The Brahmaviharas Part 1 I’ve been writing about mind states and latent tendencies recently so now seems like a good point to explore the role that positive mind states can play in our practice. The Brahmaviharas are the most obvious example of these kinds of practice that focus on the deliberate cultivation of positive mind … Continue reading The Brahmaviharas – Immeasurable States of Mind
Not So Neutral
So this week I want to write about neutral feelings, and I don’t blame you if you aren’t set on fire by this idea, I wasn’t terribly taken by neutral feelings either until recently. While working with pleasant and unpleasant feelings is a routine task for a Buddhist practitioner, I have to say that neutral … Continue reading Not So Neutral
Making the Breath
The question of fabrications and intention has stayed on my radar since I wrote last week’s blog post, and I thought it might be good to delve into the subject a bit more because I have found it to be very supportive for my meditation practice. Fabrications are not all bad, it turns out. The … Continue reading Making the Breath
Are You Really Meditating?
Do you ever have moments when you wonder if you are actually meditating ‘properly’? It certainly isn't uncommon for people to occasionally speculate about their own technique; after all there is no way for anyone else to give you a second opinion on what is going on inside your own head, being a meditator requires … Continue reading Are You Really Meditating?
Play it Again, and Again
Getting a piece of music stuck in your head is a fairly common occurrence and largely unproblematic, but when you turn your mind to learning to meditate this background noise can suddenly turn into a serious distraction. Yet still this unwelcome pest can prove to be a useful guest as we learn how to deal … Continue reading Play it Again, and Again
Attention is Everything
The path seems long and complicated, and at times it can feel like the only way that any of our unskilful responses change is by being slowly ground out of us, one at a time. I won't lie to you, this is sometimes the case, but it isn't the only mechanism for change. The Buddha pointed out that there is a simple principle that we should be employing, and it so simple that it can easily be overlooked as important. But when you do some work with it, you can quickly find out how effective it can be.
The Tides of Conceiving
In the time that I have been exploring the role of choice as a crucial element of practice, it has given me a new perspective and understanding of the various skills that we develop as part of the path. As well as coming to appreciate how important it is to be able to let go … Continue reading The Tides of Conceiving
Keeping Your Routine Away From Home
Do you still meditate when you are on holiday? When you are staying in a friend's house for the weekend? When you are working away from home? Are you the diligent type that always gets a sit in or does your normal routine suffer, or does your routine go on hold until you get home? … Continue reading Keeping Your Routine Away From Home
The Incredible Smallness of Being
I used to have a lot of interesting ideas about what meditation was going to be like when I finally got the hang of it. No doubt my views were coloured by my Christian upbringing because I used to think there would be these ‘road to Damascus’ type moments when I would suddenly be overcome … Continue reading The Incredible Smallness of Being
How Bored Are Your Elbows?
It’s a strange question to ask but sometimes wondering how bored your elbows are can be a useful way to break yourself out of a negative loop and get a bit of perspective. It’s not as absurd as it sounds and it does work, not just as a distraction tactic but it also allows us … Continue reading How Bored Are Your Elbows?