Insight Meditation Australia Buddha
Insight Meditation Australia  

Profiles & Schedule

Subhana Barzaghi
Alan Bassal
Ellen Davison
Mal Huxter
Will James
Patrick Kearney
Anna Markey
Radha Nicholson
Carol Perry

Christine Thompson



Guided Meditations

insight meditation

Guided Meditation on No Preferences
Carol Perry , March 2009

A guided meditation to bring insight into how we construct dissatisfaction and suffering.

Settle into your meditation posture and become aware of the body, so that you can observe the body responses when you hear the words.

I have no preference for talking over silence.

Stay with what happens in the body as you receive these words.

I have no preference for alert over dull.

Stay with what happens in the body as you receive these words.

I have no preference for happy over sad.

Stay with the body as you receive these words.

I have no preference for calm over restlessness.

Stay with what happens in the body as you receive these words.

I have no preference for doubt over certainty.

Stay with body as you receive these words.

I understand that the basis for dissatisfaction and suffering is a fixation on appearances.

I see that preferences are the condition of the self arising, for where there are preferences there is the self that holds the preference.

You can include any preferences that you a fixating upon as an exploration of dissatisfaction and suffering.

Download printable Guided Meditation on No Preferences (24kb MSWord.doc)

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Meditating on Sound
Anna Markey

An Introduction to Meditating on Sound (to be read prior to the meditation)

Our experience is informed by our sense doors. Putting our attention onto the contact at a particular sense door can be an interesting and calming way to meditate. It can be one’s primary focus of meditation or one of many points of interest that arise during a particular sit.

This is one way of using sound as a focus for meditation.

I invite you to sit still somewhere and just listen. It doesn’t matter how much noise you hear.

Just listen.

Just listen and notice what else happens. Just listen and be with what this process brings up.

If you can’t just listen, what replaces or interferes with listening? How does this change over time? What else is happening?

Where is the sound? It may be internal or external. Where does it seem like the sound is being picked up?

Are there any preferences or movements of mind within listening? Does the attention stay with sound or does it move?

How does the body, mind or feelings respond to certain sounds? Are certain sounds accompanied by visions, labels or emotions? Does this change?

While listening is happening, is anything being missed?

These are some questions that you may ask yourself during or after the sit, if you wish.

Sometimes, questions or interests arise during the sit. Sometimes it is helpful to ask them of yourself after the sit.

Sometimes the act of listening can be relaxing, calming or unifying for the heart-mind and points of interest may not arise much at all.

Using Sound as a focus for meditation (to be read during the meditation)

Construct your usual meditation posture. Check the base, the points of contact. Belly, spine, shoulders, hands, face. Ensure you feel balanced and at ease.

Take attention to the breath, or to a place of familiarity or stillness in the body.

Once there is a sense of ease and being settled, open the attention outward to sound.

Just listen.

Be there for all sounds.

Allow the sounds to be registered. One may focus on a particular sound, or on an overlay of many. You may pick up all sounds equally, or you may have preferences. There may be responses to the sounds.

Images, labels and sensations in the body may arise. Feelings or other responses may arise.

Open up to it all.

Just listen. And be with all that arises with listening.

The sound may be internal, external or a mix.

The attention may wander… and then after a time move back.

Sounds may land on your attention, or attention may reach out for sound.

There may be no sound... just listening.

Other occurrences may take over from sound.

Just be there, receiving.


After a time, move the attention back to the body or breath or place of sitting. Open your eyes and be in the room for a time before moving.

Reflect on the experience of being with sound.

Download printable Guided Meditation on Sound (24kb MSWord.doc)

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Guided Meditation in Nature - Seeing with New Eyes
Bobbi Allan, Stillness in Action Retreats

(This meditation has been written by me, based on others’ meditations sourced from now-forgotten places)

In our daily lives our brain decodes patterns of experience into concepts that in turn shape the nature of our perceptions. Sensory data emerge up into our brain cortices’ lower levels and then are molded by secondary influences from the upper cortical layers. The cortex seems to have an innate push to sort, select and sequence bits of data to make sense of what it is experiencing, moment by moment.

The concept of self is one such molding influence of this sorting process. Under ‘normal’ conditions we continue to see self as separate, as clearly defined. But when these usual inputs and reinforcements of our top-down concepts are undone (as in meditation practice, or while being immersed in the natural world) we can begin to see more clearly that we all share a fundamental connection to each other, that we are all patterns of emergent life.

The Buddha refers to the ‘delusion of the separate self’. Albert Einstein calls this sense of separation an “optical delusion of human consciousness” that imprisons us. He says “our task must be to free ourselves from this prison by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty.”

We are born of nature. We come into the world as sensory beings; the truth of our senses is not overlaid with stories and concepts. Our most trustable truths are our immediate sensory experiences. The time you will spend in nature during this retreat will help you return to the simplicity of sensory ways of thinking and relating with which you were born. Engaging with our senses in nature is a very immediate way to connect with the truth of immediate experience.

Begin by walking around the environment in a relaxed and open way until some place or aspect of the natural world attracts you. You may feel as though, by opening to following what attracts you, you are being ‘led’ to a place. This is simply your intuitive senses coming more to the foreground than your ‘rational’ brain.

Engaging with the Senses
Once you have found 'your place' sit of stand or walk around slowly in that place. Allow your senses to fully engage with the place.

What can you feel - reach out and touch some things - do they feel soft or hard, sharp and spiky or smooth......or......? How does you body respond to the different touches? Is your sense of touch heightened if you close your eyes? (Make sure it is safe to close your eyes.)

Look around - what colours can you see.....what shapes and patterns? How does your body respond to each different thing you see?

Listen - what sounds can you hear......are they high pitched or low, far or near, rhythmic or staccato, or......? How does your body respond to each sound?

What can you smell - how would you describe each scent? How does your body respond to each different scent?

Is there anything in this place you can safely taste? Be cautious - many plants are poisonous to humans - don't taste anything unless you are quite certain it is safe to put in your mouth. If you do taste something, what sensations are there in your mouth, where in your mouth do you taste this particular does your body respond to it?

Remember that the oxygen you are breathing in is produced by the trees and plants around you, and that the carbon dioxide you are breathing out is being breathed in by the trees and plants. Spend some time in the mutual flow of breath exchange.

Now begin to notice movement. At first you might notice the movement of trees, bushes and grasses in the wind. If you are near water, you will notice the movement of the water.

Notice the changing patterns in those movements, the responsive to the wind, to the flow of water.

Now widen your awareness to include the shape of the landscape around you. Notice the shape of hills, the indents of the gullies and creek beds. They were not always this shape. They have been moving, dancing with wind, water and sunlight for millennia - changing shapes and patterns in response to upheavals deep in the earth, to extremes of hot and cold, to the rise and fall of sea levels, to shifting weather patterns. Probably where you are sitting now was once under water, or may have been part of a mountain range, or once covered in ice.

The shape of the land has been influencing the weather patterns and flow of water, which in turn determine where the trees will grow tallest and thickest, where the grass will be lush or sparse, where animals and humans will build their houses.

Bring your awareness back to the movement around you - the wind in the trees and grass, perhaps the flow of water. Notice the movement of light, the shortening or lengthening of the shadows, or the changing light as clouds cross the sky. You may also notice the movement of birds or insects or other animals. Perhaps your clothes or hair are moving in the wind. Notice movement inside yourself - your heartbeat, small movements of your body.

Perhaps you may begin to make small deliberate movements, in response to the movements in and around you. Perhaps you will find yourself dancing.

Perhaps you will simply continue to sit still, dancing invisibly with life.

Playing with Perspective
Try playing with shifting your perspective. Focus on an object at eye height, about five to ten meters in front of you – perhaps a tree trunk or a leaf. For a minute or so, use a sharp focus so the object is in the foreground and other things are background. Then shift focus so that the ‘background’ is the focus and the ‘object’ less important. After a while, look around again with a ‘sharp focus’, honing in on specific things, as though you were ‘spotlighting’ them. Then shift again, to a ‘soft focus’, getting an impression of the whole scene.

(You might consider what sort of ‘gaze’ one uses most in life and in meditation. Gently recall something you experienced in one of your (indoor) sitting meditations. Then consciously ask yourself “What else was happening? What else was around the edges, or in the back-ground?” In meditation play with ‘sharp’ and ‘soft’ focus in exploring thoughts. If you find yourself intently focused on a particular experience – you might gently enquire, “What else is happening?” Consider that when an experienced tracker is tracking an animal or plant they are mainly using soft focus. Sharp focus and soft focus both have their place. Experiment with both so you can skillfully use both.)

Big Sky Seeing – this works best if you have an expansive view to some distance
Let your gaze become very soft and somewhat unfocused. Allow the edges of your vision to extend sideways, upward and downward, so that you are taking in as much of the scene around you as possible - as though you have vista-vision. Remember to let the gaze be unfocused, the eyes soft and relaxed.

Now begin to imagine that conscious awareness is actually infusing and filling the entire area that you are seeing. The space of pure, clear knowing has expanded in all directions to become as large as the expanse of your vision.

After holding that impression for a few minutes, begin to sense that conscious awareness also exists behind, above and beneath you, beyond the area of your vision. Conscious awareness is now encompassing the space all around you. Conscious awareness has become identical with that space, receiving and knowing all objects and phenomena that appear and disappear within its expanse.

Within this space you can feel your body and breath, and be aware of thoughts or sounds - all of it arising in this big space of conscious awareness. Any movement - inside you or outside of you - any sound - inside you or outside of you - is taking place within the Big Sky of mind. Is there a distinction between ‘inside’ and ‘outside’?

The inner,
What is it?
If not intensified sky,
hurled through with birds
and deep with the winds of homecoming.

Download printable Guided Meditation in Sound (44kb MSWord.doc)

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Mindfulness of the rising and falling of the breath
Mal Huxter

Listen to these instructions and use them to help develop mindfulness of the movement of the breath

Loosen up any tight clothing or other constrictions

Allow yourself to be as comfortable as you can either lying face up or preferably sitting on a chair or cushion.

When you sit ensure that your back, neck and head is upright and straight in a dignified and relaxed posture.

Make the resolve that, for the next 20 or so minutes, you will endeavour not to fidget or move unnecessarily.

Also make the resolve that for the period of this exercise you will not be too concerned about future goals or anything other than being here now and bringing your attention to the primary object of your attention.

If you wish you can close your eyes or if they remain open let their focus be diffuse. Begin by bringing attention to your body as a whole, lying or sitting there and be with your body and its physical sensations. As you bring attention to your body let go of tightness and allow physical relaxation to occur. If you wish, you can briefly let awareness scan throughout your body finding tension and letting it go. You can also be aware of your breath in general and with every out breath it is as if your body relaxes and lets go of tension. With every out breath your body seems to become more and more relaxed yet, if you are sitting, you are able to maintain a dignified and upright posture.

As you let go of tension it is as if awareness of bodily experience becomes clearer and sharper. As your awareness becomes clearer notice the movement of your breath in your body. As best you can, be aware of the movement as physical sensations in your abdomen. If you can’t feel the movement in your abdomen be attentive to the movement in your chest. You may also feel the movement in both your chest and your abdomen.

Do not force your focus, rather let your mind be open and sensitive to what is happening. As you relax into awareness your mind naturally becomes more focused or concentrated. The breath is not forced in any way neither purposely slowing it down nor hastening it up. Allow the breath to be natural. It may be short, or long, shallow or deep. Whatever the nature of the breath, acknowledge it as it is and let it be. Let your self be accepting of the breath as it is without judgement that it should be other than the way that it is.

Do not be concerned if thoughts, emotions, sounds or other experiences pull your attention away from your breath. Acknowledge these experiences let them be and let them pass away. Do not struggle with anything. When they pass away merely bring awareness back to the breath. Let the breath be your anchor. If it seems as if many experiences are occurring at once allow your mind to be open and receptive. However, let the movement of the breath in your chest and or abdomen be your primary focus and other experiences be on the periphery of your open awareness. Sharpen your aim and as best you can be notice the entire process of the breath. Paying steady attention to the beginning middle and end of the rising movement and the beginning middle and end of the falling movement.

As the abdomen rises you can note or say to your self “rising”.. As the abdomen falls you can note “falling”. If there seems to be gaps in the breath at the beginning or end of each movement bring your knowing awareness attention to a touch point, such as the sensations in your buttocks or legs as they connect with the base of your cushion or chair. Be with those experiences in open and concentrated manner, and note these experiences according. You could note “touching” “touching” or “pressure” “pressure” or whatever seems to be appropriate.
Let your attention be consistent on a moment to moment basis staying and being with each and every subtle nuance with a curious and open mind. Sometimes it may feel as if the breath is just a flutter far off in the distance. Other times it may feel as if the changing sensations are up close and like an enormous drum skin stretching backwards and forwards. The sensations may be tight and hard or they may be long and stretching. Whatever the experience allow it to be… with an open, curious, kind and accepting mind. Stay with, meet and join these experiences directly and powerfully. As you meet and greet the experience of you breath in an open and accepting manner is as if the experience of the breath and the knowing of the breath are not separate. The knowing or the breath and the experience of the breath are one. There is only now and this experience.

There is just one breath at a time. If your mind goes of into the future or back into the past notice and if you want you can note it as “thinking thinking” or “remembering remembering” and then come back to NOW. Being connected and anchored with one breath at a time.

Just one breath, here now.

Rising falling rising falling.

Being here, being whole with the breath. Just one breath at a time, with an open yet a focused mind joining and connecting mind and body.

Just this. Here now. Being with the breath your body may become relaxed your mind may become very peaceful. Your mind and body can become connected and integrated. Your experience is whole, here and now.

You may choose to continue being present with your breath or you may now choose to change your posture and go about your daily activities.

If you choose to go about your daily activities do so attentively and with clear comprehension of the purpose and suitability of your actions. Be with and participate with your daily activities with graceful commitment. At times throughout the day or in the future you can be mindful of your breath. In this way mindfulness of breath can be an anchor back to the present moment and the freedom that can be found here and now. Slowly open your eyes, if they are closed, stretch your body and participate with the world in a wise and mindful manner.

Download printable Mindfulness of the rising and falling of the breath (28kb MSWord.doc)

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Guided Meditation on Three Kinds of Joy
Ellen Davison

In the Buddhist teachings there are three kinds of Joy. These can be cultivated to bring a deeper sense of joy to one’s life.

Pamojja is a gladness or delight which arises when we cultivate wholesome mind states such as generosity, love, compassion, sincerity, kindness and leading an ethical life. This kind of joy also arises when we receive something unexpected such as a gift or some type of award or recognition. This type of joy is likened to a breeze blowing across a lake causing gentle ripples.

Sukkha is a joy arises from within. It is a happiness that comes from concentration and calmness of mind. It is often experienced in meditation retreats or as a spontaneous arising of happiness. The simile that is used to describe sukkha is that of an artesian spring where the underground water bubbles up from deep within and overflows into a deep well or pond.
Mudita is one of the Four Divine Abodes and as such is boundless. It is the happiness and joy we feel for the success of others.

This guided meditation uses imagery to evoke past situations where you have experienced a situation that brings joy. Remembering can be as potent as the actual experience. To begin, place the attention on the breath. Stay with each breath fully and completely until you feel calm and settled then read or have someone read these meditations to you. Inhabit each one fully and deeply. Allow a few minutes of calm focussed concentration on the breath between each meditation.

Meditations on Opening to Joy
Let a time come into your awareness when you received a gift you were delighted to get but had not expected. It may have been your birthday or some other occasion. Remember how you felt: happiness, delight, joy or another positive feeling. Let your being fill with these remembered feelings.

Bring to mind a time when you were generous. Perhaps it was a gift to a friend or to someone in need, to a charity, a gift of money, time, or friendship, or a smile to someone. The Buddha said take gladness and inspiration from the fact of your generosity. Notice the joy you felt, the happiness you experienced. Notice the feeling of well-being.

Remember a time when you were kind to someone, an act of kindness. Inhabit that experience. Feel the joy in that experience, in that act of kindness. Feel the joy of kindness.
Now remember a time when you had actually experienced letting go of something you had been holding on to. It could be a situation, a person, or an opinion or view. Something you actually let go of. Perhaps you can experience the sense of relief that followed this letting go. And then the happiness that followed, the freedom you felt.

Now let a time into your awareness of an insight you have had. It could be an insight into an aspect of oneself or into the teachings of the Dharma, perhaps during a retreat or after a retreat or in daily life. Something you saw clearly, with different eyes. And let yourself connect again with the joy and happiness that came with that insight and clarity.

Reflect on a person or situation in your life that you are grateful for. Invite an image of that person or situation into your awareness. Fully experience this gratitude in your heart and in your body and mind. Feel the energy of gratefulness.

Now open to a time when you felt joy in the success of a friend or family member. Remember how wonderful you felt for your friend. How you shared their delight in their own happiness. Notice the feelings of joy within you.

And lastly, open to an appreciation of your life with all its joys and sorrows. Let whatever arises be there. There is room for everything in your life. Allow yourself to experience feelings of gratitude towards yourself for all that you have done in your life for both yourself and others. Allow this appreciation to arise and be here. I invite you to experience gratitude for all your successes and for all your failures which are just stepping stones to greater wisdom and compassion. And now allow yourself to open to and feel love and gratitude to others who have helped you on your journey.

To end this meditation slowly return to the breath and sit quietly for awhile being aware of the inbreath and the outbreath.

Download printable Guided Meditation on Three Joys (32kb MSWord.doc)

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