend your short time on Earth accomplishing nothing, helping no one, getting nowhere? Making no great waves for humanity? Is your fear of failure, embarrassment, losing your pride really going to trap you into a life of being just another average human being, just another speck?

Or are you going to realise that waitaminute, you have the power to change the world? (here’s where universal responsibility and compassion come into the picture)

So why not try? And try and try again, and keep failing at trying, until the day your trying becomes Success? In that way, when you turn the meditation around, yes a dot-within-a-dot-within-a-dot really CAN change the world because this dot-within-a-dot-within-a-dot, after meditating on the vastness and potential of our Perfect Human Rebirth, now has something special and has become something very different…the ultimate kind of human being, the one with an enlightened mind :)

*yes, I do think life exists on other planets. From a scientific point-of-view, in an ever-expanding universe, to say that only Earth possesses the conditions to sustain life is ridiculously narrow-minded. From a Buddhist point-of-view, in an ever-expanding universe, it’s pretty arrogant to think we are the only sentient beings in all of the systems out there. Key word here: ever-expanding.

Reflections and Teachings

4 Comments → “Meditating on the dot-within-a-dot”

  1. Love the way you write. Thanks for this.

  2. mima 3 years ago   Reply

    What a useful view and powerful vision to remember especially when we become self-centered on our own little self and difficulties…Thank you for sharing with us the precious Dot-Within-A-Dot Meditation!

  3. Han 3 years ago   Reply

    Thank you for such a meaningful post. Thank you for sharing!

  4. Sock Wan 3 years ago   Reply

    This is so witty, simple but yet powerful. Many of us gives up easily including myself, but keep running away will not bring success at all. The only way to be successful is to keep trying. I do not want to leave this world feeling bitter, I will keep trying til I succeed. Thank you Pastor Jean Ai for this powerful article. _/\_

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