On this 42-day online course we will explore a meditation practice taught by the Buddha himself — the Six Element Practice — an earth-shattering and yet profoundly beautiful reflection on the interconnected and impermanent nature of our being.
The mindfulness of breathing is a fundamental meditation practice that everyone should know. The benefits? You'll find that this practice helps you to calm your mind so that there's less inner chatter (especially the stuff that makes you unhappy). You'll find also that you're less distractible and better able to pay attention.
The development of lovingkindness (metta bhavana) works directly on our emotional habits, helping us to become more emotionally positive. You'll learn to be kinder to yourself: more patient, more understanding. You'll find that you're more considerate to others and that it's easier to forgive. You may even find (as others have) that others around you mysteriously become easier to be around. Hmmm.. wonder why that is?
Walking meditation is a great way to bring more meditation into your daily life; it's a practice that can be done even in a busy city street. In this form of practice we develop greater mindfulness of the body, but we also become more aware of our thought patterns, our emotions, and even of the outside world. It's a calming practice. Walking meditation can also be a lovingkindness practice, especially when you're walking in a public place.
Our mantra meditation section is the most popular destination for our visitors. Mantras are simply phrases that we repeat (usually internally, but they can also be chanted out loud). As well as occupying the mind and thus calming it by preventing it from getting up to the usual mischief that causes us pain, mantras also have a symbolic value that evokes spiritual qualities.
The six element practice is a profound reflection on interconnectedness and impermanence. It's a very beautiful form of meditation. It not only helps us to calm the mind and give us a reassuring sense of our place in the great scheme of things, but it can be unsettling and challenging as well. Yes, I know. Reassuring and unsettling. That's Buddhist practice for you!
In a way there's nothing very "Buddhist" about the meditation you'll find on Wildmind. When you pay attention to your breath, or to the sensations in your body as you walk, or when you cultivate feelings of love for another person, you won't have a sense that you're doing anything very "religious." In a way these are simply "human" meditation practices -- ways that a human being can pay attention to his or her own experience, and gently cultivate greater awareness and love.
The simplest form of meditation we teach here is mindfulness of breathing. The essence of this practice is that we simply bring our attention to the sensations of the breathing, and when the mind wanders, as it will, we gently steer it back to the breath once again. However in the form we teach here, there are four stages, each of which has a specific purpose in helping us to develop calmness, energy, continuity of awareness, or one-pointedness.
The other main form of meditation that we teach is the cultivation of lovingkindness, in which we take responsibility for our emotions, and encourage the development of qualities of empathy, patience, kindness, and compassion.
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