Teachings on Mindfulness & Meditation through Inspirational Short Stories & Motivational Quotes from a real travelling Vanlife Monk affiliated to No Tribe, Religion or Society always searching for Spiritual Enlightenment
Meditation is a very personal journey from the path we find meditation on to the journey of personal discovery meditation brings, for each of us has our life story of ups and downs of love and Anger, of loneliness and elation, all squished together over many years to create a tapestry of memories, events and experiences that shape our very existence into behavioural patterns we continually present to the world as Me, I and the Ego
My personal journey with meditation started a long time ago and really took many years before I understood fully what I was doing. For the first few years I suffered with my posture finding the pressure in my knees to much to sit for any period of time. I later found and understand the correct sitting posture helping me to sit for longer periods of time. But if meditation was only about sitting for great lengths of time then chickens would all be enlightened.
To practice meditation is to be aware, aware of the present moment, to become an observer of the mind in every moment is true meditation, in the observance of mind can we truly uncover the mysteries of the entire universe, the interconnectedness and impermanence of all things and the unconditional love that comes from being present and aware.
To start to meditate is one of life’s greatest challenges and one that can seem incredible scary. My first ever experience of meditation was in a Buddhist meditation centre along with maybe 250 others, with a strict code of silence being observed . The first morning I followed everyone else into the meditation hall and found a cushion and tried to sit. The bell chimed and everyone closed there eyes. I had been given a few simple instructions, breath in be aware your breathing in, simple. I closed my eyes and breathed in, counted one and lost my thoughts, my mind traveled somewhere I cannot say, I do remember think wow this meditation lark is easy and opened my eyes to check the time. 30 seconds had passed, arghh half a minute, I’ve got half an hour of this, calm down, breathing in be aware count one, my mind wanders, collect my thoughts, wow how long was that, 1 minute, what! Calm and I repeated this for a whole thirty minutes.
Not a good start and I’m amazed I kept going. However this can be a common problem when starting to meditate, if you are experiencing anything like this then your not alone.what we need to do is find that pure magic that comes with meditation, we need to feel addicted to meditation, we need to find pleasure.
Like everything, patience and being kind to yourself go an incredibly long way in helping you overcome this initial stage. It’s like any exercise we do to strengthen our muscles the first few times are tough and are muscles ache and seem to scream Stop! Slowly over time we build those muscles and it becomes a little easier, we start to see our progress which in turn spurs us on to ever more success. The exact same is true for meditation only we are training our mind in the powers of concentration.
It has taken many years practicing in countless meditation centres across Europe and Asia and as a Buddhist monk during rains retreats to finally becoming solid in my meditation practice. I now love meditation so much, that given the time I can sit for hours in pure bliss, it has become the first thing I now want to do as I rise from sleep, I used to go for a cup of coffee to kick start my day, I now meditate.
I am not fully enlightened or claim to be, I am on the path to enlightenment and have dedicated my entire life to this endeavour. I have years and years of experience from meeting true enlightened masters to actual real meditation experience. I can help you!
The whole of this website is slowly growing to enable me to help all those who sincerely want to practice meditation. Instead of trying so desperately hard by yourself let this website and myself help and guide you along the path, use my many years of mistakes and lessons learnt as your short cut to your meditation success.
Slowly over time I will be filling the pages of this website with helpful tips and tricks I’ve personally been taught or learnt while meditating. As well as articles on my own meditation journey glimpsing into the contemplative subjects I endeavour to uncover the answers too, and personal reflections into my life and past traumas overcome.
It would be amazing if you could join myself and Marley on our journey 4enlightenment, but we understand if we’re not your flavoured tea! Maybe your not ready!
If you want to know more about Marley and me, Dhamma Tapasa CLICK HEAR
Please feel free to contact me regarding any problems your having with meditation or ideas to make this website more appealing please feel free to use the information found on our contact page CLICK HEAR
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This meditation is usually done lying down but if you find you keep falling asleep it can equally be done siting crossed legged on the floor or 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 so a small pillow or folded towel will do the trick, but 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 and 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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Of all the mental poisons Anger and hatred are by far the worst, a daily diet of hatred and anger can only lead to dissolution, self pity, Depression and loneliness. Anger and hatred are the driving force behind violence, human genocide and every war either religious or political. So what is anger and hatred? Where does anger come from? Why do some people get more angry than others? And what are the triggers for anger and hatred?
Everyone, if totally honest with themselves, has experience and suffered form bouts of anger and hatred at some point in their lives. Anger and hatred are the equal opposite of love and peace, with the American Psychological Association stating that “anger is a completely normal, usually healthy, human emotion” however Wikipedia tells us that “A person experiencing anger will often experience physical conditions such as increase heart rate elevated blood pressure and increase levels of adrenaline and noradrenaline.”
Where does anger come from?
Anger is born out of frustration or injustice usually because of an illogical idea that something/someone, we have no control over, should be, or be happening or has happened differently than your personal requirements.
There are a few websites out there, American Psychological Association and Medical News Today, as examples, claiming that anger is a natural emotional state. I would like to disagree wholeheartedly to this and state that, Anger is an emotional response to a given set of circumstances, anger is a choice not a natural state of consciousness.
This may sound controversial but let me explain.
Now a bit of science
We in the west are scientifically minded. If an experiment using the same formulas is repeated anywhere in the world it must have the same results before it is established as fact.
If we take this synopsis and apply it to anger and hatred and on a hot day pour cold water over 10 individuals the results will become clear.
The facts of the experiment is the water is cold and the day is hot. The reaction of the individuals won’t be the same, the majority may well scream blue murder resulting in anger, however one may very well react differently, perhaps a feeling of being cooled or refreshed by the water may be the experience. Because of these variations in our human reactions, anger is present but it a choice what makes us angry, and what may make you angry doesn’t necessarily make another angry.
Yes I hear some of you cry, but that is just one trigger for anger what about other situations, like road rage, or being robbed. In each situation the individual reaction can and will be different depending on the individuals past experiences and memories.
Let’s choose differently
There are so many examples where an individual has chosen love and peace instead of hatred and anger. Etty Hillesum wrote a few months before she died at Auschwitz concentration camp that “I can see no way around it. Each of us must look inside himself and excise and destroy everything he finds there which he believes should be excised and destroyed in others” the Dalia Lama had a visit from a Tibetan monk who had be imprisoned and tortured for twenty five years in a Chinese labour camp. When asked was he fearful, he responded “I was often afraid of hitting my torturers, for in doing so I would have destroyed myself”. After the bomb attack that killed hundreds in Oklahoma City in 1995, the father of a three year old daughter lost in the attack was asked if he wanted to see the instigator executed, he replied “Another death isn’t going to bring my daughter back”
The Dalia Lama says it best “Even if we allow our rage to go all the way, we will never eliminate all our enemies”
Anger in other Animals
One fact about anger and hatred that is typically common to humans, is that we can spend prolonged periods of time in rage, anger and hatred. As humans we can wallow in anger and we can carry hatred with us for hours, days even years,
If we look at the other animals we share this magnificent planet with, we won’t find an angry elephant or a lion spending its day wallowing in a sea of anger, yes there are moments and displays of aggression and dominance and you may well find a grumpy elephant but never for a prolonged period of time, that seems to be reserved as a human animal trait
My most profound experience with seeing anger manifest within my own mind and then my subsequent analysis of this most dangerous of disease was when I was a Buddhist monk in north an Thailand.
We were all lined up in an orderly line for our one meal of the day. The food was all arranged neatly on the table and each monk was taking it in turns to fill his bowl, when one of the senior monks turns around to me and calmly states
“you have a lot of anger in you!”
I smiled the sweetest smile I could and calmly said
“no I don’t”
all the while inwardly I was thinking how rude! How dare you say such a thing! And generally reacting with anger. It was at this moment I caught myself, caught my mind at work.
I didn’t eat that day, I walked off and sat in meditation analysing my anger and its root causes, what was it? where did it came from? why had such a simple sentence effected me so much, where in my body was I feeling anger? The answers surprised
Anger is a choice, just as we choose to be happy or sad, optimistic or pessimistic, anger is a choice only you can make.
Mahatma Gandhi once said
“nobody can walk with dirty feet through my mind without my permission”
Generally however we react with a conditioned response, learned over time by experience and memory. To respond differently takes courage and wisdom. To respond differently requires compassion and patience, to respond differently we need to see anger and hatred for what they truly are!
The Story of The Flea
Now I’m going to change the pace a little and tell you a story, the story of the common household flea. The remarkable facts of the common flea demonstrate how we too can become pre-condition in our way of thinking.
The common flea has the ability to jump 200 times its own height. If you then trap that same flea under a glass jar he will soon learn that there is an upper limit, a glass ceiling, to his jumping ability. Try as he might to reach his full potential he will now hit his head every time. After many attempts the flea will now adopt a new jumping height so as not to hit his head.
The remarkable thing is when you take the glass jar away. The flea has now been conditioned by experience and memory that if he try’s to jump any higher than his previous glass jar prison he will bang his head. He will now only jump to that pre-conditioned height of just under that ceiling level.
Story of the Baby Elephant
The same story is to be found in elephants, from a young age the baby elephant is shackled by a chain around one leg, this is then attached to a large metal stake that is hammered deep into the ground. Try as he might that elephant won’t budge or pull the stake out of the ground, over time he is conditioned by experience and memory that is is useless to pull at the stake it won’t come out, and it cannot free itself. Now that same elephant only needs to be lightly staked to the ground and it won’t even attempt to pull itself free, it has learnt from past experience and memory. Even the mighty elephant can be conditioned.
If you feel sorry for the elephant in the last story, may I ask is it because you notice the same conditioning in your own life, that same conditioning that is the cause of your anger, the same conditioning that now controls so much of our lives.
Our Conditioned Lives
We have all conditioned ourselves through our experiences and memories, maybe it’s time we pulled our own steaks out the ground, maybe today is the day we dare to jump just a little higher.
So how do we dare to jump higher, how do we gain the courage to pull our conditioned steaks out of the ground, how do we notice what conditions are limiting our abilities, and how do we change our natural response such as anger to certain given circumstances or experiences.
So now we have come full circle, We have all suffered form bouts of anger at some point in our lives, remember that anger is born out of frustration or injustice usually because of an illogical idea that something/someone, we have no control over, should be, or be happening or have happened differently to meet your personal requirements.
We also now know that anger and hatred are a choice, it is also because of our pre-conditioning that we react the way we do, we have also seen how humans can carry anger for prolonged periods of time, a trait only found with us. We have also seen different triggers for anger but that each is responsible for his or her own reaction. The question now is, how do we stop reacting with anger? How can we change our pre-conditions response?
How Meditation can help
Meditation is the only real way to notice those pre-conditioned responses, to see first hand the destructive nature of anger not to the person or object it’s directed towards, but the real deep and lasting harm it is doing to ourselves. So 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 “is 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 usage of the word meditation and mindfulness can be over used by a commercial industry selling self help, relaxation and stress reduction.
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 dropping our pre-conditioned ideals, relieving us from Depression, Anxiety, anger and hatred.
By following some of the simple meditation exercises and guide lines within these webpages you will start to see the destructive nature of anger and hatred first hand. One of the best places to start with meditation and mindfulness is Breathing Meditation also known as Samadhi Meditation. Using our breath as the focus point of out meditation will build our levels and powers of concentration along with the other Benefits Meditation brings.
All the meditations given in these pages have been handed down generation after generation for over 2500 years and were passed onto me by meditation masters when I was a Buddhist monk in Thailand.
Once you see for yourself how anger eats us inside, creating hatred and desires for revenge, how it can consume us wholeheartedly taking our valuable life’s energy, then anger can be truly conquered. It takes great courage and wisdom to meditate, but meditation will take us to places you never thought possible.
The best advice to give anyone in life is to meditate, follow the breath and our Breathing Meditation also known as Samadhi Meditation and start becoming more grounded and present in this moment. For in the present moment there cannot exists hatred, anger, discrimination or prejudice, for in the present moment only lives love, compassion, happiness, and contentment.
This is a small collection of inspirational quotes from the Buddhist meditation master Ajahn Brahm.
“Peace is the most valuable commodity. And it’s FREE!”
“Complaining is finding faults, wisdom is finding solutions”
“Life is what’s happening while your worrying”
“Silence is so much more productive of wisdom & clarity of thinking”
“When you have abandoned all past & future, it is as if you have come alive, you are hear mindful.”
“The secret to life is…. Everything is out of control”
“If you know how to let go and be at peace, you know everything you need to know about living in the world”
“Fear is finding fault with the future”
Ajahn Brahm 1951 – present
Is a British born Australian Buddhist monk from the Thai forest tradition and tutored under the auspicious Ajahn Chah. Born Peter Betts in London, England to a working class family, he was to have a normal upbringing for the time but whilst at school he showed exceptional abilities and won a scholarship to Cambridge university to study theoretical physics. It was at Cambridge university that a love affaire with Buddhism, eastern mysticism and meditation began and after graduation and a brief one year stint as a teacher he followed the hippy trail overland from England to the east finally finding his way to Thailand. At the age of 23 peter was ordained as a Buddhist monk in Bangkok.
It was a chance encounter with Ajahn Sumedho that led him to the Thai forest tradition, where he settled and under the guidance of Ajahn Chah he would stay and study for 9 years. It was Ajahn Chah who asked him to help with teaching duties in Australia and together with Ajahn Jagaro they set up Bodhinyana monastery in Perth, Western Australia. This was the first Buddhist monastery in the Thai Theravada linage in the Southern Hemisphere, and still the largest today. In 1995 Ajahn Brahm took over as Abbott of Bodhinyana Monastery which is where he still resides today.
An amazing public speaker selling out concert venues across Singapore and Malaysia, author of two excellent books and credited with translating the Vinaya, the monastic code, into the English language. His easy going nature has earn’t him a large following and his down to earth style and approach make him one of the greatest living teachers of today.
Is an American best selling author, life coach and professional speaker, she is a regular contributor to Oprah Winfrey’s magazine “O”. Martha found recognition and national attention after writing her best selling “Leaving the Saints” in which she recounts her experience of surviving sexual abuse.
Khalil Gibran 1883 – 1931
A Lebanese-American writer and poet writing in both English and Arabic. He is considered in the Arabic world as a political rebel. He is most famed for his work “The Prophet” an inspirational tale of fiction, but within it pages contained a series of philosophical essays that gained Gibran a following. A surge in sales in the 1960’s sees him as the 3rd best selling poet of all time.
Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe 1749 – 1832
Was a German writer, scientist, botanist and statesman. He was a prolific writer and artist producing over 13,000 different works ranging from poetry to novels to paintings and drawings. He was already a celebrated literary by the age of 25. Considered one of Germany’s greatest Literary artists.
Is an Indian professional speaker, author and activist. He is a passionate advocator against the Indian caste-based system founding the charity Country First Foundation. A self help author mostly known in India for his works on obtaining success.
Lyndon B Johnson 1908 – 1973
American politician serving as the 36th president of the United States America, succeeding John F Kennedy after his assassination. He started life as a school teacher before politics took over as his main career. Johnson is remembered fondly for the many laws and policies affecting civil rights, wilderness protection and social security.
Carly Fiorina 1954 – present
Carly is an American business women and political figure, she became the first woman to run a Top 20 company, as ranked by Forbes magazine, as chief executive officer for Hewlett-Packard.
Dalai Lama 1935 – present
The 14th Dalai Lama, born as Tenzin Gyatso is the current spiritual leader of Tibet. Tenzin was born in the small village of Taktser in Tibet, selected from a young age as being the possible reincarnation of the 13th Dalai Lama.
He was 15 years old when he partly took over the political duties of Tibet. During the 1950’s China progressively and violently claimed Tibet as a state of the Chinese and denounced the Dalai Lama as a spiritual leader and all who followed him. The uprising that came and the cultural cleansing preformed by the communist Chinese is one of recent history’s most tragic stories. China was swift and brutal, burning all cultural as religious artefacts, destroying temples and performing horrific acts upon monks and nuns, while the civilised world just watched. The Dalia Lama fled with his life along with a few number of government officials to India in 1959.
Dharamshala has now become residence to the refugees of Tibet and his holiness the 14th Dalai Lama. It is also the capital for the central Tibetan administration (Tibet’s government in exile) from hear the Dalai Lama gives talks and meets and greets thousands upon thousands of tourists and well wishers who have travelled vast distances just to glimpse this truly enlightened man. A true loving example of peace