May 03, 2013
In previous posts I’ve suggested an approach to cultivating lovingkindness that begins with contacting our innate lovingkindness. Now the expression “contacting our innate lovingkindness” is a problem for many people, because they look inside themselves, don’t see anything at that moment that they could call “metta” or “lovingkindness,” and then conclude they don’t have these qualities. Which can start a downward spiral of rumination and pain: I don’t feel any love; Therefore I don’t love myself; Therefore I must be unlovable; Therefore no one will ever love me; Therefore my life is horrible.
I think almost everyone has experienced that kind of emotional nose-dive.
But I think that when this happens …
Apr 17, 2013
As part of our 100 Days of Lovingkindess we’re focusing on metta (lovingkindness) practice for 25 days, before going on to explore compassion, joy and equanimity (although I prefer to call this “loving with insight”).
People often think that lovingkindness is something hard. I’m going to write more about that tomorrow, but for now I want to stress the naturalness of metta, and how it arises effortlessly from certain reflections.
To begin with cultivating lovingkindness for a friend, let’s just note that the friend is someone for whom we already have metta. The Pali word (or one of them) for friend is “mitta” and you can see the obvious resemblance …
Jan 04, 2013
Many of us feel that our thoughts are out of our control. We think about work long after we have left, we worry about the future and keep going over things that have gone wrong in the past. Meanwhile, life seems to be slipping by.
Modern psychology also recognises that compulsive thinking can lead us into stress, anxiety and depression. Worrying about our problems seems important, but it leaves us feeling worse and believing we have less power to change things.
Mindfulness helps by giving us the mental space to stand back, recognise what’s happening and explore alternatives. Here are some helpful approaches associated with mindfulness and meditation.
1. Learning to let go of thoughts
Wildmind Meditation News
Nov 28, 2012
Lakshmi Krupa. the Hindu: Sue Craig is a busy management consultant from the U.K. A professional running her own business, with two teenage children, elderly parents and in-laws, she was in search of something that would help her stay calm. “I came across passage meditation a few years ago and it really appealed to me,” explains Sue who is on a visit to Chennai, as part of her trip to explore India.
“In this form of meditation, you meditate or focus all your energies on a text — it could be an extract from a scripture or words of wise men or saints …
Jun 25, 2012
There’s a verse in an ancient Buddhist text that says something to the effect that we all want to be happy, and yet we destroy happiness as if it was an enemy, and we all want to avoid suffering, yet run towards it as if it were a dear friend.
This really resonates with my experience, and recently I’ve been incorporating a reflection based on this into my lovingkindness practice.
I start with myself. I recollect that I do in fact want to be happy and acknowledge how difficult it can be at times to experience joy and wellbeing. And then I ask whether some part of me is prepared …
Nov 09, 2011
Ann Lamott, in her novel Crooked Little Heart, says that holding onto resentment is like eating rat poison and waiting for the rat to die.
Resentment is seductive. We assume on some level that it’s going to help us, but it doesn’t. It just causes us pain.
This is something that just about all of us need help with.
1600 years ago, a compiler and commenter of Buddhist texts called Buddhaghosa put together an extraordinary “tool kit” of ways to deal with resentment. I was recently looking at this guidance, which is part of Buddhaghosa’s encyclopedic work on meditation, The Visuddhi Magga, or Path of Purity, and thought it was so fresh, well …
Dec 29, 2010
At the climax of the 2001 movie Vanilla Sky, Tom Cruise’s character, playboy David Aames, comes to realize that he’s been in suspended animation for 150 years and is trapped in a dream. He makes this discovery on top of an improbably tall building, apparently miles high, with the guidance of Edmund Ventura, a “Support Technician” who is trying to guide him back to waking reality.
Before he entered suspended animation, David had made the decision to awaken from this dream by facing his fear of heights. In order to wake up, he must now leap from the top of the building. Also on the rooftop is someone who …
Sep 16, 2010
About three weeks ago I embarked on a 40 day spiritual programme. It’s a simple thing really –- daily reading, reflecting and writing on the themes –- but the effects have been profound.
I’m no stranger to this sort of thing, having spent my twenties engaged in full time study and practice on the lead up to becoming an ordained Buddhist, but it’s been a while since I’ve taken up a such a purposeful, purely spiritual, exercise.
Recently, things have been very settled for me in my new abode –- a couple of caravans tucked away in the fields of rural Devon, in southwest England. I call it …
Apr 28, 2009
Many people think of thought as the enemy of meditation, and yet properly handled thought can be a helper and a tool. master meditation-teacher Vajradaka explains how.
One of the most common Buddhist meditation practices is the Mindfulness of Breathing. In one common form, as practiced in my own tradition (the Triratna Buddhist Community) and as taught on Wildmind, awareness of the breath is the main focus over four stages. The first two stages use counting as an aid to concentration, while in the third awareness is brought to the whole breathing process without counting. In the final stage the focus is the sensation caused by the incoming and outgoing breath around the …
Apr 26, 2009
How well can our views and convictions withstand the spotlight of awareness? Dhammavijaya show us how we can scrutinize our beliefs, and outlines the benefits of increased clarity.
What is a belief? Where do our beliefs come from? Are beliefs important and if so, why? Are all beliefs of equal value? If not, why not? How can we tell if our beliefs reflect the way things really are?
When I have put these questions to people in Buddhist centers recently the discussion they have provoked has been remarkably lively. Perhaps it is refreshing to be asked about our beliefs because so often we are simply told what to believe. This started early in life when, in …