By Yongey Mingyur Rinpoche and Helen Tworkov
Recommended on: 19th August 2022
In Love with the World: A Monk’s Journey Through the Bardos of Living and Dying, by Yongey Mingyur Rinpoche and Helen Tworkov. We’re a bit meditation-heavy lately. But this is because while in Nepal (along with many other Asian destinations) in October-November, Barb will be spending time at the Kathmandu Tergar Osel Ling Monastery. (Barb, Terry, and Beth’s book Uncommon Sense Teaching is used there as a textbook, thanks to its neuroscientific insight that also supports the monastery’s Buddhist perspectives.) In Love with the World is a fascinating book about the world of meditation because it centers around world-renowned Buddhist monk Mingyur Rinpoche’s near-death experience and the insights he gained from it.
Basically, Mingyur Rinpoche decided to do a “wandering retreat”—which meant going out into the real world instead of withdrawing into solitary meditation. In some sense, he sought to escape the patterns that had been locked in by his habitual, basal ganglia-based procedural system. As he notes: “To break the mold of my conditioning, I had needed to do something a little extreme. In order to break through our conditioning and confront old habits, we might deliberately reverse a common pattern, at least for a limited time: If we habitually pick up a cup with our right hand, we commit to using our left hand; or we vow not to check our media devices more than once an hour; or for one week we promise never to exceed the speed limit when driving. I do not drive, but I have been told that this can be quite difficult. Anything that interferes with mindless repetition can function as a wake-up call, and an antidote to automatic, mindless behavior and habitual fixations. To encourage curiosity and flexibility, it’s important to discover our limits, and then stretch a bit further. In terms of lifestyle, a wandering retreat for me was a very big stretch, no doubt about it. But… That’s how I’d ended up on this train, all alone, in the middle of the night.”
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