Categories
meditation mindfulness

Let’s Talk Meditation

Meditation and the Truth

Most of us have heard about meditation and mindfulness over the last few years, but how many of us truly understand how to practice this ancient art form passed down for thousands of years. This article is where I want to correct the balance and put straight some of the facts about this noble way to practice.

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Most of the information I see on Pinterest, Facebook or Instagram is given freely but at the cost of heavily advertised websites, Click baited headlines to draw your curiosity in to only find a half hearted explanation and little to no advice. Most of these websites are written by wanna-be social media stars and there is a growing concern that meditation and mindfulness has become, or is becoming, a watered down version of a truly remarkable aid in the development of our human consciousness. An aid, that if understood correctly, can and will change your life dramatically for the better.

What can Meditation do for me?

Meditation has the ability to reshape your life towards a more peaceful, respectful and compassionate way to live. A life with less worry and less anxiety, a life where gossip doesn’t amuse or intrigue and fear struggles to reside. Meditation can calm and clear your mind like that of a still lake and reflect back a better version of yourself. And by searching within for that elusive happiness we truly can change the world around us.

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My experience with Meditation

My experience with meditation has completely changed my life for the better. I have been practicing meditation for well over 15 years, a large number for some but a small number for others. In this time I have gone from a lost soul not understanding the way of the world, feeling like I didn’t fit in, or that something was wrong with me. I now have a life living completely satisfied and fulfilled, a life full of love and compassion. I now have a relationship with my father something that in my early life I did not and this is something I cherish dearly.

In these 15 years I have been trained by meditation masters such as Thich Nhat Hanh and from the direct descendants of the forest monk Ajahn Chah. I have been an ordained Buddhist monk for many years practicing in the seclusion of the northern forests of Thailand. I now wander the European countryside as a monk still searching the depths of my mind and all its wily tricks and parlour games it plays. I am totally addicted to meditation and mindfulness like a smoker is to cigarettes. Everyday I practice watching or observing the play of consciousness and it’s relationship to our experiences. Everyday I grow and learn more.

I am not enlightened and don’t pretend to be, I am enjoying the search tremendously and as so I have for a long time dedicated my life to understanding the truth of our human condition.

How to truly meditate

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We have all heard that the art of meditation is to follow the breath. Breathing in, you really observe and feel the breath coming in. We need to be invested in this process of observance, completely absorbed and focused. See how the air passes through you nostrils, tickling the hairs in your nose, watch and witness the abdomen enlarge and the lungs expanding gently as a response. Breathing out observe the process as you would a movie get yourself involved and watch the lungs deflate as a response to you abdomens movement. Observe the air as it comes out through your nose, tickling those nostril hairs. And then the slight pause before we breath in once again.

This is just one step in meditation and is the foundation of all training it is called Samantha or Samadhi meditation. However this is just a foundation and only when our foundations are solid and secure can we start to build upon this to investigate and discover the real interplay between our thoughts and there corresponding actions. This is known as Vipassanā meditation. Translated as ‘truly seeing‘, or insight meditation.

Vipassanā Meditation

Vipassanā Meditation is an observance of the our thoughts within the consciousness. We watch, without interference, how each thought arises from something and then passes away. How one thought leads to another and to another and then to another. Vipassanā Meditation is the observance of the minds three facts of existence, impermanence, suffering and non self as they reveal themselves through consciousness. Truths that once experienced as reality changes your whole way of life. Knowing this is not enough, experiencing this for yourself is the true purpose of meditation and one that can take minutes or sometimes a life time.

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Vipassanā is an art form that takes a long time to develop and should only be attempted after many hours of Samantha meditation as described above. The reason is to develop the skill as an observer without interference so as to experience these truths for yourself. There is no point in just mere understanding, one must truly experience this birth and death for ourselves, experience the ever changing impermanence that exists in everything.

For another explanation of Vipassanā Meditation from a more scientific view point Click Here

What to do now

The most important factor to remember with meditation is to always be kind towards yourself. When we loose focus on our breathing, gently laugh or chuckle to yourself and bring back your attention. Try not to be harsh with yourself it is the journey that is far more important than the destination. Kindness goes an incredible long way in this world and something that if practiced towards ourselves helps elevate a lot of our problems.

Practice breathing meditation or Samantha meditation until you have got a solid foundation, a foundation where you feel present in the moment, grounded in the breath. Once this has become established then allow your mind to investigate, to clearly see with Vipassanā Meditation.

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For any help or advice please feel free to contact me using the contact form provided in the menu. There is no pressure on your behalf and I am here to help. I have been lucky enough to be guided by Masters over my time and it would be a delight to help in anyway I can.

kind regards

Dhamma Tāpasā

Categories
meditation

Words of wisdom and Moral Principles

Words of Wisdom & inspirational quotes

These Words of Wisdom or inspirational quotes have all been selected to try and ease our suffering, to bring about a calm within our minds. There is an unprecedented amount of pain and suffering going on in the world today and it is each of our responsibility to help in any way we can.

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The world we all live in is an ever changing, impermanent entity and today this seems more so than ever before. Coronavirus or Covid19 has altered our entire way of life in a very short period of time. No matter what country you come from, no matter what colour your skin, no matter the religion you believe or disbelieve everyone has been touched by this deadly virus. Masks are starting to become an everyday aspect of our lives, social distancing is necessary or enforced and millions of people are suffering as a result.

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Myself, Dhamma Tāpasā, and my adopted stray dog, Marley Moo, spend our time wandering the European countryside, what the Buddhists call Tudong, in search of spiritual enlightenment. Each day we meet scared individuals, frightened for there very lives and that of their families. My job as a Monk and Meditator is to help in anyway I can, through my unique Moral Stories created from real life experiences we come across during our week. We create words of wisdom or inspirational quotes that have been passed down through the ages and we teach meditation and mindfulness techniques to calm the mind from worry and try and alleviate our own suffering. Meditation is more than just a relaxation tool and I urge you to find out more.

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Learn more about Meditation

To learn more about mindfulness and meditation techniques, we have included FREE within these pages a complete Beginners Meditation guide, advancing to the more sophisticated Vipassana meditation practice. We have sections to help with our posture and sitting position for meditation, mini meditations that can be practiced for people with busy lives. Body scan meditation to learn how are body feels at any given moment, and many many more meditation tricks and tips that help with any problems you may be facing along the way.

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A New Set of Moral Principles through Moral Stories

I believe the world needs a new set of Moral principals to help us progress, develop and thrive in this 21st century. Our time on this planet is short and at the moment it seems the manipulation of large corporations, the absurdity of immoral sports personalities, lying governments and the wealthy elite are gaining ever more popularity of followers all dreaming that this is the correct way to live our lives.

The results or our Karma following this way of life are very clear to me. With more and more searching for Youtube star sensation and Facebook fame we are all starting to fall victim to an immoral set of principals that only harm others in favour of ourselves.

We share this planet with 7 billion other humans and more than 7 times that number of other mammals, insects and birds, something we have all seemed too of forgotten. If we keep chasing greed of wealth, and the constant wanting of more things and stuff we will be the generation that brings the end to life as we know it.

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I urge us all to change our ways and learn more about peace, happiness from within ourselves and not from external situations. For none of us can become truly happy by external happiness, only by looking deep within can we truly escape the suffering we are causing ourselves and others.

Morality seems to of been casted aside in this century and I wholeheartedly believe a new set of principles needs to be found by all of us. This is why I try to write a Moral story each week to show clear examples of our behaviour and it’s direct consequences. Most of these short sweet Moral stories are from inspiration on our wanderings, designed to be read by children and adults alike.

Kind regards

Dhamma Tāpasā

Categories
Motivational Mini Stories

The Monk & The Grasshopper

This weeks motivational Moral story

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The Monk & The Grasshopper

The Monk & The Grasshopper

One fine day, whilst out and about, hopping here and there, a little grasshopper happened across a monk who was meditating.

He hopped his way around the motionless monk for some time. He was struck by how calm, still and peaceful the monk appeared but he wasn’t really sure what he was doing.

The grasshopper hopped here and there, back and forth, keeping his eye on the monk and slowly gaining courage to get closer and closer until finally he was almost at the monk’s side. Just at the moment when he was about to hop on his knee and clear his tiny grasshopper throat, the monk opened his eyes and looked down at the grasshopper.

“Hello little grasshopper” the monk said in a warm and friendly manner. “How may I help you? ”

Surprised that the monk knew he was there, the little grasshopper, hopped back a little, and, plucking up all of his little grasshopper courage, he asked his question.

“I have been watching you for some time and would like to know what it is you are doing?”

“Meditation little grasshopper” said the monk “we meditate to calm our wandering minds”.

“Wandering minds, the grasshopper repeated, What do you mean?.

“Our minds can be like that of a little grasshopper that hops from place to place, always moving, never still and calm”

“Oh, said the little grasshopper, trying hard to be still for a moment. “I like that. I would like to try to calm my wandering mind, and my wandering legs, for that matter. Do you think I could learn?”

“Of course, little grasshopper. Its quite simple. We start by getting comfortable, then sitting with crossed legs and our backs straight, we close our eyes”.

The little grasshopper immediately sits down and after spending a little time working out how to cross its little legs, it closes its little eyes.

A few moments pass before the grasshopper opens one eye and looks up at the still and calm monk. “But what now? ” he asks a little impatiently.

The monk chuckles “steady little grasshopper, not so fast. When we close our eyes we watch our breath, Breathing in we are truly aware we are breathing in. Breathing Out we are truly aware we are breathing out”

“OK, that sounds pretty simple”, says the little grasshopper and does as the monk says, making himself comfortable again and crossing his little legs, he slowly closes his eyes and takes a deep in breath.

A few moments pass. “Wait!” shouts the grasshopper “I think it would be better to meditate over there on that lovely grass stalk” and off he hops. He jumps onto the blade of grass and looks around in satisfaction.

“Ok I’m ready now”

The monk and the grasshopper get themselves comfortable again, the monk crosses his legs and the little grasshopper does the same, they both slowly close their eyes and take a deep in breath.

A few more moments pass. “Wait!” Shouts the grasshopper “I think it would be better to meditate over there on that lovely rock” and off he hops. He jumps onto the rock and looks around in satisfaction.

“Ok I’m ready now”

The monk and the grasshopper once again make themselves comfortable the monk crosses his legs and the little grasshopper does the same, they both slowly close their eyes and take a deep in breath.

A few more moments pass. “Wait!” shouts the grasshopper

Author Dhamma Tapasa

Edited by Sophie Mars

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The Monk & The Grasshopper

Moral of Story

Our minds can be like that of the little grasshopper, always hopping off to here and there following the next big distraction. We meditate to calm our minds, stilling and quietening ourselves to live more in the present moment. When we become present in the moment we start to learn and experience the fundamental truths to that which causes us to suffer

Categories
meditation Misadventures of a Monk

Coronavirus from a Monks perspective

Covid19 and the view of a concerned monk

It’s been quite a while since I posted an update as to myself, Dhamma Tāpasā and my faithful companion Marley Moo, we were about to embark once again on our walking or wanderings then the coronavirus struck everyone, first Asia then Europe and then followed by the rest of the world, everywhere went into lockdown.

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Marley Moo

Marley and myself have been in Portugal for the last few years, a wonderful country full of inquisitive hospitable and extremely tolerant people who have slowly stolen my heart. This post is not going to try and be all political or which countries have done better than others. All I know is this has been an extraordinary world event that has caused massive amounts of suffering. Nowhere and no one on our awesome planet has been left untouched by this one event.

This is more of what we marley Moo and myself Dhamma Tāpāsa have been doing during this time. How a monk, living a simple and austere life has managed to survive.

As someone who relies on the kindness of strangers for food and our basic needs, corona and the lockdown effect has been an interesting journey. At first I tried treating the lockdown as an extended retreat and continued meditating as if I was on a rains period. We were extremely lucky to be living on 88 hectares of land during the winter months and continued to stay during corona, allowing me and Marley to also spend long days walking. We have of course had our ups and downs just like everyone, but understanding the reality of seeing the impermanence in everything we knew this too shall pass.

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Monsanto

As lockdown eased slightly we started to wander a little further each day, always returning to our chosen base. We have struggled money wise and have lost our internet connection for, sometimes, long periods at a time. It has been difficult to fund this website or keep it regularly updated as library’s shut to the public. Even now trying to organise enough time on the internet to revamp the website after a disastrous change of service caused page crashes and broken links, but we are managing slowly, just like the rest of humanity, to get back to normality.

We have been extremely lucky here in Portugal and have seen relatively low numbers of people infected. Even with these low numbers there are hundreds and thousands of people who are suffering greatly. My heart goes out to everyone, around the world as we all try and get to grips with this changing world.

As someone who practices meditation everyday, I would highly recommend at least giving this new age, hippy dippy, concept a go. Not only will your anxiety and stress reduce, it will help us all become calmer and more tolerant of people and our surroundings. Just the simple task of sitting comfortably and closing our eyes for ten minutes will have a tremendous effect on our well being. Meditation for Beginners is a great place to start if your contemplating dipping you toe into this wonderful exercise of mindfulness.

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We would still like to continue our walking and maybe one day soon the conditions will be just right again for us to do just that. As for the moment myself and Marley Moo have wandered and travelled away from our sanctuary of 88 hectares in Portugal’s Algarve and have moved a little further to central Portugal and close to the Estrella mountains. We have a couple of friends here and will use this area as a base for the foreseeable future.

We really can see first hand how dangerous this virus really is, not just as a disease that can kill and cause millions of us to die, but the act of social distancing on our mental health, frightened to see older parents in case we pass on a disease. People scared to go to hospital for normal regular stuff, the loss of work and income for millions of families around the world and small business, the push for a cashless society so small independent people can be controlled and monitored more easily. Corporations begging for bailouts to save even more loss of jobs. Unprecedented times indeed.

There are millions and millions more people who our suffering greatly in this time than the actual disease will kill. We are asked to care for a system so that it can care for us, and by doing so must self isolate, social distance and loose household income. It has created a divide between old and young, different nations, different politics and even caused differences of opinion amongst friends and family. This one event we all share in common has and is causing more suffering to millions than anything in my living history.

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This is a very very scary time and I urge each and everyone to take time to breath, meditate and relax. Take a look at your life values and reassess your ideas, dreams and look at what is truly important for you.

Kind regards

Dhamma Tāpasā

To help support Dhamma Tāpasā and Marley Moo with this website and the creation of unique Motivational Moral Stories perhaps you could help by donating the price of a coffee or cost of a newspaper using this PayPal Link below.

www.paypal.me/dhammatapasa

Please note that Dhamma Tāpasā is a real life Monk and the spiritual name of Andrew Hallas, I have been continuously using my spiritual name Dhamma Tāpasā, the name given to me upon full ordination as a Buddhist monk in Northern Thailand, however it wasn’t until I needed a bank account did I realise I had to use my birth name as well..

Categories
meditation Meditation Masters

Spiritual teachers of our time

Spiritual teachers & Guru’s in the 21st Century

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Quotes that make you laugh

The world has seen its fair share of spiritual teachers, as tribal groups there would always be someone we could seek advice, the shaman, witch doctors and wise sages. As humanity settled into greater societies we developed philosophy, meditation, and ever more sophisticated ways of exploring the mind and our consciousness. We have consistently and constantly throughout time sought advice from others. 

This ever changing impermanent world we populate has given rise to some amazing Guru’s, sages, philosophers and spiritual teachers through out the centuries. We have seen the birth of Socrates, Aristotle, the Buddha, Jesus Christ and Confucius to name just a mere few of these wonderful people who shared there knowledge and understanding to help others.

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Today’s spiritual teacher or guru can, as always, be difficult to separate from the hum drum of the real world. Some ask us to invest our time and energy into something they say produce staggering results in next to no time, but at a cost. Some seem to walk the walk or talk the talk but seldom practice that which they preach. personal development through mindfulness, words of wisdom, developing minds, spiritual enlightenment, inspirational advice, change your mindset, commit to sit, spiritual teachers of 21st Century, motivational quotes, changing thought patterns, spiritual awakening,

There are of course in the 21st century some wonderful teachers out there, it just may seem a little crowded with wanna be YouTube stars, or Pinterest and Facebook hero’s quoting or misquoting life lessons, people who may have little to no life experience.

My personal search

Before I became an ordained Buddhist Monk in North Thailand I went through many frustrating years following the advice of one teacher then the next, only to find my own life experience differed from those teachings.

I travelled in search of answers looking first towards South America and the Indian shaman’s, who taught me that The Earth is our Mother. I ventured further and sought out our ancestral roots within Africa, finding some of the indigenous tribes people still left who taught me wisdom doesn’t come from school.

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After all this searching, as if by chance, I met a simple Buddhist Monk, Thich Nhat Hanh, one of the greatest spiritual teachers alive today. Thanks to his wonderful compassion, wisdom and guidance, I found my search for a teacher over. Every word he spoke to me resonated deep within my soul, sparking a realisation I had been seeking for years.

Now it’s your turn

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I really hope you find your spiritual teacher, someone that can also spark that magic Thich Nhat Hanh did for me. To help you out we thought it might be useful for a small list of trustworthy people, alive today, who really do know there stuff. Please feel free to help with any suggestions, someone special to you. Click on the highlighted name for more information.

Thich Nhat Hanh:

Is a Buddhist monk who set up Plum village monastery in France, as well as many others. He was nominated for the noble peace prize and a prolific author of some 100 books. A true real life saint.

Jack Kornfield:

A trained Buddhist monk under the tutelage of Ajahn Chah, one of the original 1960’s hippy trail travellers caving a path towards a spiritual East. A wonderful author of many many enlightening books of meditation and mindfulness.

Deepak Chopra:

Indian born American spiritual author, public speaker and advocate of alternative medicine, and a celebrated author in the self help category

Mooji:

Jamaican born Mooji is a spiritual guru filled with loving kindness. He became a spiritual teacher in 1999 when a group of spiritual seekers became his students, and began to produce books, CDs, and videos of his teachings

Ajahn Brahm

Is a British born Australian Buddhist monk from the Thai forest tradition and tutored under the auspicious Ajahn Chah. He now resides in Perth, Australia and Abbot Of Bodhinyana Monastery, a wonderfully entertaining and funny speaker and lecturer.

Dhali Lama

The 14th Dalai Lama, born as Tenzin Gyatso and is the current spiritual leader of Tibet. Tenzin was born in the small village of Taktser in Tibet and became the spiritual leader at the tender age of 15 years old. A remarkable man of humble origins.

How a spiritual teacher can help

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My life dramatically changed after meeting Thich Nhat Hanh and from that moment onwards. I committed wholeheartedly to practice meditation and mindfulness and discover the workings of my own mind. I travelled to Asia and ordained as a Buddhist monk, a journey that took many years in itself, I spent many happy years living and training in meditation and mindfulness within the monastic surroundings of Thailand.

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I decided to return to Europe, where I wander the countryside with my adopted street dog Marley Moo, together we teach and write moral stories, however it has come at the cost of loosing all monetary assistance from my monastery. This caused a few problem and made me question my beliefs and ideas, I am now in my 12th year, or 12th rains, as a Monk and I spend my days in continuous practice of the discovery of myself. It is again only by chance I find myself now in the position where it is I who can give back.

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To find out more about Dhamma Tāpasā Click Here!

And if your feeling spontaneously generous

Our PayPal link is as follows

www.paypal.me/dhammatapasa

Kind regards

Dhamma Tāpasā

Categories
Motivational Mini Stories

The Two Arguing Tigers

The Two Arguing Tigers.

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The Two Arguing Tigers

Two tigers start to get into an argument while out for a walk

The first tiger is adamant that he is right, the second tiger is certain that he is right, both won’t give in and the argument starts to escalate.

Just then, as they round a corner in the road, they meet a friendly meditating monk.

“Ahhh now for sure we will see I am right” says one tiger

“I don’t think so” says the other tiger “we shall see I am right.”

They pay their respects to the monk, before asking their pressing question.

“Monk we have a question for you” states one tiger “we would like you to clarify who is right and who is wrong. where does Heaven and Hell reside? My friend believes that Heaven is above and Hell is below but I disagree and am sure that Hell is above and Heaven is below. Monk please tell us”

The Monk smiles and considers the problem for a moment before replying

“I’m afraid neither of you are correct. Heaven and Hell don’t reside outside of us, either above the clouds or deep within the earth. Heaven and hell reside in each one of our minds. Let me explain. Both of you are angry with each other in this moment and so your minds are filled with a destructive force, this is like a Hell. Only peace and compassion can bring about a Heaven in our minds”

Both the two tigers instantly understand what the monk has explained and drop their stupid argument, apologise to each other and become friends once more.

“And right now, in your mind tigers, is Heaven” said the monk “when we have peace and compassion in our minds we are experiencing Heaven”

Author: Dhamma Tāpasā

Moral of the story

There are said to be 108 defilements or destructive forces of our minds. Anger and hatred are amongst those 108, we must calmly and clearly see for ourselves how each of these 108 destructive forces, harm us and cause only ourselves to suffer. To truly feel this within our own minds and bodies we begin to let go.

Our mind is the one thing that comes with us wherever we go. Most of us seek outside of ourselves for that elusive happiness, I challenge you to look within to find that happiness, peace and compassion that you so richly deserve.

Observe, how you body feels when anger is present, truly see for yourself how tense your body becomes how the stress courses through you. To truly experience anger this way the truth will shine, gradually or instantly you will let go.

Categories
Everyone’s Mind Matters meditation

How to deal with the wrongs of your past

This is written in response to a question I was recently asked on how to deal with the wrongs of the past. I do hope this may help in some small way to elevating anyone who may be suffering from past events no matter how big or small.

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As someone who had a traumatic childhood and teen years I can empathise with anyone struggling. My childhood may or may not of been as traumatic as yours but as humans we all experience the same anger, hatred, and fear. your anger would be no different than mine or others, it is the conditions that cause that anger to manifest are different from person to person.

During Vipassana rains retreats as a novice monk my Abbott would tell me to explore my anger and hatred I was carrying from the past. Not from a logical stand point, as to why I was feeling this was, but instead how it was effecting my body, how I actually felt inside. When I started to feel that tension in my muscles and throughout my whole body, when I really explored how it made me feel inside and the suffering it was causing was rather like rubbing the dust from my eyes. This swiftly made me realise how deep these negative and destructive emotions run throughout our entire bodies and they started to lessen there evil grip upon me.

This simple task really helped me identify these negative and destructive forces as they would arise, I slowly began feeling less inclined to hold onto or attach to these feelings because I could really see, and feel how tense and twisted my body became, and I could now start and begin to ‘let go’ and not attach myself to these destructive and negative thoughts.

Of course this is just one small part, but a crucial one to start moving forward. Once I experience the reality for myself how these negative and destructive forces caused me to feel it was time to practice loving kindness meditation to allow those wounds of time to heal.

I started small and found things around me that I really could feel love for. The local Thai people who would feed me everyday, the little stray dog that would follow me on alms round and made me smile every time he came. These little things I practiced loving kindness towards, until I could generate a deep feeling of gratitude towards life. Only then with this feeling of loving kindness would I turn my attention to my oppressors from the past. At the precise moment you think of an enemy, check how you feel, do a body scan and look within. It was very hard at first but with persistence and continuous watching all those feeling within myself as I thought of the person who had wronged me, I could see how twisted and taught my body would became.

The more I practiced both of these exercises the less I wanted to feel this way, I owned up to my responsibility that I was hurting myself every time these negative and destructive thoughts would arise. As if holding a scolding hot stone, I dropped it. Let go off all those feelings that were now causing just me harm.

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This does take time continuously practicing meditation, and I know from the deepest part of my heart you all have this Buddha nature.

Dealing with our past, the oppressors and manipulators we have encountered but also for all the wrongs that we will of also done, is one of the bravest and most heroic things we can do as humans, and as so you have my uttermost admiration and praise. You are a noble Dhamma warrior and I wish you all the peace and harmony our lives deserve.

Kind regards

Dhamma Tāpasā