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meditation

Metta Bhavana Meditation

Metta Bhavana meditation

Metta Bhavana Meditation or Loving Kindness Meditation is one of the most fulfilling and satisfying meditations we can do.

There are a few methods and ways to practice Metta Bhavana Meditation, the method I describe below I find works wonderfully for me. It is one of visualisation.

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I was a Buddhist monk in Northern Thailand and after many years and thousand of hours of meditation practice training with some of the great meditation masters, my hundreds of mosquito bites on my bald head were not in vain, I have found this is the most suitable way to practice Metta Bhavana Meditation for my western mind

The Three Methods to create Loving Kindness in your Heart

The method we will be using today is one of visualisation, however is just one of the three ways to practice which will achieve loving kindness in the heart. Reflecting and auditory are the other two methods used to create the feeling of loving kindness.

Reflect on the positive qualities of yourself or a loved one will ensure loving kindness to flourish with in the heart.

Using a mantra is the auditory approach and an example could simple be the words “loving kindness”

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The First thing we need to do is find the love from within ourselves. Now I understand that may sound a little scary to some but Visualisation is a great way to achieve love inside our hearts. And we all have something we love, something that will bring that feeling back when you start to think deeply enough about it. For me this is my adopted stray dog Marley and the crazy fun things he gets up to.

If your still finding difficulty thinking of something that your really love this much, then try hitting this link 7 wonders of life, it will help you find something wonderful in your life to feel that loving kindness and to help with the practice. Now that we have our object of focus, its time to relax and start meditating.

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Let’s start Meditating

First of all let’s find a comfortable place somewhere you won’t be disturbed. Now sitting in a comfortable position with a straight spine, gently relax your shoulder and neck muscles and slowly close your eyes. Take a few long deep breaths and feel yourself relaxing.

Let’s start by calmly watching your breathing, don’t disturb your breathing, just let it be natural.

Breathing in, be aware your breathing,

Breathing out, be aware your breathing out. Count one.

Try to do this for a count of five. Alternatively take long deep breaths to calm and relax your whole mind and body.

Now we are relax

Bring your object of love to the forefront of your mind and begin to feel the love you have for it/them, really start to explore the feeling, that feeling of love.

Don’t worry if you feel a resistance or a little silly at first, be kind to yourself and be patient. Try to find where the feeling is coming from, do you notice how the feeling grows the more you explore it. Again don’t panic if you feel resistance to this, it is all ok, it just means a little more patience and kindness towards yourself is needed.

Now feel that love start to consume you, feel it’s warmth, is your smile hurting you cheeks yet.

If you are having trouble visualising, please still use loving kindness with yourself, this is not going to be easy for some. Tell yourself it’s ok, we can have another go later. Always be patient and kind towards yourself and even that will be practicing loving kindness.

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Project that love

Once we have the feeling of love flowing within ourselves, it’s time to send out our love to others. We now use a mantra with our loving kindness, to truly send out our positive vibration to the chosen person.

First we start with ourselves. Repeat this between 5 and 10 times to yourself, or out loud that’s entirely up to you.

May I be happy 

May I be free from metal suffering and distress

May I be free of physical pain and suffering

May I be peaceful and at ease

Now we are going to give that love from our heart, that loving kindness to someone else other than ourselves.

The Four Types of Persons to develop loving-kindness towards

• A respected, beloved person – such as a spiritual teacher

• A dearly beloved – which could be a close family member or friend

• A neutral person – somebody you know, but have no special feelings towards, e.g a person who serves you in a shop

• A hostile person – someone you may be having difficulty with

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Starting with yourself, then systematically sending loving-kindness from person to person in the above order will have the effect of breaking down the barriers between the four types of people and yourself. This will effectively break down the divisions within your own mind, the source of much of the conflict we experience.

May (insert name) be happy

May (insert name) be free from suffering and distress 

May (insert name) be free of physical pain and suffering 

May (insert name) be peaceful and at ease 

If you find your mind wanders or you notice your loving kindness looses it ferocity, at this point always be kind and patient with yourself, slowly return to the original object of focus, take a few deep breaths and start again. once you have established the feeling again in your heart, continue with the mantra. 

I wish you all the love and happiness on your meditation journey

Kind regards

Dhamma Tapasa

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meditation mindfulness Optimism positive thinking

Personal Meditation

A personal Meditation Journey

My personal journey in the search for enlightenment is one of roads less travelled, the path has had its fair share of wondrous surprises some associated with good others associated with bad, but in the end all are just the experience and even that I know I am not.

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Roads less travelled

Over the last couple of months, Marley Moo (my little street dog) and me have for the first time in a long while had commitments to fulfil, the first was a family re-union held in Spain for my mothers birthday and the second was to house sit 8 dogs and 11 cats allowing a friend to travel back to England for his daughters wedding. Living with limited means such as money finding my way travelling 1,000km to meet with my family has taken 5 wonderful weeks of adventure, solitude and some incredible meditation spots, it has come with it’s fair share of surprises some associated with good some not so, but each is just an experience lived through my eyes, and as my meditation has taught me I am defiantly not the experience. 

 Over the course of 5 weeks my meditation had been gathering momentum allowing me to clearly see and truly understand the clear separation from each emotional state we find our minds floating between. If frustration was to take hold it seemed laughable to become all consumed with an experience I am clearly not. Just having. And as instantly with the spontaneity of a new born star or the very start of the thought itself it vanishes it is let go of.  

My life just as anyone else’s life will naturally experience these emotional ups and downs, these roller coaster of events, moments of doubt, Anger, happiness, elation, Anxiety, Depression, loneliness or frustration, any of these emotional responses are just lurking there ready to consume our mind, no one is infallible or immune, but logically can we say that we are anger or happiness, isn’t it a more logical response to realise I am experiencing a moment of happiness, to experience a moment of anger but never lay claim to that which we experience.

Myself and Marley Moo have found our way back the 1000km to Portugal and spent a further two weeks looking after eight dogs and eleven cats. A rather more difficult task than I had first imagined. The first feeding time with the dogs was like a rugby scrum, the cats though were a little more dignified in their approached. Spending quality time with each animal everyday has been a wonderful experience, however along with the 2,000km distance travelling and pet sitting my time has been limited and I would like to apologise if there is anyone reading this who takes a regular interest in my journey for not bringing regular updates over the last two months.

I live with limited resources and funds, myself and Marley Moo rely completely on the universe, we are on a spiritual path of ones less travelled, everyday has become our gift and every moment more alive because of it, the more we let go the more freeing and freedom it brings. I choose this life because I wish to seek enlightenment, I have given up the trappings of modern society and choose to wander.

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Marley my adopted street dog

Marley Moo my adopted street dog found me one day whilst meditating and has followed me ever since, together we have found our way to Portugal and continue to seek enlightenment together. It would be my pleasure if you could join us on our path, follow me or even support me, I am always open to questions, criticism or advice.

Kind regards 

Dhamma Tapasa

Categories
meditation

Mantra meditation

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 on the out breath repeat Padma Hum, On the inward breath repeat in your mind Om Mana on the out breath repeat Padma Hum On the inward breath repeat in your mind Om Mana on the out breath repeat Padma Hum.

Try to carry out this exercise for 5 minutes minimum, the benefits are worth every second invested.

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meditation mindfulness

How to Practice Vipasana Meditation 

Vipasana Meditation

Vipasana meditation or more accurately translated from the ancient language of Pali as ‘insight’ or ‘ clearly seeing’ meditation has been in use for over 2500 years, rediscovered by Gotama Buddha somewhere around the year 586BC he would go on to teach Vipasana and Samatha as two powerful meditation techniques used in conjunction with each other as the path to enlightenment.

Samatha meditation produces a calming effect which will compose and steady the mind allowing for great periods of concentration.

Vipasana meditation, with a calming and concentrated mind, allows us to see and understand the deep interconnection between mind and body, material and mental phenomenon, experiencing first hand how we produce our own suffering, and allowing for spiritual and personal growth towards enlightenment. 

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Vipasana became popularised for the ordinary men and women in Burma by the late 1800’s due to the influential buddhist monk Ledi Sayadaw he would make the teachings of the Satipatthana Sutra easily available to all with simple to understand translations. The Ledi Sayadaw went on to teach many students who would become meditation masters in their own rights monks such as U Narada (1868-1955) Mahasi Sayadaw (1904-1982) Ajahn Mun (1870-1949) Ajahn Chah (1918-1992) Nyanaponika Thera (1901-1994) and S.N. Goenka (1924-2013) 

The work and teachings of the Mahasi Sayadaw saw mass popularity in the 1950’s from the west and further teachings from S.N. Goenka have firmly seated Vipasana meditation into western minds.

How do you practice Vipasana meditation?

As has already been said Vipasana works best with a calmed and concentrated mind and a firm foundation of Breathing Meditation should be established before moving on.

However like everything in today’s world we want things fast and instant, and this meditation can be done without any previous meditation foundation, it will be just a little tougher. 

My meditation training and background come from the Thai Forest linage passed on from Ajahn Mun down to Ajahn Chah and his predecessors. It is from this linage I have learnt and it is stressed that Samatha meditation is foremost to establishing concentration to reveal Vipasana’s true insights.

Vipasana meditation as described in the Satipatthana Sutra.

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The meditator should practice noting the object that arises in the mind the practitioner is reminded to be sharp with the noting as if hitting a ruler across your hand. Three times repeat to yourself sharply that which has taken the minds fancy.

Breathing in, note, Breathing in, Breathing in, Breathing in.

As you breath out the same sharp energy is repeated three times. Breathing out, Breathing out, Breathing out.

If and when the mind wanders the practitioner should note the distraction, if a sound, note, Hearing, Hearing, Hearing! then bring the focus back to the breath,

Breathing in, Breathing in, Breathing in.

If the mind wanders to body sensations the practitioner should note with sharp energy Feeling, Feeling, Feeling, then bring the attention back to the breath.

On every occasion of a distracting smell, note, Smell, Smell, Smell, then bring you attention back to the breath.

Whatever the minds turns toward note it with eagerness and sharp attention, if the mind starts to think, note, Thinking, Thinking, Thinking, then bring the attention back to the breath.

After time the meditator will see a distinct improvement in concentration with our minds wandering less, instead staying fixed onto the object with which it is directed.

At the same time the power of see only the two processes of the material and mental unfold which will give rise to the insight of impermanence (anatta) of suffering (dukkha) and the knowledge and understanding of non-self (anicca). The three marks of existence. 

Experiencing a Vipasana Meditation Retreat

During a Vipasana meditation retreat the practitioner is expected to practice 14-16 hours of this continuous noting of the minds experience. The effect of noting moment to moment events has an enlightening effect on our minds, not only do we see clearly that everything is impermanent consisting of a birth and death, The First Noble Truth, but the linear concept of time we are so familiar with starts to diminish leaving us to experience the true joy and happiness with being present.

Having spent many rains retreats in Vipasana meditation I know how hard this can seem and how challenging a prospect it can be to those who are about to attend a Vipasana course. As long as you put wholehearted effort into your practice and are always kind towards yourself you will progress and sometimes rapidly along the road to enlightenment.

Further notes

As with all meditation it always sounds way to easy and simple, if you have never tried meditation, it is one of the hardest but most rewarding things we can ever do. If you are having trouble with your meditation practice, don’t worry your not alone, please feel free to use my contact details listed for further help.

This simple technique of eagerly and sharply noting has the ability to reveal the entire makings of this known universe to you. I wish you luck.

If you have found this interesting, helpful or indeed fascinating then please share with you friends and family because after all

SHARING IN CARING

Many Kind Regards