Guided Meditation on No Preferences - Carol Perry
Meditating on Sound - Anna Markey
Mindfulness of the rising and falling of the breath - Mal Huxter
Guided Meditation on Three Kinds of Joy - Ellen Davison
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.
Meditation_No_Preferences (24kb MSWord.doc)
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 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.
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.
Meditating_on_Sound (24kb MSWord.doc)
Mindfulness of the rising and falling of the breath
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.
Mindfulness of the breath (28kb MSWord.doc)
Guided Meditation on Three Kinds of Joy
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.
Meditation on Three Joys (32kb MSWord.doc)