“Don’t use your meditation practice to harm yourself, only use it to help yourself.”

Do you know about Dr. Paul Fleischman’s recent Old Student talks? The title of this blog post is a quote from one such talk, available for streaming audio or download by old students on the website pariyatti.org.

You can link to the talks here.

I am not always 100% successful at accomplishing my twice daily 1-hour sittings, and Dr. Fleischman’s perspectives are immensely helpful to remember not to beat myself up whenever I fall short of the goals I set for myself. It’s all about one’s dhamma volition.

Description of the talk, from Pariyatti:

Dr. Paul R. Fleischman talks specifically with Old Students highlighting the theme, “Don’t use your meditation practice to harm yourself, only use it to help yourself.” These two talks, recorded in San Francisco and Dhamma Kuñja, will inspire and help old-students who are working towards creating a daily practice in the throes of modern life.

Here are a couple of comments/reviews about the talk from other old students on the Pariyatti website:

simple and inspirational

This talk by Dr. Paul is a must for every individual who has ever taken a course of Vipassana. We all falter on the path and get confused – I found Dr. Paul’s simple approach and reassuring words to be very inspiring. Have listened to this talk numerous times and I recommend it to everyone.

Reviewed by: Nishant from West New York. on 11/11/2016

Supportive and encouraging

An assistant teacher just recommended this talk to me when I told her that I was trying to restart my practice after stopped when I had a baby 2 years ago. I feel so grateful and supported after listening to the San Francisco talk. The knowledge that so many other meditators deal with the same challenges to maintaini a practice is relieving, and Dr. Fleischman’s advice to help with those challenges is very encouraging. It’s okay that our minds wander! I could instantly relate to his question to the audience asking whether anyone had sat for an hour and realised at the end that they had forgotten to meditate for that whole hour, without observing any breath or feeling any sensations… two days ago I repeatedly tried to feel sensations from the top of my head and I kept forgetting what I was doing before I finished my scalp – I never made it to my forehead! I admit that I gave up after 15 very long minutes. I now I have added strength and volition to persist next time, smilingly. I’ve been reminded that we get benefit from each attempt, as long as our intention is there. Much thanks to Dr. Fleischman for helping me to set priorities and realistic expectations.

Reviewed by: Lara from Toronto. on 10/3/2016

Give these talks a listen, if you haven’t already. I hope that you will find them as helpful as I have.

“Start again.” — Goenkaji

This entry was posted in Personal Experiences by Ryan Shelton. Bookmark the permalink.

About Ryan Shelton

While I'm currently married to a beautiful woman while teaching physics at Padua Academy, these descriptors fail to capture the totality of my adventurous life. I have hiked over 1700 miles, traveled to 5 continents, managed a bakery, started a meditation center, counseled troubled teens, attended Duke, UNC, and Harvard, protected forests as a wildland firefighter, volunteered thousands of hours with Americorps, rafted the Grand Canyon, SCUBA dived on the Great Barrier Reef, and continues to find new adventures. I hope my writing encourages you to pursue your dreams and be the best version of yourself while supporting your communities to work together to solve the current challenges in our world.

2 thoughts on ““Don’t use your meditation practice to harm yourself, only use it to help yourself.”

    • Awesome! That makes me so happy to know that I was able to be helpful to someone out there. These two talks about how to approach one’s daily practice are so valuable. A new dhamma friend I made while serving a 10-day course a few months ago shared with me that she downloaded the talk to her phone and listens to it from time to time whenever she needs a refresher/dhamma boost. I recently downloaded the talk to my phone too! Metta to you.

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