guided meditation recordings

Guided compassion meditation (karuna bhavana)

Here’s a recording of a guided meditation that I led in a Google+ Hangout, for people who are part of Wildmind’s Google+ community. The meditation is the Karuna Bhavana (Cultivating Compassion) in five stages, where we cultivate compassion for:

  1. Ourselves
  2. A suffering person
  3. A “neutral person”
  4. A “difficult person
  5. All sentient beings.

Enjoy!

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Jon Kabat-Zinn gives advice for unhappy news junkies

wildmind meditation news

Jon Brooks: Jon Kabat-Zinn was on KQED Radio’s Forum show on Tuesday, talking about his latest book, Mindfulness for Beginners: Reclaiming the Present Moment.

Kabat-Zinn is a professor of medicine emeritus at the University of Massachusetts Medical School and the founder of the school’s stress reduction clinic, which uses “mindfulness-based” techniques to alleviate stress. He is also the author of two bestselling books on mindfulness, which is defined by the clinic as “a way of learning to relate directly to whatever is happening in your life, a way of taking charge of your life, a way of doing something for yourself that no one else can do for you — consciously and systematically working with your own stress, pain, illness, and the challenges and demands of everyday life.”

After his appearance on KQED Radio, I took the opportunity to talk to Kabat-Zinn about a topic of personal relevance to me: How do you keep from being negatively affected by the news? He said a lot of really good stuff before recommending, among other things, taking a “news fast,” where you don’t read, listen to, or watch the news. At which point I remembered what I did for a living and had him escorted out by security.

See also:

Jon Brooks

There’s been a lot of bad news in recent years with the economy decimated and unemployment high and budget cuts. For consumers of news who find themselves overly affected by negative reports, what can they do in terms of mindfulness?

Jon Kabat-Zinn

If they’re very affected by it and negatively affected by it, what mindfulness would suggest is that you start to look at that and actually experience how you’re being affected by it. How it’s affecting your body, how it’s affecting the rest of your day, how much of your time are you spending consuming the news. That’s the word that’s often used; we consume the news, we eat it up. And it often consumes us; just the way tuberculosis was often called consumption. So in a way it’s a certain kind of disease process.

Why do we have to know all of that? And how much do we have to know it and in how much detail? And then why do we repeat it or read three newspapers or read the same newspaper three times and then read it on your iPad or iPhone? And maybe if it’s really having a negative affect on you, one might entertain the notion quite seriously of just for a couple of weeks taking a news fast and not doing it at all.

First of all you’ll have so much more time, and second of all real life still unfolds. You will still have a full life. And if you’re unemployed and you have to find a job then maybe you won’t be so bummed out that all the possibilities seem against you. You can tap into what’s possible, independent of what all the experts are saying is possible. That’s a hugely powerful way to work with things.

So one way is to just cut it out for a period of time and see how addicted we are to it and what the affect of it is. I had that experience once when I went on retreat right after 9/11. I was on retreat for six weeks, no newspaper, no radio, no nothing. I was just meditating and sitting and walking all the time for six weeks.

When I came out we were at war in Afghanistan and this and that, but the fact of the matter is that if you do a news fast for any stretch of time, the French have this old saying, plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose – the more things change, the more they’re the same. You can miss six weeks of the news, and it’s like almost any six weeks of the news will replace any other six weeks. The same maniacs are saying the same stupid things over and over again and they’re being decoded by all the pundits and everybody’s got something to say and a lot of it is just totally empty.

And the good news that there is in the newspaper — that often doesn’t get much air time. There’s an enormous amount of good news -– you can actually start to read some of the good things that are happening, or emphasize them.

The other thing to do is to bring mindfulness to reading the newspaper or listening to the news. And notice how easy it is to get addicted to it, and how passive a process it is, and how in some sense disempowering. And that awareness is actually in itself empowering. And how you choose to be in relationship to it is of course part of the repertoire of life decisions each of us must make moment by moment and day by day.

I bought a newspaper this morning to get on BART. At a certain point I just left it on BART because I wanted to walk down the street without a newspaper under my arms. I wanted to not go back to it if I had 10 minutes to — quote unquote — kill. You don’t have ten minutes to kill; no one has ten minutes to kill. Because those moments are irretrievable and they’re your life in those 10 minutes. So how about feeling the air as you walk down the street, how about noticing the light, noticing the quality of emotion on other people’s faces or the buildings if you happen to be in the city.

And in all those ways you’re reclaiming moments of your life, as opposed to in some sense pissing them away by absorbing something that has no direct relationship to your life at all.

Jon Brooks

You mention being empowered. One thing I find is that when I read the news is I get upset because I feel powerless — I have no control over these world-changing events that can affect my life, and that makes me frustrated and mad.

Jon Kabat-Zinn

I sympathize with and understand that. It can be quite depressing and anxiety-inducing. But for the most part it doesn’t lead to any satisfactory way to take a stand. Sometimes it does – this Occupy movement for instance. People actually saying we are fed up. And the news media very often, until you have thousands of people in the street disrupting things, doesn’t call a spade a spade. But when you have a meme like the 99% — we can be frustrated but we can also feel empowered. There are ways to actually bring awareness to how much we disempower ourselves and then blame it on the media.

I have to say, I read the newspaper a lot, I watch cable news from time to time. Because I want to see what other people are saying about something; it’s like taking the pulse of the nation. When I can hear people giving very different perspectives on things, it reminds me that no one has a monopoly on the truth. And everyone’s citing it from a different coordinate system, and it’s up to me to synthesize from moment to moment what I think is actually going on.

But to a large extent, the way society changes is when we no longer accept the consensus reality and say no, I’m a citizen, my reality is going to be the reality, I’m going to inhabit it and then take action in the social domain and exercise my rights of citizenship.

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Audio: Jon Kabat-Zinn on people negatively affected by the news

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Meditating with tinnitus

Milarepa sitting, with a hand raised to his right ear, listening.

If you suffer from tinnitus – persistent ringing in the ears – you may wonder whether meditation is a good idea. And yet it can be a powerful tool in helping you come to terms with the white noise inside your head. Meditator and long-time tinnitus sufferer Mandy Sutter airs some of the issues.

Tinnitus can make meditation very difficult. And because meditation is mostly silent, it may seem that meditation can make tinnitus very difficult, too.

It’s certainly true that as soon as you sit down on the cushion and close your eyes, the tinnitus seems to get louder. It isn’t really getting louder: it only seems that way because you are cutting down on other external stimuli. However, the thought that you’re making it ‘worse’ by meditating can be off-putting, if you let it go unchallenged.

Even accepting that, some days it’s still tempting to stay off the cushion completely. And of course, a missed day can easily turn into a missed few days, a week, a month.

Indeed, some tinnitus experts believe that sufferers should avoid silence altogether.

But this rather black-and-white view doesn’t help the person who wants to meditate, so rather than hanging up one’s meditation mat for good, I think it’s worth investigating some of the resources available to see if there’s anything out there (or in there!) to help you.

Courses and books

Perhaps the first thing to consider is attending a led course on managing your tinnitus through mindfulness meditation. These courses, which are becoming popular with healthcare professionals, are held in a variety of settings, including medical ones. They aim to defuse the anxiety and stress caused by tinnitus and they often report excellent success rates. Try typing the words ‘tinnitus’ and ‘mindfulness’ into your search engine to see what’s available in your area.

There are other types of tinnitus retraining, too. One scientist of particular interest is Pawel Jastreboff, who rejects the old idea that tinnitus is caused by damage to the ear and believes in re-educating sufferers to think of the condition positively as, say, ‘the music of the brain.’ He posits a strong connection between anxiety about tinnitus and its perceived severity, and has found that a shift in thought can have a dramatic effect on someone’s perception of their tinnitus.

Also see:

Vidyamala Prue Burch’s book ‘Living Well with Pain and Illness’ (reviewed here on Wildmind) is another helpful resource. It doesn’t deal specifically with tinnitus, but uses meditation to approach any chronic condition. There are practical tips on how to cultivate a wider awareness of your body that puts your condition into context.

Some practical tips

Personally I’ve found this particular approach – of cultivating a wider awareness – invaluable. I now sometimes wear earplugs while I meditate (this is a complete no-no for some tinnitus sufferers, though, so please approach with care). Because wearing earplugs magnifies ALL inner body sounds, like swallowing and breathing, the tinnitus sounds seem to decrease by comparison, or at least just take their place among my body’s other normal noises. I find I can simply welcome them to the party.

I have also spent some time actively listening to my tinnitus during meditation, and although this may feel unpleasant and even counter-intuitive at first, I recommend it. When you really listen, you may identify sounds like crashing cymbals or whistles, or notice that your tinnitus varies in volume, or has a wave-like pattern. I have found it helpful to learn the length and breadth of my tinnitus in this way: it makes me less prone to worry.

Meditating with your eyes open can help: the increased visual stimulus acting as a balance to the unsolicited sound stimulus. You can use incense in a similar way. And I sometimes find it useful to meditate sitting against a warm radiator, the body sensation of heat again providing a balance. Walking meditation is another valuable and legitimate resource.

Using sound

Also helpful are guided meditations on CD or mp3 (there’s a good selection of these here at the Wildmind store, and search the meditation pages for free ones. Bodhipaksa has many on the free Insight Timer app. Of course, there are still periods of silence during a guided meditation (though some have background muzak) but the voice coming in and out focusses one’s attention away from the tinnitus.

Listening to ambient sound is another option. You can buy devices or download mp3 files that reproduce the sound of waves, or rain pattering on a windowpane, or the crackling of a log fire. Whale or dolphin sounds can also be good. You can concentrate on the sounds as the object of your meditation or use your normal meditation technique (e.g. counting the breath) with the sounds in the background. I have a Sound Oasis which I find invaluable. These devices can be pricey though, so it’s worth downloading some free ambient sounds to your computer before you buy one, to make sure this method suits you.

You’ll find some ambient sounds more effective than others, depending on the character of your own tinnitus and the nature of your own emotional responses to things. I usually turn my Sound Oasis to ‘Harbour Swell’ (the sound of a creaking boat bobbing on the waters) but this might not suit someone who suffers from seasickness!

Listening to music may help, though you may find it too emotionally stimulating. In fact, this may be one of the rare occasion when muzak is better than music!

Forget any idea that this isn’t ‘proper’ meditation (something that bugged me for a while). It’s just a different kind of meditation.

For some tinnitus sufferers, wearing earphones is helpful. The sound is brought closer, as if inserted between your hearing and the tinnitus. This isn’t the case for everyone, though, so find out what suits you.

Going on retreat

Silent meditation retreats pose a particular problem for the tinnitus sufferer. Forget ‘me and my shadow’ – it’s ‘me and my tinnitus’ for days on end. What you can face intermittently during the course of a normal day can seem overwhelming when it’s continuous.

But it’s still do-able. My tinnitus is quite severe, but I go on retreat several times a year.

The important thing is to look after yourself. As you already know, tinnitus is an invisible condition, so no-one makes allowances for you automatically. You may find it difficult to make allowances for yourself, too. But however embarrassed or guilty you feel about making a special case of yourself in an environment where you are strongly encouraged not to, please do: you have my permission, at least! Retreat leaders can be very helpful if approached beforehand.

Request a single room if one is available. You can play ambient sounds and there will be less chance of being woken during the night (tinnitus sufferer often find it difficult to get back to sleep).

Keep your eyes open during meditations if you need to, or take yourself off for walking meditations while the others sit in the shrine room.

No matter what the normal rules are, allow yourself books, iPod or CD player and earphones. You may not need to use them, but they can act as a security blanket.

If particular foods exacerbate your tinnitus (e.g. caffeine) a retreat may offer the ideal opportunity to avoid them for a time. If other foods help, take them with you. Chocolate helps my tinnitus (only kidding, unfortunately).

Taking care of yourself on retreat can be a valuable lesson in self-metta (loving-kindness towards oneelf).

Coming to terms with tinnitus

Having said that, it was on a silent retreat three years ago where I had no security blanket that I perhaps came most deeply to terms with my tinnitus.

My single room hadn’t materialised, and I was sharing with someone who kept putting the light on through the night. Despite decamping to the sitting room a couple of times, I went for four nights with virtually no sleep. I became more and more anxious. My tinnitus, exacerbated by the anxiety, raged continually. I felt as if a jetplane was taking off in my head. All the meditations were a write-off. Finally I made a break for the retreat office to ring my partner and ask him to come and get me (he’d only have had to drive 200 miles). But I couldn’t remember our phone number.

I decided to stay till the next morning, if only because it was too late to leave that evening. And that night in bed, tinnitus raging, I felt despair laced with terror. What if this never ended? What if this was how it was going to be for the rest of my life? My heart thundered and I had to stuff the pillow into my mouth to stop myself from crying out.

Then I heard a clear voice in my head. ‘You don’t need to follow that train of thought,’ it said. ‘You just need to calm down. You know how: you have the tools. But they won’t work if you don’t use them.’

For some reason, I was able to recognise the truth of this. It was a great relief. I lay in bed going through every relaxation technique I’d ever learnt, be that in cognitive behavioural therapy, meditation classes, or hypnotherapy. It took a while but eventually I felt my body and mind profoundly relax, and knew I would sleep, if not now then later. The tinnitus, loud and insistent, was still there. The feeling of relaxation wasn’t one of relaxing despite it, or beyond it, but alongside it. At that moment, some of the emotional charge went out of my perception of my tinnitus, and it has never come back.

So, through meditation, I’d say it’s eminently possible to reach some degree of accommodation with your tinnitus, no matter how you go about it. You may even come to see your tinnitus as significant, instead of a nuisance: a vehicle for self-nurturing, and for reaching accommodation with yourself as a whole (including all the painful, messy and inconvenient bits).

You may even find, over time, that you have made friends with your tinnitus: or at least that you are not the sworn enemies you once thought you were.

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“Abiding in Ease, Here and Now”: An invitation to listen in on Bodhipaksa’s teaching

This is an invitation to download some free MP3s of my teaching.

This week I’m doing a lot of meditation teaching at Aryaloka Buddhist Center in New Hampshire, and I’ve been recording the meditation sessions and uploading them to a Dropbox account.

Most of the recordings are from 30 to 50 minutes long. I’ve been introducing the Mindfulness of Breathing, Development of Lovingkindness, and Walking Meditation practices. The overall theme is a phrase from the Pali canon, “Abiding in Ease, Here and Now,” and the meditations encourage a sense of spacious relaxation into the moment, with the emphasis on acceptance and equanimity.

If you’d like to download these, just post a comment below, and I’ll add you to the dropbox account. The MP3s are free (and for personal use only) and it doesn’t cost anything to join Dropbox.

NEW
A problem I hadn’t anticipated with Dropbox is that I keep subscribing people to the folder and they keep deleting the MP3 files, which means they’re gone for everyone. Replacing them every 30 minutes is getting to be tedious. So here’s the deal. You don’t have to post a comment below — just click on this link! Then right click (Control click on a Mac) and download the files. Check back every day, since I’ll be adding new files as they’re recorded. I don’t think you even have to join Dropbox now.

The meditation are not professionally recorded, and there is some background noise.

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“Awake at the Wheel: Mindful Driving” by Michele McDonald

“Awake at the Wheel: Mindful Driving,” by Michele McDonald

There are pitfalls in listening to mindfulness tapes in the car. Once I was talking to a woman at a workshop I was leading in Spokane, and she related that she’d once been so engrossed in a mindfulness tape by Thich Nhat Hanh that she’d rear-ended a truck. It’s for that sort of reason that I’ve never acted on any of the suggestions various people have made over the years that I should record a CD about mindful driving.

Michele McDonald, however, is made of braver stuff, and with both hands firmly (but gently) on the wheel she set off to record guided meditations that help turn driving into a mindfulness practice. And she’s done a good job.

Title: Awake at the Wheel: Mindful Driving
Author: Michele McDonald
Publisher: More Than Sound

Awake at the Wheel is a two-CD set of mindfulness exercises, also available as a download. There are seven exercises in all, from around five minutes in length to just over 16 minutes. The same exercises are repeated on both CDs, with less guidance being given in the second set.

McDonald is the founder of Vipassana Hawai’i and has been teaching vipassana meditation for over 25 years. Her Facebook page says that she has been a “quiet pioneer, having being the first woman to teach a formal retreat in Burma.” This experience shows, for her teaching in Awake at the Wheel is exemplary. She begins, in the introductory track, with emphasizing the need for safety, care for ourselves and others, and lovingkindness. And the final track is simply entitled “Kindness,” and is a what I’d call a “moving metta (lovingkindness)” practice. This framing of the entire program in terms of mindfulness is good on two counts: first, the listener may (we hope) avoid the pitfall of rear-ending a vehicle while listening to someone talk about mindfulness, and second, it emphasizes that lovingkindness and mindfulness are complementary, and even inseparable, qualities.

McDonald’s teaching is carefully crafted. She introduces mindfulness skills a little at a time, first just emphasizing the two “anchors” of noticing the sensations in the hands, and what we’re seeing in our visual field. In the first exercise she rather cleverly asks the driver to use oncoming regularly spaced objects (think telephone poles or fence posts) as ways to break the experience into manageable chunks. She builds from this to noticing the thoughts that arise when we space out and slip into autopilot, skills of “noting” (gently applying mental labels to our experiences), being aware of the body, our hearing, and our emotions.

In several cases she introduced a brief exercise, and then asks us to repeat it. This is an excellent way of helping people to, as McDonald puts it, “build a skill-set.” Her choice of words is excellent, and she has some insightful phrases, such as “The willingness to start again is the most important aspect of mindfulness.”

There were times that I thought she failed to suggest noticing experiences that it would be natural to pay attention to while driving. For example, she suggests that in our mindfulness of hearing we can pay attention to the sounds of birds (which I don’t think I ever notice), but doesn’t suggest being aware of the sound of the engine, or the swoosh of passing vehicles. When being aware of the body she doesn’t mention being aware of the movements in the arms. But these are minor points, and the mindful driver will no doubt notice these sounds without having them pointed out.

This CD set is, as I indicated, designed to be used while driving rather than listened to at home as a rehearsal for driving. I confess I listened to the program in my office, because I wanted to be able to take notes, and because I don’t do enough driving (I rarely drive for more than 10 minutes) to be able to listen to the whole program in a reasonable length of time. The exercises are, I think, more likely to be useful on longer, unbroken drives, rather than in stop-start driving in a city. When the traffic is heavy, or when I’m having to pay attention to navigating, I tend not even to listen to music. I don’t think that under those circumstances I would even attempt to listen to instructional guidance of this sort. I’d advise potential listeners to think carefully about which drives are the most suitable for listening to a program of this nature, taking into account driving conditions and the amount of time available.

There was perhaps only one thing I thought could have been usefully added to the mindfulness instructions, and that would be a brief track to be listened to while stuck in a traffic jam or while at traffic lights. The impatience and frustration that can arise in those situations is one of the most difficult things that drivers have to contend with.

Overall, however, this is a valuable contribution to the “oral literature” on mindfulness, and one for which there is a great need. I hope that the “mindfulness” label doesn’t put anyone off, because all drivers would benefit from listening to Michele McDonald’s skilled coaching.

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Want to get enlightened? Here are some tips.

Last night I taught the first night of a class on achieving Insight through meditation.

This being the first night there was a bit more talking than there will be in the rest of the four-week course, so I thought I’d record the talk, in which I discuss why we should think more about getting Enlightened, what holds us back, and what we need to do to set up conditions for Insight arising.

I also recorded the guided meditation that I led.

By the way, I had a cold, so there’s some coughing, hacking, and nose-blowing!

Both the talk and the meditation are unedited, and the sound quality isn’t great.

Here’s the talk, which is 41 minutes long:

The meditation was in three parts:

1. A brief mindfulness of breathing
2. A brief period of lovingkindness
3. A reflection on the Earth Element

Here’s the meditation, which is 45 minutes long. All three parts are included in this recording.

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Guided meditations versus “flying solo”

Head of a black man with goatee beard wearning headphones, meditating in a misty woodland setting.

Guided meditation CDs are undoubtedly useful, but can they become a reliance that actually interferes with our practice? On the other hand, what happens when you find that your meditations are so much better with a CD than without: should you give up meditating on your own? Bodhipaksa shares some advice that he’s offered to students over the years.

I often get asked by students how they much reliance they should place on guided meditations compared to meditating on their own. For example one person asked:

I used to meditate without any guided CD and the difference when I used your guided CD is quite amazing. The metta is so much more powerful. The thing that I’m wondering about is should I go back to practicing without the guided CD or would I be better off with practicing with it?

I always recommend that people find a balance of using guided meditations and “flying solo,” as I call it. Guided meditations are great for suggesting new approaches and for helping to keep bringing you back to the practice. When you’re being guided in meditation you’re actually experiencing a form of “kalyana mitrata” or spiritual friendship. Traditionally kalyana mitrata is the experience of being with someone who’s maybe just a bit further along the path than you are and who can give you some guidance. When we listen to a guided meditation CD (or are led by a teacher in a class) we want to be introduced to approaches and perspectives that we might not have come up with on our own.

When you’re being guided in meditation you’re actually experiencing a form of “kalyana mitrata” or spiritual friendship.

But the point of kalyana mitrata is that we become more skilled in the path ourselves. We’re not letting someone else do all the work for us. Instead we’re learning skills from the teacher: in effect becoming more like the teacher. So ultimately we’re aiming to internalize those skills, and the way to check to what extent you’re doing that is to meditate using your own resources — that is, to meditate without a recording.

However, meditating on your own will almost always, at least at first, be less intense than meditating with a guide (assuming that the guide knows what he or she is doing, of course). The added intensity of a guided meditation arises because somehow we’re more receptive to verbal suggestions that are made out loud. When we listen to someone suggesting that we pay attention to the sensations in our hands, for example, we find it easier to do that than when we just decide (wordlessly) to pay attention to those same sensations. So you can expect that generally your solo meditations will be a bit less intense, especially to start with.

However, with practice you’ll develop your own style and approach to any meditation that you do regularly. You’ll find “tricks” that particularly work for you and that allow you to go deeper into the practice. Eventually, you’ll have much deeper meditations unaided than with a guided meditation CD, especially if you manage to get on retreat. And that’s the other benefit of “flying solo” — it gives you the opportunity to develop your own approach, and to tap more deeply into your inner resources.

The appropriate balance of solo and guided meditations will vary from person to person and will change over your meditation “career” (for want of a better word). For most relative beginners it’s almost indispensable to have a high level of guidance, otherwise most of the time in meditation is spent daydreaming, although there are exceptions of course.

As you start to internalize suggestions from a guided meditation, try saying those suggestions to yourself as if you were the teacher.

As we become more experienced a guided meditation becomes something that we do only occasionally, in order to bring more freshness and new perspectives to our practice. We all have a tendency to get into a rut in which we don’t apply ourselves, or in which we keep doing things in our practice that don’t really work. A guided meditation will shake things up a little. But a very experienced meditator may go for months (or even years — although I’d say that was going too long) without being led by another person (whether live or on a recording).

So the balance changes over time, with more of our time spent “flying solo” and less listening to a guide. But early on there may have to be considerable reliance on guided meditations.

Just one more thing: I mentioned that we tend to go deeper in meditation when we follow another person’s voice. Somehow we’re more receptive. Well, I find that the same is true for me when I’m leading meditation; I have better meditations. My meditation when I’m leading a period of practice is more focused, less distracted, more engaged, more calm, and more enjoyable. And I’ve reflected over the years that this is precisely because I’m listening to myself teach, just as if I were listening to a guided meditation. So you can do this too!

As you start to internalize useful suggestions from a guided meditation, try saying those suggestions to yourself as if you were the teacher. You can say things like, “Now, bringing awareness to the sensations in the hands,” for example.

You’ll want to make sure that you don’t keep up a constant stream of self-talk and that you have time to process the suggestions you’re making so that you can put them into practice. It’s important to pause after you give yourself an instruction so that you can then actually do what you’re suggesting and observe the results. I think you’ll find that this kind of “self-guided meditation” is a useful bridge to the kind of deeper meditations that you have when you’re listening to a CD. As you become more experienced you can also to a large extent let go of even of that self-guiding voice, so that there’s more inner quiet.

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Wildmind’s latest meditation CD to be launched October 16

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The Heart's Wisdom

We’re delighted to announce that Wildmind will be launching a new double CD of guided meditations on October 16, 2007.

The double CD is a guide to the four meditations known as the “Brahmaviharas” (Divine Abodes). These practices include the Development of Lovingkindness (Metta Bhavana), the Development of Compassion (Karuna Bhavana), the Development of Empathetic Joy (Mudita Bhavana), and the Development of Equanimity (Upekkha Bhavana). The meditations are led by Bodhipaksa.

To the best of our knowledge this is the first time that all four Brahmavihara meditations have appeared on CD.

The two CD set comes with a 12 page booklet with detailed instructions about the four practices.

The title, “The Heart’s Wisdom” refers to the insights we can gain through the practice of the Brahmavihara meditations, such as:

  • You cannot choose what happens to you in life, but you can learn to choose how you respond emotionally to those events.
  • All beings want to be happy and free from suffering
  • We can cultivate loving-kindness for a person regardless of whether we like them, dislike them, or have no feelings towards them at all
  • In sharing another’s suffering we find ourselves becoming more fulfilled
  • Approached with mindfulness pain becomes a skilled teacher, pointing out with exquisite clarity what’s wrong with our approach to life
    happiness arises from skillful thoughts, words, and actions
  • The less we cling to our expectations, the happier we will be
  • Equanimity is not indifference

The Brahmaviharas culminate in the Development of Equanimity, an insight meditation in which we contemplate the conditioned nature of happiness and suffering as we wish all beings well.

The meditations will be available as MP3 downloads in advance of the launch of the CD. The date of the launch will be announced in the blog.

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