Foundations of Meditation: Lovingkindness, Class III
I. Assignments Week III
A. Practice lovingkindness meditation 15min/day
B. Read and study p 32-40
C. Mindfulness/lovingkindness throughout the day
II. Check ins:
A. Tonight Loving Kindness on befriending oneself
B. Buddha’s Quote on loving yourself :”You can search throughout the entire universe for someone who is more deserving of your love and affection than you are yourself, and that person is not to be found anywhere. You yourself, as much as anybody in the entire universe deserve your love and affection.”
C. Story from “Super Joy” Paul Pearsall : p8
D. Last time: discussed internal feedback loop
E. Nisargadatta Maharaj: “Wisdom tells me I am nothing. Love tells me I am everything. Between the two my live flows
F. Mediation requires code of ethics (precepts): Generosity, non harm, right speech, right action, right livelihood: these are all relational practices. The story of 4 men traveling upriver to get spices .
G. Right view: the truth of connectedness; we are doing this practice for all
H. Our western “culture of the individual;” leads to perfectionism; because we are never perfect, we feel shame when we make a mistake; our culture does not believe in pain; this leads to self judgment and leads to a sense of separation, fear, aversion, Insecurity/dissatisfaction, disconnect/judging. In our isolation we create “the other.”
I. Then we are endlessly trying to do more to be enough. We also try to protect our happiness; leading to aversion when it is threatened; this makes hard to acknowledge others and their suffering.
J. Understand that Metta is not an emotion but an attitude, commitment and intention. It can run alongside these emotions of anger, anxiety etc . Metta is not an idealized state that is free from unpleasant mental states. We are befriending our sadness and self judgment, treating these states with kindness. Through the process of befriending the pain we heal the pain health which means whole.
K. “To remain stable is to refrain from trying to separate yourself from pain because you know that you cannot. Running away from fear is fear, fighting pain is pain, trying to be brave is being scared. If the mind is in pain, the mind is in pain. The thinker has no other form than his thought. There is no escape.” Alan Wilson Watts, “The Wisdom of Insecurity”
Guided Meditation transcript
“Befriending Oneself: In the Body.”
Settling into a relaxed and alert posture, beginning to reflect on a gladdening experience. This may be a recent encounter with a person where you felt warmth, gratitude or friendship. Or this could be a recollection of a person who has loved you completely.
Allowing whatever physical sensations to arise along with sounds passing and falling, cultivating a receptive awareness. Sensing what it is like to inhabit this body with a gentle curiosity.
Beginning to scan your body from the top of the head to the toes. Sensing the places in your body where there is tension, tightness, unpleasantness. Touching those places with a gentle curiosity. Being aware of changes within these areas of discomfort. Moving your attention to explore the edges of these unpleasant sensations. Sensing what it is like to be near the unpleasant sensations with mindfulness and gentleness.
Sensing the places in your body that are at ease, often the palms of your hands or the touch of your lips. With mindfulness stand near those pleasant sensations that are free from distress.
Within these areas of unpleasant sensation and pleasant sensation, planting the seeds of kindness and befriending. Remembering metta is an intention that implies attending, listening and befriending.
Attending to these various places in the body, inclining in this heart towards kindness.
Dropping the following phrases into the body like a pebble in a pond:
May I be safe and well in the midst of this
May I be peaceful within this body
May I rest with ease and kindness in this moment
Noticing the tendency of the mind to react to pain with tightening, contracting and even self judgment. Practice metta on the tightening. Considering allowing for the pain, and a stronger intention for the metta practice.
Also noticing the tendency of the mind to wish to possess pleasant sensations. Continuing to practice mindfulness around the sensations, and more determination to practice the intention of metta.
Noticing if your tolerance for pain is weakening, bringing your mindfulness to the parts of your body that are well. Recognizing that we are having pain in her body yet wellness in the body. Knowing the possibility of peaceful coexistence between pain and wellness.
If the mind is overwhelmed with judgment, harshness, returning to the gladdening practice.
III. Process the guided meditation
IV. Short lecture between guided meditations
A. And when we move toward community, we move towards health
B. Story of Ashoka Salzberg, S. “Lovingkindness” p10
C. Alternative story: what is hell; we create our own hell: through fear and ill will
Guided meditation transcript
“ Befriending Oneself: Thoughts, emotions, moods.”
Credit Christina Feldman, “Boundless Love”
Finding a posture of relaxed alertness., Establishing the mindful intention to be present, to inhabit the body with gentleness and receptivity.
Beginning the practice with an awareness of the body breathing. Focusing on the upper torso breathing. Allowing this organic body to breathe. Following the breathing from front to end .
Bringing to mind a situation that activated some sense of connection, warmth. Allowing yourself to dwell in this recollection.
Sensing the parts of your body that are calm, perhaps the hands, the posture. Bringing awareness to that stillness.
Taking in the upper torso, sensing the calmness. Befriending the entirety of the upper torso with presence, with mindfulness.
Sensing the interwoven process of mind and body. When the mind is being affected, this is affecting the body. When the body is being affected, this is affecting the mind. Bring awareness to anywhere in the body that the mind may be affected by an emotion such as sadness, anger or fear., Shining the light of gentle awareness on to the part of the body being affected by sadness, fear, kindness.
Bringing to your awareness the sensations activated by emotions in this moment. Witnessing touching the edge of these sensations with mindfulness. Sadness, agitation, fear, dullness and spaciousness can all activate various sensations, particularly in this upper torso. Sensing the climate of your mind without any judgment. Noticing the range of thoughts as an image is passes through the mind like clouds. Recognizing and letting go of future planning, obsessing rehearsing. Allowing these thoughts to pass like clouds moving through the sky. Sensing what it’s like to stand near to all of this with an attitude of kindness. Planting the seeds of intention in the midst of all this
May I be safe and well in the midst of all things
May I be peaceful in the midst of all moments
May I abide in ease and in kindness
Mind is being distracted, not allowing yourself to judge or despair. Brings my yourself back to the intention. Mindfulness allows us with the choices to abide in wholesome features of the mind. Metta is the intention to be free of anger and fear, to abide in kindness.
IV. Process this mediation and Q&A