Day 15 of Wildmind’s 100 Day Meditation Challenge

January 15, 2013

100 day meditation challenge 015One of my meditation students, Janette, wrote saying that doing a body scan meditation had helped her with pain:

I have tried the body scan twice and love it ! I suffer a lot with arthritic pain and felt I was floating above all this during the scan. Really felt the breath flowing through the body and then there was only the breath and I was absolutely pain free and so at peace.

Sometimes when we have pain we focus on it in a rather “obsessed” way, so that it fills the whole of our experience. I suspect that what’s happening in your Janette’s is that she’s experiencing all the things that are “not pain” … Read more »

Day 14 of Wildmind’s 100 Day Meditation Challenge

January 14, 2013

100 day meditation challenge 014Stuart Valentine, who’s participating in the 100 Day Challenge, wrote about how fear of other’s judgements can stop us from getting started:

Being a born pessimist, one of the first things that occurred to me about the 100 Day Challenge was that if I did it, I would have to do it PERFECTLY. And this was clearly impossible, so there was no point trying.

‘Scoring’ just 99 out of 100 would be a disaster. I would feel irritated with myself, embarrassed, would have let myself and others down… and many other negative emotions I projected on to this ‘awful’ event.

If I ended on 90 out of 100, or heavens forbid 89 out of 100,

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Day 13 of Wildmind’s 100 Day Meditation Challenge

January 13, 2013

100 day meditation challenge 013Brendan Lawlor is participating in the 100 Day Challenge, and in fact he was one of the catalysts for it. Brandan’s part of Wildmind’s Google+ Community, which is a place for people to discuss their practice, and he mentioned that, according to the meditation app on his smartphone, he had meditated for 100 days straight. Another group member suggested that we could turn that into a challenge for the new year. And so here we are.

Brendan wrote something about beginner’s mind and the 100 Day Challenge:

I speak fluent but deeply compromised Italian. When I was in the earliest learning phase, I acquired new words and structures very quickly but I had to

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Day 12 of Wildmind’s 100 Day Meditation Challenge

January 12, 2013

100 day meditation challenge 012Almost everyone is going around making judgments all the time, about others — and about themselves. It’s hard to remember to be compassionate, or to actually be compassionate if we remember. Here’s one perspective that helps me.

Behind every negative emotion, there’s a positive intent or valid need. So when we’re grumpy and unpleasant to people, for example, there’s a need and an intent to defend ourselves (our feelings being fragile and easily provoked at that time). When we crave something it’s because we’re short on happiness, and see the object of our craving as a source of the happiness we need. When we’re worrying about something we’re looking for a solution to something we … Read more »

Day 11 of Wildmind’s 100 Day Meditation Challenge

January 11, 2013

100 day meditation challenge 011It astonishes me how much time I spend making judgements about people, but the truly surprising thing is that although it makes me feel bad, I keep doing it. And it leads to unfortunate interactions with people which ends up causing them suffering too.

One thing that protects us against this kind of self-imposed suffering is lovingkindness (metta) practice. Lovingkindness is an important complement to mindfulness practice.

To cultivate metta we can do something as simple as repeat to ourselves, “May you be well; may you be happy” as we see others. We can do this while walking or driving, for example.

We can take a more reflective approach to cultivating lovingkindness. I often consider … Read more »

Nimittas: Day 10 of Wildmind’s 100 Day Meditation Challenge

January 10, 2013

100 day meditation challenge 010Yesterday I wrote about samapattis, which are slightly strange, and often a bit disturbing, experiences that can arise in meditation. They’re often a bit hallucinatory, and it’s not a good idea to pay much attention to them.

Nimittas are another kind of unusual experience we can have in meditation, but they’re more useful. The word “nimitta” literally means a “sign” or a “hint.” These are experiences we can have that let us know we’re making progress in meditation.

Nimittas, like samapattis, come in different forms. They can be visual, or kinesthetic, or even auditory.

In one classic meditation text, the Vimuttimagga, the arising of nimittas is described like this: “the nimitta arises with a … Read more »

Day 9 of Wildmind’s 100 Day Meditation Challenge

January 9, 2013

100 day meditation challenge 009Someone on my Google+ Community asked the following question:

During my sit I saw a bright white/yellow circle shape flash of light in between my eyebrows (closed eye meditation). The light came rushing at me and filled my vision then vanished. While very interesting, it actually freaked me out a bit. Is there a name for this experience?

I replied, “It’s what we call a samapatti. There are various kinds of these, and some of them involve light, although they can be tactile, proprioceptive, auditory, etc. They usually arise as the mind is starting to settle, and they’re more common in people who are relatively new to meditation. They’re nothing to worry about (they’re common) … Read more »

Day 8 of Wildmind’s 100 Day Meditation Challenge

January 8, 2013

100 day meditation challenge 008Our 100 Day Meditation challenge is going very well. It’s not possible to know how many people are joining in, but there are lots of people commenting in our Google+ Community, where the idea originated, and lesser numbers posting on Facebook and on our blog.

I thought this might be a good time to mention some of the resources that we have available on this site for learning meditation. The following list is copied from our home page.

Generally we’ll suggest that people establish a good basis of mindfulness of breathing and development of lovingkindness meditation as the core of their sitting practice — using the principles of good posture as articulated in our … Read more »

Hit the ground sitting! Day 7 of our 100 Day Meditation Challenge

January 7, 2013

timer appBrendan Lawlor, who’s participating in the 100 Day challenge over on Our Google+ Community, wrote:

I see that the Wildmind blog on the 100 day challenge is concentrating on reminders and other tricks for establishing a practice. So I wanted to suggest to +Bodhipaksa Dharmacari that some meditation timers for smartphones include widgets that give you immediate feedback on your state of play, so to speak. I’m including a partial screenshot of my device to give you an idea.

The upper number gives the current number of consecutive days. The lower number is your personal best. The bar on the right is fills up (with blue) according to how much of your daily minimum you

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Hit the ground sitting! Day 6 of our 100 Day Meditation Challenge

January 6, 2013

100 day meditation challenge 006The 100 Day Meditation Challenge is designed to help us establish a strong habit of meditating daily. This is something that’s been a struggle for me, and it’s taken me 30 years (yeah, I’m a slow learner) to finally feel that I have a solid habit of meditating daily. It was the affirmation I discuss here that really did it for me.

Now I did have one “failure” when I completely forgot to meditate one day that I was unusually busy with childcare, but in the end I regarded that as an interesting test of the weaknesses of my affirmation. What had happened was that I’d felt less need to remind myself “I meditate every … Read more »