Search Results for 'meditation'

Basic Relaxation

 For this one lying on the floor is actually best. Please try not to fall asleep though! Put your palms down on the floor by your sides. Your feet should be just a few inches apart.

OK. Now just lie still for a few seconds. Let your thoughts gradually quieten down. Without any force at all let your breathing become naturally deep and regular. Now feel the weight of your body on the floor.

Now we're going to very quickly just 'name' some parts of the body in turn. Centre your consciousness briefly on each of these parts as you name them to yourself. Toes, feet, ankles, calves, knees, thoughs, groin, midriff, chest, shoulders, hands, arms, neck and head. Be aware of any areas where there is particular tension. OK? Now I'll just explain the next bit before we do it.

What we're going to do is spend five seconds making our whole bodies as tense as we possibly can. Then we're going to release all of that tension in one go, pushing it out and up and away from us. But before we do this, on the count of three take a long deep breath in. One, two, three -now tense as many muscles in your body as you possibly can, and when I count three push the air in your lungs out at the same time as you let go of every last little bit of that tension. One, two, three -push away the stress!

Now concentrate on your breathing. Breathing in through the nose and out through the nose is best here, but find some other way if that is uncomfortable for you. Let your breaths be deep, and let your mind be still. Just watch the way you take in the air and how it fills your lungs. Hold the air in your lungs for just for a second or two before you breathe out, and wait for just a second or two before you breathe in again. Just watch your breath for thirty seconds or so. If you get distracted or your mind wanders, then gently bring it back.

Now try and maintain the sense that by letting the body relax, and by allowing the mind to be still, so you are letting all parts of the system become more integrated. By simply being calm, and aware, you are letting bodymind become more balanced. More efficient. More energised. Be calm in this attitude for another minute or so.

Now gradually bring yourself out of the meditation, slowly bringing your attention back to where you are.

by Richard Ebbs

Link: Meditation

Category: Meditations and reflections

Tradition: Buddhism

· meditation · relaxation · daily · spiritual practice · Richard Ebbs

Dzogchen Mindfulness Meditation

 This meditation is taught in a number of traditions in Tibetan Buddhism. Like Zazen, the practise is essentially very simple indeed, but, as you will discover if you do it consistently in the right spirit for some time, this is actually a very powerful meditation technique. It is said that this technique helps develop self-awareness, non-attachment and a feel for what Buddhists call 'Mind'.

Note that after you have done this meditation a few times, you can do it looking directly ahead or you can even do it during every moment when you are active in some activity or activities during the day.

 

Sit in a posture that feels comfortable, with a reasonably straight back. (See Posture.) Your hands should rest on your knees, with your fingers drooping down over your kneecaps. Keep your eyes open, and look at a spot in front of you: your eyes should look downwards at an angle of around 45 degrees.

As a way into the meditation, concentrate on your breathing. Allow it to become naturally deep and regular, feeling each breath as it passes into and out of your body, energising the whole system.

Let your thoughts subside. Let your feelings be calm. You are looking at one spot in particular, but you don't need to analyse what you it is that you are seeing. On the other hand, try not to let your eyes go 'fuzzy': just let them rest on that one place without effort.

When you find yourself thinking, following one thought to the next in the way that we normally do, then don't repress the thought, and don't indulge it. Just gently bring yourself back to being centred somehow in what might be called 'the observer' in you, that part of you that is able to stand back from your thoughts, and watch as they happen.

When you find yourself experiencing feelings, following one feeling to the next in the way that we normally do, then don't repress any of those feelings, and don't indulge them either. Gently bring yourself back to being centred somehow in 'the observer', so that you can stand back from your feelings, and watch them happening.

What we are aiming to do here is reserve certain amounts of the 'energy of our awareness' for different things. So when you find your awareness temporarily taken over by thoughts, or by feelings, or by sensory input from your eyes and so on, then gently 'bring it back' trying not to let more than 25% of your 'awareness-energy' be used up in this way. Reserve 25% of your awareness-energy for 'the observer'. The remaining 50% of the energy of your consciousness should be used to maintain, if possible, a sense of the void that, according to Mahayana Buddhist philosophy, underlies all apparent phenomena: the void from which all apparent phenomena arise, and into which all apparent phenomena subside from moment to moment. All things change in the long term, and all things change even in the short term. Nothing has any real substance. Thoughts, feelings, sense-perceptions and even the sense of 'I' that we all have are illusory. At base, there is sunyata, or voidness.

It's also important to remember at this time that we don't want to get too attached to the idea of 'the observer': 25% is about right: the fact that we reserve 50% of our consciousness for some kind of awareness of sunyata should underline the fact that even the perspective gained from observing ourselves closely can be limited insofar as it may be a limited, or dualistic, perspective.

Be fully present in the moment, here and now.

If a thought arises, you could say 'there is a thought'. If a feeling arises, you could say 'there is a feeling'. If looking arises, you could say 'there is looking'. If hearing arises, you could say 'there is hearing'. And gently bring yourself back.

You are sense-perceptions, thoughts and feelings, and you are the observer. You are also the ground of being, the Buddha-mind in which all these things have their basis. Be aware of the gaps between your thoughts, the gaps between your feelings, the gaps between different sense-perceptions.

Remain in this state of mindfulness.

When you are ready, prepare to come out of the meditation.

Make an 'intention', explicit to yourself, by way of sealing the energy of this meditation in your being, so that it can be used in ways that you feel good about. (See Opening And Closing A Meditation.)

In your own time, come out of the meditation.

by Richard Ebbs

Link: Meditation

Category: Meditations and reflections

Tradition: Buddhism

· meditation · Dzogchen · daily · spiritual practice · Richard Ebbs · mindfulness

Zazen meditation

 Zazen is the classic Zen meditation. (Perhaps deceptively) sometimes described as 'sitting quietly doing nothing'. A common practise among Japanese Zen Buddhist monks and nuns.

 

It's traditional to sit in the lotus or half-lotus posture here, (see Posture) but if this is uncomfortable for you then sit in a straight-backed chair.

Your hands should rest in the lap, with the both hands palm uppermost, and the left hand resting on the right hand. The tips of the thumbs should be lightly touching each other.

Make sure your spine is straight. Push your lower back forward slightly and expand your chest while making sure your head is upright. Gently move from side to side until you find the balance point that is most comfortable.

Keep your eyes open just a tiny bit ('neither open nor closed') and look at the floor a few feet in front of you. Breathe in and out through your nose, keeping your mouth shut and the tongue resting gently against the roof of the mouth.

Take a few deep breaths, exhaling all of the air in your lungs each time, and then let your breathing find it's own natural deep rhythym, without force of any kind.

Watch the breath. When the mind wanders, gently bring it back again to that simple awareness. Be still. Relax. Be easy on yourself. Don't judge yourself harshly. Just keep the attention on your breathing, and when the mind wanders, just gently bring it back again.

Be here now. Engage fully in the moment. Breathe, and be fully, vitally present.

When you choose to come out of the meditation, first come back to a full sense of being engaged in all of your body. Then gently move your your upper body around in small arcs before stretching your legs out. Don't stand up too soon if your legs are stiff!

by Richard Ebbs

Link: Meditation

Category: Meditations and reflections

Tradition: Buddhism

· meditation · relaxation · daily · spiritual practice · Richard Ebbs · Zazen · sitting

If you have a glass full of liquid you can discourse forever on its qualities, discuss whether it is cold, warm, whether it is really and truly composed of H2O, or even mineral water, or sake. Meditation is drinking it!

~ Taisen Deshimaru

Link: Wikiquote

Category: Quotations

Tradition: Buddhism

· meditation · Buddhism · Zen

 Religions remain what they are. Zen is meditation. Meditation is the foundation of every religion. People today feel an intense need to go back to the source of religious life, to the pure essence in the depths of themselves which they can discover only through actually experiencing it. They also need to be able to concentrate their minds in order to find the highest wisdom and freedom, which is spiritual in nature, in their efforts to deal with the influences of every description imposed upon them by their environment. Human wisdom alone is not enough, it is not complete. Only universal truth can provide the highest wisdom. Take away the word Zen and put Truth or Order of the Universe in its place.

~ Taisen Deshimaru

Link: Wikiquote

Category: Quotations

Tradition: Buddhism

· meditation · Buddhism · Zen · truth · wisdom

The Community Meditation Center

Located on Manhattan's upper west side, and with a relaxed and comfortable atmosphere, the CMC offers classes, Insight Meditation (Vipassana) instruction and practice, daylong retreats, workshops, and social events.

Link: The Community Meditation Center

Category: Recommended websites

Tradition: Buddhism

· insight · meditation · vipassana · retreats · Buddhist

How to meditate

 On this website you can learn the basics of Buddhist meditation. A few books are mentioned that will help you to deepen your understanding if you wish to explore further. Anyone can benefit from the meditations given here, Buddhist or not. We hope that you find this website useful and that you learn to enjoy the inner peace that comes from meditation.

Link: How to meditate

Category: Recommended websites

Tradition: Buddhism

· meditation · daily · spiritual practice · Buddhism

Loving kindness meditation

Many Buddhist traditions practice Metta Bhavana, or loving kindness meditation. (Metta means loving-kindness.) The meditation is in several stages (the classic version has five). At each stage, silently recite a mantra, linked to the breath. The first line is said on the inbreath, the second on the outbreath, and so on.

Link: Read more about Loving Kindness Meditation

Category: Spiritual practices

Tradition: Buddhism

· Metta Bhavana · meditation · mindfulness · loving kindness · relaxation

Mindfulness

Walk in the woods or any quiet place and focus on noticing everything that is coming to you through all of your senses. Notice the sights, sounds, and smells you encounter as you walk along. Feel the air on your skin and your feet on the ground. When you notice your attention has shifted to something outside of the present moment, gently bring it back. Be present in your daily chores. For example, do the washing up while focusing on nothing but the dishes, the water, the soap and your actions. Do art, such as drawing or painting. Be present to this activity and, if you notice your mind wandering, gently bring your thoughts back to the present moment and what you are doing.

Category: Spiritual practices

Tradition: Buddhism

· meditation · daily · spiritual practice · mindfulness

What is flapping?

Four monks were meditating in a monastery. All of a sudden the prayer flag on the roof started flapping.

The younger monk came out of his meditation and said: "Flag is flapping."

A more experienced monk said: "Wind is flapping."

A third monk who had been there for more than 20 years said: "Mind is flapping."

The fourth monk, who was the eldest, said: "Mouths are flapping!"  

Link: FreeSangha Buddhist Forum

Category: Spirituality humour

Tradition: Buddhism

· humour · spirituality · Buddhism · meditation · Zen

Silence

Two monks were sitting in a cave. One was silent. The other one said, ‘I could have done that’.

Link: Sujato's blog

Category: Spirituality humour

Tradition: Buddhism

· humour · spirituality · Buddhism · silence · meditation

Slow

The day after completing a 9 day Vipassana retreat, Dave turns up for work at Taronga Zoo. Seeing how chilled out Dave is, the head keeper puts him in charge of the tortoise enclosure. Dave slow walks over to the cages. At lunch time, the head keeper checks on Dave only to see the cage door wide open and all the tortoises gone! “What happened?”
“Well”, said Dave very slowly, “I opened the tortoise cage door and it was, like, Whoosh!” 

Link: Sujato's blog

Category: Spirituality humour

Tradition: Buddhism

· humour · spirituality · Buddhism · meditation · vipassana

The Prophet

by Kahlil Gibran

Category: Recommended books

Tradition: Christianity

· poem · poetry · Kahlil Gibran · meditations · reflections · philosophy

Centring prayer

Many people do not believe in a personal God or in miraculous interventions, so we find it difficult to pray. But prayer is not just about asking for things. It can be contemplative. It can be about communing silently with the universe, or self-examination, or holding loved ones in your thoughts, or increasing mindfulness. Centring prayer is a spiritual practice that was developed by Christians in response to interfaith dialogue with Buddhists.

Link: Read more about Centring Prayer

Category: Spiritual practices

Tradition: Christianity

· centring · centering · Christian · Buddhist · contemplation · meditation · interfaith

Lectio Divina

Lectio divina has four steps: reading, meditation, prayer and contemplation. The reading stage involves critical engagement with the text, analysing its meanings and metaphors. The meditation stage involves dwelling on the images that particularly resonate with you. This could be developed into a visualisation or journey into the scene described.

Link: Read more about Lectio Divina

Category: Spiritual practices

Tradition: Christianity

· Christian · contemplation · meditation · reading · lectio divina

Grounding and centring

Many rituals begin with this simple practice, especially Pagan circles. It comes from the Taoist tradition originally, I think. There are several different versions of it.

Its purpose is to allow you to feel connected to the Earth (grounded), not floating away into fantasy-world, not obsessing about the past or the future, but being present in the now. The centring part of the practice allows you to feel connected to the cosmos and the four sacred directions, which are associated with the elements.

Begin by focusing on your breathing. Don't breathe in any special way, just notice how your breath comes in and out of your nostrils, and how your belly rises and falls.

As you breathe in and out, feel your feet planted firmly on the ground. Relax your hips and your knees and imagine a thread extending from the top of your head to the centre of the sky (this helps to align your spine with the axis of the Earth).

Imagine that your feet are tree roots, and extend your roots deep into the earth. Your roots push down into the earth, through the rich soil, finding their way among rocks, and down deep into the molten core of the Earth. As you breathe out, extend your roots; as you breathe in, draw up energy from deep within the Earth.

As the energy makes its way into your body, draw it up through your legs and feel it gathering and pooling in your solar plexus. Note the colour of the energy.

Now extend a tendril of energy up your spine. Imagine that your spine is the trunk of a tree, and extend your aura at the top of your head, growing branches. Extend your branches up into the sky, beyond the atmosphere, and reach for the energy of the starlight. As you breathe out, extend your branches; as you breathe in, draw the energy down from above. Feel it gathering and pooling in your solar plexus, mingling with the energy from below.

Now draw energy from both above and below at the same time, and let the energies mingle in your solar plexus. As you breathe in, draw in the energy from above and below; as you breathe out, feel it spiralling and swirling.

Now allow the energy to fill your whole body, extending out to your feet, your fingertips, the top of your head. Feel how you are aligned with the cosmic axis.

Now acknowledge the four directions: North for Earth, representing the body, sensation, physicality, and structure; East for Air, representing intellect, thought, inspiration and breath; South for Fire, representing passion, intuition, and spirit; and West for Water, representing emotion, the Moon, dreams, and the blood that flows in your veins.

by Yvonne Aburrow

Link: UK Spirituality blog

Category: Spiritual practices

Tradition: Eclectic Pagan

· Wicca · Pagan · meditation · Taoist · grounding · centring · centering

The Association of Spiritual Retreats

The global resource for some of the best holistic treatments worldwide

Link: The Association of Spiritual Retreats

Category: Recommended websites

Tradition: Eclectic spirituality

· retreat · meditation · spirituality · holistic

Meditation

Sit quietly and comfortably keeping your back straight if possible. Focus your intention gently on your breathing. Do this for a few minutes a day at first and then keep extending the time. Do not worry when your attention wanders and thoughts intrude. When you notice this, simply draw your attention back to your breathing. This is the basis of meditation practice.

Category: Spiritual practices

Tradition: Multiple traditions

· meditation · daily · spiritual practice · Buddhism

Making a mandala

The idea of the mandala comes from Hindu and Buddhist tradition. In its most developed form, the mandala is a diagram of the inner world. Tibetan Buddhist sand mandalas depict temples and palaces where particular Buddhas dwell, and pathways between them. A sand mandala is carefully and painstakingly constructed by pouring sand through special pointy tubes onto a surface, and after a certain amount of time, the sand is swept up and poured out as a blessing into a river, or given away to pilgrims.

Mandalas can also be drawn or painted. Carl Gustav Jung (the psychoanalyst) drew mandalas representing his inner states, and encouraged his clients to do the same. Other Jungians also did this. Drawing a mandala can be a very satisfying experience  it doesnt have to be great art; its the process of creating a picture of your inner world that is important. You can also make mandalas from seeds, pebbles or shells.

Once you have created your mandala, you can use it as a focus for meditation, following the patterns you have created, or meditating on the meaning of the symbols within the mandala.

by Yvonne Aburrow

Link: UK Spirituality blog

Category: Spiritual practices

Tradition: Multiple traditions

· Buddhist · everyday spirituality · Hindu · mandalas · meditation · spiritual practices ·

            Next 20 results »