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Meditation Masters Ajahn Chah

Meditation Masters

Ajahn Chah

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Meditation Masters Ajahn Chah


Ajahn Chah become one of the most celebrated Buddhist monks and meditation master of our time. A fully enlightened master who shared his wisdom with the west. Reading his biography you will get a feel for who this master was and what this great man achieved. If you keep reading the short stories gathered together from other monks who personally trained and knew the great man, then I think you will get a better understanding as to how supremely wise this minimally educated rice farmers son and Buddhist monk truly became.


Ajahn Chah 1918 – 1992

Was a Buddhist monk of the Thai forest tradition, respected and well loved in his own country as a man of great wisdom, it wasn’t until the arrival of the hippies of the 1960’s that the west finally got to hear of this great spiritual master.

He was born into poverty in the northeast region of Thailand, his parents were rice farmers surviving from day to day. With no real education to be had in the region the young Ajahn would start his monastic training a the age of nine. He spent three years in the monastery where he learnt to read and write. He returned to work on the land of his parents but returned to monastic life at the age of 17. He was ordained at a local monastery where he stayed and practiced meditation until 1946 when he decided to become a wandering ascetic monk, a practice called dutong. He wandered learning from teachers of the time, by far his biggest influence was Ajahn Mun a renowned enlightened meditation master. He spent this time of his life meditating in caves and forests until finally establishing a monastery near his home town where he taught his simple meditation techniques and started to gain a large following of disciples and lay people alike. The arrival of the first western disciple, Ajahn Sumedho saw the development of a new monastery focused purely for the western mind filled with knowledge, the first of its kind in Thailand. A few years later Ajahn Chah was invited to give talks in England where he was to form the very first monastery in the Thai forest linage, called Chittaviveka. Ajahn Chah’s health was in decline by the early 1980’s and he was to suffer a massive stroke leaving him bedridden and unable to speak for ten years. Still in this condition he transmitted the teachings of the Buddha using his own body as evidence enough of impermanence and the importance of seeking refuge within ourselves. Ajahn Chah’s legacy of students continues today with Ajahn Brahm, Jack Kornfield, Ajahn Summadho and Ajahn Amaro to name just a few. 

Personal Stories of Ajahn Chah

Most of these short excerpts into Ajahn Chah life are from the gifted monks that stayed for extended periods of time training under this great master.

Spitting on a generals head

While at his beloved monastery in Thailand, Ajahn Chah was visited on a daily basis by many different people, from all sorts of walks of life from business men to rice farmers. On this particular day, while Ajahn Chah is peacefully giving a talk to a few monks, the screeching of vehicles arrive at the front gate and an entourage of the Thai army come bounding in. A stately figure, possible a general, approaches Ajahn Chah and demands a holy blessing. Ajahn Chah calmly and politely explains that it’s all superstition and he doesn’t bless people. The general gets irate and demands a blessing. Again Ajahn Chah calmly and politely refuses saying that it’s all hocus pocus. The army general, arms now flailing, demands for a last time reminding Ajahn Chah who he is. Ahah Chah calmly smiles and gently pulls the mans head closer. In an instant Ajahn Chah cleared his throat and spat directly onto the generals head, and then proceeds to rub it in while saying a chat in Pali. The horror on the monks faces was priceless, but the generals reaction was better, he stood up with a smile as broad as day, brimming with pride. He was so happy he had been blessed and not just by any water but that of Ajahn Chah, pure holy water.

Burying a crazy women in a hole

While giving a talk one early evening in the grounds of the temple, there comes apparent there is a commotion outside, lots of hysterical screams and raised voices, Ajahn Chah sits calmly giving the talk, even using the disturbance as a lesson, suddenly the commotion makes its way through the temple gates and head towards Ajahn Chah. The crowd is screaming and demonstrating there anger at a young girl they said was possessed. The girl did look in a trance like state, eyes rolling and mumbles coming from her mouth. Ajahn Chah as calmly as ever, turns to his chief monk and orders him to get together shoves and a tape measure. The monk, Knowing not to ask questions, went away to fetch the said items. On his return Ajahn Chah orders a group of monks to start digging a hole to bury the girl in. The monks set to work, again Knowing not to ask questions. Ajahn Chah calmly walks up to the still uncontrollable girl and starts to measure her height. He then turns around and in a loud voice right next to the girl, announces the hole to bury this girl must be 6ft in length and 4ft deep. Hearing this the girl instantly came round, you could see in her eyes that she was alert and knew she did not want to be buried alive. Ajahn Chah told us all to leave him and for the next 4 hours chatted to the girl helping her in whatever way he could. A demonstration of how well Ajahn Chah knew the complexities of our minds.

Reading minds

Ajahn Chah was renowned for reading people’s minds. He would be able to know what your were saying as you formed the words in your mind. Ajahn Brahm tells a story, while he was standing waiting to get his chance to talk to the great master it occurred to him that this man can read minds, and just as a question formed in his mind, Ajahn Chah broke conversation and turn to Ajahn Brahm and told him the answer, stunning both the monk he was talking to and Ajahn Brahm. Ajahn Brahm said it made him realise how important it was to practice mindfulness at all times with this true master’s ability.

Speaking after taking his false teeth out.

As was often the case when asked questions that seemed just plain dumb or to infinitely complex, Ajahn Chah would often start speaking and while in the middle of the sentence take his teeth out and continue speaking in a slur so as not to be understood. If asked to repeat he would put them back in and repeat the process. He would then explain that the lessons is not to gather all this knowledge but to put into practice what you already know. Your cup is full as they say in Zen Buddhism.

The Legacy lives

In Ajahn Chah’s life time he wrote many books on meditation and its practices, opened monasteries, both in Thailand and abroad, and trained hundreds of monks in the ways of the Buddha and meditation, some of whom have gone on to become well know celebrities in the West, promoting meditation and mindfulness.

An excerpt from Ajahn Chah on meditation, of which the full article can be found hear

“To calm the mind means to find the right balance. If you try to force your mind too much it goes too far; if you don’t try enough it doesn’t get there, it misses the point of balance.

Normally the mind isn’t still, it’s moving all the time. We must strengthen the mind. Making the mind strong and making the body strong are not the same. To make the body strong we have to exercise it, to push it, in order to make it strong, but to make the mind strong means to make it peaceful, not to go thinking of this and that. For most of us the mind has never been peaceful, it has never had the energy of samādhi, so we must establish it within a boundary. We sit in meditation, staying with the ‘one who knows’.”

The majority of Ajahn Chah’s work can be found online and completely free, as is the way with Theravada Buddhism. The many talks he gave his monks during the rains retreats can also be found completely free online.

For more information on this great man or to follow up by reading some of his works on meditation and mindfulness then follow this link

Motivational Mini Stories Zen Stories

Motivational Mini Stories

Every week we bring to you a short Moral story that has either inspired or motivated us in some way during our week.

Most of our stories have been loving handcrafted by ourselves into short moral stories that we hope inspire as well as teach a valuable moral lesson in life. A few of our stories are old classics and where the original author is know a credit is always given.

These are a collection of some of our previous Weekly Moral Stories, check back regularly for a new Moral Story every week

Four Monks

Four monks decided to meditate silently without speaking for two weeks. By nightfall on the first day, the candle began to flicker and then went out. The first monk said, “Oh, no! The candle is out.” The second monk said, “Aren’t we not suppose to talk?” The third monk said, “Why must you two break the silence?” The fourth monk laughed and said, “Ha! I’m the only one who didn’t speak.”

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Hindu master

The Hindu Master

An aging Hindu master grew tired of his apprentice complaining, and so, one morning, he sent him for some salt. When the apprentice returned, the master instructed the unhappy young man to put a handful of salt in a glass of water and then to drink it.

“How does it taste?” the master asked.

“Bitter,” spit the apprentice.

The master chuckled and then asked the young man to take the same handful of salt and put it in the lake. The two walked in silence to the nearby lake, and once the apprentice swirled his handful of salt in the water, the old man said, “Now drink from the lake.”

As the water dripped down the young man’s chin, the master asked, “How does it taste?”

“Much fresher,” remarked the apprentice.

“Do you taste the salt?” asked the master.

“No,” said the young man.

At this, the master sat beside the young man who so reminded him of himself and took his hands, offering, “The pain of life is pure salt, no more, no less. The amount of pain in life remains the same, exactly the same. But the amount of bitterness we taste depends on the container we put the pain in. So when you are in pain, the only thing you can do is to enlarge your sense of things… Stop being a glass. Become a lake.”

Motivational, short stories, inspirational
Salt in the lake

The Beautiful Metaphor

Once there lived a village of creatures along the bottom of a great crystal river.

The current of the river swept silently over them all — young and old, rich and poor, compassionate and cruel — the current going its own way, knowing only its own crystal self.

Each creature in its own manner clung tightly to the twigs and rocks of the river bottom, for clinging was their way of life, and resisting the current what each had learned from birth.

But one creature said at last, “I am tired of clinging. Though I cannot see it with my eyes, I trust that the current knows where it is going. I shall let go, and let it take me where it will. Clinging, I shall die of boredom.”

The other creatures laughed and said, “Fool! Let go, and that current will throw you tumbled and smashed across the rocks, and you will die quicker than boredom!”

But the one heeded them not, and taking a breath did let go, and at once was tumbled and smashed by the current across the rocks.

Yet in time, as the creature refused to cling again, the current lifted him free from the bottom, and he was bruised and hurt no more.

And the creatures downstream, to whom he was a stranger, cried, “See a miracle! A creature like ourselves, yet he flies! See the Messiah, come to save us all!”

And the one carried in the current said, “I am no more Messiah than you. The river delights to lift us free, if only we dare let go. Our true work is this voyage, this adventure.”

But they cried the more, “Savior!” all the while clinging to the rocks, and when they looked again he was gone, and they were left alone, and began making legends of a Savior.

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Zen Buddhism

Teachings of Zen

The Zen teacher’s dog loved his evening romp with his master. The dog would bound ahead to fetch a stick, then run back, wag his tail, and wait for the next game.

On this particular evening, the teacher invited one of his brightest students to join him – a boy so intelligent that he became troubled by the contradictions in Buddhist doctrine.

“You must understand,” said the teacher, “that words are only guideposts. Never let the words or symbols get in the way of truth. Here, I’ll show you.”

With that the teacher called his happy dog. “Fetch me the moon,” he said to his dog and pointed to the full moon. “Where is my dog looking?” asked the teacher of the bright pupil.

“He’s looking at your finger.”

“Exactly. Don’t be like my dog. Don’t confuse the pointing finger with the thing that is being pointed at. “All our Buddhist words are only guideposts. Everyman fights his way through other men’s words to find his own truth.”


Quotes of Wisdom

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Thich Nhat Hanh quote

Thich Nhat Hanh 1926-present

A Vietnamese zen Buddhist monk and peace activist, nominated for the Nobel Peace prize by Martin Luther king jr. in 1967. Thay as he is affectionately known was refused entry into his native Vietnam also in 1967 and moved to France where he set up his plum village monastery, now home to over 150 monks and nuns. His numerous literary works include ‘peace in every step’ ‘the miracle of mindfulness’ and ‘old path white clouds’.

A truly extraordinary man who I personally had thought privilege to meet while at his plum village monastery, to sit in his presents was so calming, you didn’t feel nervous just completely loved. Thay has in recent times suffered from illness and has now been given permission I reside in his beloved Vietnam for his final days

For more information on Thich Nhat Hanh, his mindfulness techniques, or plum village his monastery in France then CLICK HEAR for further details.

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Mini Meditations

Mini Meditations

Breath meditation

Breathing meditation is one of the simplest and easiest of all meditations to grasp, however the untrained mind will find it a lot harder than it sounds. The good news is just like going to the gym regularly you start to build those muscles up so to with meditation you powers of concentration become greater and meditation becomes easier. Always be kind and compassionate to yourself and let whatever happens be ok. Meditation, mindfulness, spirituality, compassion, loving kindness, mini meditations

Sit in a comfortable position with a straight spine, gently relax your shoulders and your neck muscles and softly close your eyes. Take a few long deep breaths and feel yourself relaxing.

Breathing in be aware you’re breathing in, 

breathing out, be aware you are breathing out. 

Count one.

Repeat this for five or ten counts then start again. This is the basics of samadhi meditation. Some points to remember, try to keep the breath as natural as possible. If your mind wanders, be kind to yourself, and bring your awareness back to the breath and start counting again. Try this meditation exercise for ten minutes at first and slowly increase the time over a course of a few days. The most important thing is to always be patient and compassionate to yourself.

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Body scan meditation

This meditation is usually done lying down but if you find you keep falling asleep it can equally be done siting in a straight backed chair. Find yourself a comfortable place, somewhere where you won’t be disturbed, lay flat on your back with a cushion under your knees this help keep your back flat against the floor. Your head needs to be comfortable, if you are using a yoga mat try without a pillow. Start by taking a few long deep breaths, gradually start to feel yourself unwind and relax, slowly, starting from the very top of the head notice any sensation that may arise. it could be itching, aching, tiredness, pain or stiffness, or any number of different sensations. Just notice, don’t interfere, don’t scratch or itch or fidget, just notice and be ok with it. Be gently to yourself, be kind, and be ok with whatever you feel. Maybe you feel no sensation at all and that’s ok to, there is no rule as to what you will feel. Just notice then slowly move down to your forehead, your eyebrows, cheek bones, ears, lips, chin, neck and shoulders, keep moving down through your body checking for sensations. You don’t have to start the way I described either, be inventive a move around your body to each new sensation that arises. Do this for 10 or 20 minutes everyday and you will soon see a remarkable difference in your stress levels.

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Mantra meditation 

A mantra meditation is the repetition or repeated use of a phrase, sentence or saying. In this example we will use the divine Om Mana Padma Um mantra, a Buddhist chant still very much in use today, especially with Tibetans Buddhists. The Dharma Haven Society have a great article on the mantras history and usage. This is the correct pronunciation of the mantra, although the repatriation is more important than pronunciation, OM (ohm) MA (mah) NI (nee) PAD (pahd) ME (may) HUM (hum). It is said the entire buddha’s teachings are within this mantra.

Now sit in a comfortable position with a straight spine, gently relax your shoulders and your neck muscles and softly close your eyes. Take a few long deep breaths and feel yourself relaxing. On the inward breath repeat in your mind Om Mana out the out breath repeat Padma Hum, On the inward breath repeat in your mind Om Mana out the out breath repeat Padma Hum On the inward breath repeat in your mind Om Mana out the out breath repeat Padma Hum. Try to carry out this exercise for 5 minutes minimum the benefits are worth every second invested.

Gratitude meditation 

Gratitude meditation is one of the best ways to overcome past traumas, being grateful for what we have in the moment allows no space for negativity, pessimism, doom or gloom. Finding things in your life to be grateful for may be a little bit harder to do for some, so if you have a little trouble finding things to be grateful for CLICK HEAR, this will help. Some of my personal Seven Wonders I love to meditate with grateful are, my adopted stray dog Marley, sometimes affectionately known as Marley Moo. He really is adorable and the unconditional love he has for me. It will put a smile on my face every time. I also love the great outdoors and enjoy a good long walk, taking in the fresh air is magical.

This meditation can be practiced at home or at work, so long as you can find a quiet place you won’t be disturbed.

Have a few ideas in your mind that you are grateful about, then sit in a comfortable position with a straight spine, gently relax your shoulders and your neck muscles and softly close your eyes. Take a few long deep breaths and feel yourself relaxing. 

I slowly go through my Seven Wonders list spending a nice amount of time feeling all the sensations in my body and across my face. This can be done for just ten minutes and you will feel recharged, full of energy and feeling good about life. Simple yet effective. 

Meditation, mindfulness, spirituality, wellbeing, compassion, generosity, gratitude, self development, self help techniquesTry this simple Seven Wonders exercise to bring instant wellbeing to you day
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The History of Meditation

The History of Meditation

The history of meditation, the oldest form of spiritual awakening there is, could be as old as antiquity itself. It isn’t however until the very first use of a form of the written language do modern historians find there first glimpse into this mystical tradition.

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The earliest found written proof of meditation comes from the sacred Hindu Vedas dating from around 1700-500BC, to put that into perspective, this is from the Iron Age to late Bronze Age, the most famous reference is that of the Vedic Mantra known as “Gayatri” it describes meditating on the divine light of Savitri. The buddhist scriptures state how Gautama Buddha gained enlightenment through mediative techniques of the time, around 563BC, the masters of his time based there techniques on the very same Hindu scriptures. The Buddha however found them to be incomplete on his way to becoming enlightened and so developed his “middle way” meditation as way of gaining higher states of complete enlightenment.

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It is from this period in history do we see that Buddhism gives rise to the spread of meditation, slowly moving from its Indian roots via the Silk Road, first to the East and into China, Nepal, Burma, Thailand and beyond. Confucius 551-479BC developed and further expanded on mediative ideas and techniques and would later pass them on. Taoism then developed from these methods and would spread far and wide throughout the entire of China finally reaching the shores of Japan with Zen Buddhism and zazen meditation around the 12th century.

The spread to the west again uses the Silk Road, at first spreading into Afghanistan, Turkey and then into Syria, it’s not until just twenty years before the birth of Christ and the invention of our calendar that we see the Roman Empire recording of meditative techniques and forms of spiritual exercises of the day, in its great library at Alexandra.

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Islam has reference to meditation and meditation techniques, these first appear around the 8th or 9th century with the practice of Dhikr which involved the repetition of the 99 names of God. By the 12th century breath control was in practice as a mediative technique as recorded in the practice of Sufism.

And the Christians also developed some sort of meditation techniques by the 6th century, however it seems there meditation techniques contrasted all the previously discussed by not involving the repetition of any phrase and required no particular posture, which all the other scriptures without exception had practiced, bible reading according to the christians at this time was considered meditation. It’s not until the 10th-14th century do we see the practice of Hesychasm which involves the repetition of the Jesus prayer.

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The modern western idea of meditation really starts in India in the 1950’s when easier forms of meditation were introduced and presented as relaxation and stress reducing techniques, these new ideas spread quickly to a busy western world, and by the 1960’s the hippy trail had started with young men and women finding there way into the Ashram’s of India, to learn first hand meditation and mindfulness. Famous bands like the Beatles popularised the spiritual meditation and mindfulness practices of today and with many eastern spiritual teachers becoming refugees during the sweep of communism across the east it hasn’t taken long before meditation practices and mindfulness training have become mainstream. It has become increasingly more difficult to find your way through the mind field of information out there. So where do you start.

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Meditating Monk

What is meditation

Meditation as cited by the Oxford English Dictionary is “The action to focus one’s mind for a period of time, for religious or spiritual purposes or as a method of relaxation” and Wikipedia describes it as “a practice where an individual uses a technique of focusing their mind on a particular object”. Meditation in days of old was a passage to gain spiritual enlightenment, however today the word meditation or mindfulness can be over used by a commercial industry selling self help, relaxation and stress reduction.

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The Benefits of Meditation are far more than just relaxation, yes it produces results of calming, compassion, equanimity and a general feeling of contentment, but if used as a regular practice true everlasting peace, contentment and wellbeing can be achieved through meditation and mindfulness.

The numerous scientific studies that have taken place over the last fifty or so years have shed light on The Benefits of Meditation and this mystical practice from the east. The benefits of meditation are far reaching. Increased concentration levels, reducing stress and anxiety, being more attentive, respecting others and nature, becoming kinder and calmer. Increased IQ levels, can eliminate sleep deprivation and will leave you with a deep sense of satisfaction and wellbeing.

So where do you start?

Beginners Basics

In the beginning it’s difficult to know where to start, there are so many types of meditation to choose from wether that’s focusing on the breath, Chanting a Mantra, Walking Meditation, mindfulness meditation or Sitting Meditation to name but just a few. It’s good therefore to have a decent place to start.

No matter if you are looking for meditation to relax and distress or for further enlightenment, the best place to start is by having a regular practice. This can be from as little as 2 minutes a day to begin with and slowly increasing the time the more comfortable you get.

Another important factor is to find a quite place, somewhere where you won’t be disturbed, nature can be an excellent place to meditate but can also be difficult to find somewhere you feel safe and alone. Your own house or apartment is usually best.

For myself the morning is an excellent time to meditate, just after you rise, but equally as relaxing is the evening time, there is no set time just what suits your time commitments.

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Meditation posture

Position and posture

After setting aside a time slot and promising to keep to a regular schedule to yourself, posture and position are next to get right. No matter how old or inflexible you are there is a position for you to meditate in. The usual meditating positions are sitting, standing, walking or lying.

Sitting Meditation doesn’t just involved bending your legs into those funny lotus positions you see in the photos, it can easily be done from a straight back chair. The most important factor to consider is your own comfort. If you do sitting meditation on the floor, you can use either the full lotus or the half lotus positions or the Thailand/Burmese style cross legged position which as you sit cross legged you sit with you legs on the floor not on top of each other, be, this is to help eliminate the pressure to the knees and ankles that sitting with your legs on top of each other creates.

Walking meditation is one of the nicest ways to meditate, and for me personally I find it the most relaxing. First find an area where you are safe to walk, no obstacles in your way. With your back straight and your shoulders relaxed, keep your head and eyes looking forward but slightly down, about 6-10ft in front of you will do nicely. Now walk as slowly as you can, try to really feel the movements of each muscle as you inch forward. Walk for 20 or so paces then slowly turn back around, pause, and walk back again. Try walking slower than a snail, it’s most enjoyable.

Lying meditation is one of the easiest ways to fall asleep and isn’t really recommended for beginners. However lay on your right shoulder, with a hand resting under the head, a pillow can be used as required, legs slightly bent.

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Breath Meditation infographic

Breathing Meditation

Sit in a comfortable position with a straight spine, gently relax your shoulders and your neck muscles and softly close your eyes. Take a few long deep breaths and feel yourself relaxing.

Breathing in, be aware you’re breathing in, 

breathing out, be aware you’re breathing out. 

Count one.

Repeat this for five or ten counts then start again. This is the basics of breath or breathing meditation also known in Pali as Samadhi Meditation.

Some ponts to remember, try to keep the breath as natural as possible. If your mind wanders, be kind to yourself, and bring your awareness back to the breath and start counting again. Try this meditation exercise for ten minutes at first then slowly increase the time over the course of a few days. The most important thing is to be patient and compassionate to yourself.

Meditation for kids

Meditation for children is one of the most beneficial activities you can get them to do, it can boost concentration levels at school, help with socialising, aid in confidence, it will help balancing emotions and will have an overall improvement in academic test results. You can start children meditating from a very early age, however the breath technique, described above, wouldn’t be a good place to start with very young children but teenagers would be able to manage quite proficiently. For younger children it is better to do guided meditations, almost like story time, we get them to use there already incredible imaginations to focus on one particular object of meditation. Games are also another great example. Imagining that as they breath out they are filling a big balloon with air as an example.

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Old meditation joke

Other types of meditation

The other types of meditation that you will find all have great benefit include, Metta or Loving Kindness Meditation, Samadhi Meditation, Vipassana Meditation, Body Scan, Transcendental Meditation and Kundalini Meditation to name just a few. If you are a beginner the best place to start is with the Beginners Meditation or breath meditation as found above. It is a foundation for further meditation techniques that need great powers of concentration. If you are more practiced and have a good routine then you will may feel as though you may want to explore some of the other methods listed. Just for you we have put together a resource page at the bottom which can help you investigate further.

Tips and tricks

When you first start to meditate you will undoubtedly come across a few niggling problems, maybe it’s the pain in your knees or back. Maybe you keep falling asleep, or you mind keeps wandering and you don’t notice. This section is hear to help. I understand first hand the issues with meditation I was a Buddhist monk in Thailand for many years. During the full moons for instance we were expected to meditate from 10pm until sunrise.

When your feeling sleepy rubbing or a light pinch of the ear lobes gives an instant surge of life through the body, try it.

Never sit in any position longer than is necessary. There are meditators that say the pain is a useful experience to learn. Yes it is, but your knees will suffer really badly, there is other pain that can better to learn from and not as damaging.

Make a meditation diary this helps keep you motivated. Make a regular time in your day of 10 minutes or even 20 minutes and keep to the same time, make it a habit forming exercise. It takes 21 days to form a habit and 90 days to make that habit natural.

Always be kind and patient with yourself, the times when you think your meditation isn’t good because your mind is distracted, can be the times of our greatest learning, compassion and kindness go a long way.

Spend a couple of minutes getting settled into a position, wiggle your bottom around until it feels comfortable on the tail bone, also known as the sitting bone.

For more on Tips and Tricks Page to the common problems that can arise in meditation. If for any reason you can’t find the help within these pages then please feel free to Contact Us and we will respond personal as soon as we are able.

kind regards


Website infographics

I would like to share with you these boards or infographics that I hope will be used in the future for organising this website.

I would love to hear your personal opinion, I know that’s a little more work than you were expecting, honestly you would be doing a kind dead in your day and it will make me smile every time I get a ping to let me know you care.

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