Article on peace and equanimity

Article on peace and equanimity

The Thai buddhist teacher Ajahn Chah described our meditation practice as stopping the war: “We human beings are in conflict, in battle, at war with so many things: with one another, with ourselves, with our ideas, our ideals, with our wishes, with our hopes. We’re in conflict with when it’s too hot, and when it’s too cold, and how it tastes and how it sounds and how they are. Why not step off the battlefield, stop the war? Find the place of peace that’s beyond and around, that’s larger than all those conflicts. Why not live in peace?”
“The human mind can create conflict. It can also create peace. To find peace in the world, we have to find peace in ourselves.”
We will explore what it means to live with a peaceful heart, and how we can practice equanimity and peace in our formal meditation practice and in daily life.

Article on loving others (part 1)

Article on loving others (part 1)

This teaching starts to explore the practice of loving kindness for others. Loving kindness starts with the intention to be better friends to ourselves and to others. It counter acts the sense of separation and threat that come from our conditioning. It teaches us to let go of our self-judgment and critique of others, so we can be kinder. This practice usually starts with getting in touch with the love we feel for the people close to us, and then expands to include neutral people and difficult people, ending with all beings.

Learning to let go

Learning to let go

Cultivating the attitude of letting go or non-attachment is fundamental to the practice of mindfulness. But our conditioning is to hold on to things: we hold on to our experiences, the way things are supposed to be, beliefs, material goods… While we would like things to be a certain way, the reality is that change is happening all the time, and we tend to struggle with it. Our practice helps us to realize that it is okay to rest in change. We don’t have to control our experience, resist it or try and change it, we can just open and relax and let it be.

Resting in open awareness

Resting in open awareness

The practice of resting in open awareness teaches us to become conscious of witnessing all experiences that arise without becoming entangled or lost in them. Jack Kornfield calls this witnessing quality becoming “the one who knows”. It allows us to recognize our experience and then to respond wisely rather than being caught up or reacting to it, no matter what happened.
It allows us to stop identifying with our experiences and identities. We realize that we are this witnessing consciousness that can hold all our experiences.

Article on Self-Compassion (Part 2)

Article on Self-Compassion (Part 2)

This article starts with reviewing the three components of self-compassion, before presenting a few simple self-compassion practices that you can do in your day-to-day life when you encounter a difficult situation. To conclude, it exposes some of the misgivings around self-compassion in order to illustrate the actual benefits of this practice. This is based on the extensive work of Kristin Neff in the field of self-compassion.

Article on Self-compassion (part 1)

Article on Self-compassion (part 1)

Self-compassion teaches us to recognize and accept our suffering when we are going through a difficult time; it reminds us that suffering and imperfection are part of the shared human experience; and it teaches us to treat ourselves with kindness and care in response. This allows us to hold ourselves in love and connection, giving ourselves the support and comfort needed to bear the pain, while providing the optimal conditions for growth and transformation.

Mindfulness of strong sensations

Mindfulness of strong sensations

This article explores how mindfulness practices can help us work with strong sensations and pain. We will start with investigating our habitual reaction to unpleasant sensations or pain, and how this creates more suffering. This will lead us to explore how mindfulness can help us shift to a more skillful response to unpleasant sensations, which involves relating to them differently.

Bringing lovingkindness to the body

Bringing lovingkindness to the body

Last week we explored the practice of loving kindness for ourselves, and the blocks that we might experience with this practice. Today I would like to continue with an exploration of the practice of loving kindness for our body. Many of us tend to be disconnected from our bodies, and at times even hostile to our bodies. We are used to taking refuge in our mental control tower. The meditation teacher Sharon Salzberg reminds us of the healing power of re-connecting in a loving way with our body: “There is something profoundly healing about re-engaging with our bodies, remembering and re-joining who we are. Just as we need to integrate our emotions in order to love ourselves more fully, so, too, do we need to be reunited with our bodies.”

Finding happiness in the midst of life’s difficulties (part 5): Cultivating an attitude of unconditional friendliness towards oneself

Finding happiness in the midst of life’s difficulties (part 5): Cultivating an attitude of unconditional friendliness towards oneself

This article explores the practice of lovingkindness for oneself, and the possible blocks to cultivating friendliness towards oneself. We are born ready to love and be loved, it is innate, wired into our nervous system. The meditation teacher Sharon Salzberg reminds us that loving kindness meditation for ourselves is a powerful way to deepen our inner strength. “If we grow a strong sense of self-respect within ourselves, it will allow us to draw boundaries, respond to unfair treatment and join with others in a sense of common cause”.

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