martes, 11 de julio de 2017

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Explore Two Meditation Courses Starting Aug 1!


The Journey and the Guide: A Practical Course in Enlightenment
(Aug 1 - Sep 26)

How do we make the most of life? This course is for anyone who wants their life to be a journey. With humor and profundity, mixing poetry and myth with down-to earth instruction, Maitreyabandhu — a well-known Buddhist teacher and a prize-winning poet — describes what it means to set out on the Buddha’s journey and how you can follow it, day by day and week by week.

This course leads participants step by step along the Buddhist path from mindfulness and emotional strength to receptivity, spiritual death and rebirth. On the course we will be learning how to put spiritual life into practice here and now.
Course participants will receive a discounted copy of Maitreyabandhu's new book "The Journey and the Guide" as part of the course.

Letting Go Into Joy: A Step-By-Step Guide to the Experience of Jhana
(Aug 1 - Sep 19)

This 50-day online course offers a step-by-step guide that will lead you into deep states of calm, relaxation, joy. Jhana (or dhyana) is a joyful state of focused attention that can arise in meditation. It’s what modern psychology calls a “flow state.”
Very few modern teachers are able to explain how to consistently experience this state, and so it's commonly thought of as being unattainable for all but "elite" meditators, or for those in on long and intensive retreats. None of these things are true. Jhana is doable! It can be experienced by ordinary meditators, and all that is necessary is to know the steps involved.
Join Bodhipaksa on this course, and learn how to bring greater calm and joy into your meditation practice — and your life! This event can accommodate complete beginners, but is aimed at those with an established meditation practice.
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Looking for Love

A woman I know who had recently become a mother found that she had difficulty in getting her child to settle down and go to sleep. Eventually she realized that she was communicating her anxiety to her child, so that the more she tried, the more fussy the baby became.

Fortunately she learned how to be more at ease in her new role, and found that this change in attitude was also picked up by the baby, who then became much calmer.

This has a parallel, I think, in lovingkindness (metta) practice. A common problem many people have with this form of meditation is that they don't feel the warm glow they expect to find.

So, maybe your main approach to the practice is to use phrases such as "May I be well. May I be happy. May I be free from suffering." (What I'm going to say applies to wishing others well, too, but self-metta is where we start in the practice.)

You send these messages out into your being, and you watch for a result. Maybe you're expecting some kind of warm glow to appear around the heart, or deep in the belly — some sign that the practice is working. But nothing much seems to happen.

So maybe you struggle on for a while, thinking that there's something wrong with you. Maybe you pretty much give up on doing the practice. That's a pretty rational response, actually. What's the point in continuing to do something that doesn't seem to be working?

The central problem here is that we're looking for the wrong thing, or at least we're looking for it in the wrong place. We're looking for some kind of feeling down there, in the body — in the heart, or in the belly, where we often to experience feelings connected with love.

So what's the alternative?

To describe our experience in very crude terms, when we're doing lovingkindness practice there's an "up here" that's doing the practice (that's akin to the mother), and a "down there" that we're being aware of and that we're hoping is going to respond (that's like the baby), showing us that the practice is working.

But what we're trying to develop in lovingkindness meditation is not a feeling. We're trying to develop kindness. Kindness is an attitude. It's a way of relating. So it's "up here," not "down there."

This is a bit like the problem the mother faced. Initially she was looking to the baby to relax. She was expecting the relaxation, trust, and ease to happen "down there." And actually, what she needed to do was to learn to look for those qualities "up here," in her own being, in the way she was relating to herself and her child.

It's the mother part of us that needs to change first. So if you have this problem of the practice apparently not working, ask yourself this question first: Am I being kind, right now?

And if you're not feeling kind, ask yourself this question: What could I do, right now, to show kindness? Or to put it another way, how could my attitude me more kind?

Maybe that means relaxing physically. Maybe it means smiling. Maybe it means relaxing mentally, so that we're not trying too hard, not judging ourselves for "not being good enough." Maybe it means allowing ourselves to be at ease and to be playful.

What you'll probably find is that there is a change in the feeling tone of your experience, which starts "up here" — in terms of where you're looking at your experience from. Now you're relating to yourself (and then others) in a kinder way. And just as a mother's kindness leads to her child being at ease, so our bodies begin to respond to our kindness by producing the warm glow that we think is associated with kindness. And perhaps we recognize that, valuable and pleasant as it is to have those feelings, they are just a part of the experience of kindness, and not the whole of it.
With love,
New articles on our blog

How to calm your mind, quickly and easily

by Bodhipaksa
We can use our attention in two ways: either as a flashlight or as a candle.
Flashlight attention is where we have a narrow, focused beam of awareness. We observe one aspect of our experience, and because our focus is narrow, we don’t notice much else.
A candle, unlike a flashlight, throws its light in all directions. When we use our attention in this way, we allow ourselves to be aware of everything that’s arising.

Letting happiness happen

by Bodhipaksa
The one emotion that we most commonly repress is joy.
We don’t intend to do this. Instead, it happens through inattention. Few if any of us would sense joy arising and make a conscious decision to destroy it or push it out of awareness. Few of us would refuse happiness if it were to appear. And still we repress joy all the time.
One of the principles of meditation is that it allows joy to flourish.
This is just a small selection of the great articles we published on our blog over the past month.

Visit our website to see more.

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