Mindfulness and Loving Kindness Meditation

Venue and time:  Sunday April 3, 2016, 7:45 pm – 9:00 pm, Moksha Yoga, London Ontario, Canada.
Schedule:  Meditation 7:00 pm to 7:30 pm with a loving kindness component. Break for chat and tea 7:30 – 7:45 pm roughly; 7:45 – 9:00 pm; Discussion on the topic Mindfulness and Loving Kindness. This will also include a Loving Kindness meditation. Participants are welcome to either or both of these events.

Wishing our loved ones well is natural and easy for most of us.  Mindfulness takes this further, extending this to those we may not know well, to those we dislike and all beings including ourselves.  Such loving kindness may seem  in conflict with a key goal of mindfulness, that of direct insight into and awareness of reality.

And who has not felt a twinge of satisfaction when an enemy experiences difficulty?  Acceptance of reality, in all its aspects both easy and difficult, is a key aspect of Buddhism and Mindfulness.  The practice of loving kindness meditation, and bringing it to all, can dramatically and subtly lessen our own internal conflicts and obstacles, dissolving anger that causes so much suffering.

Suggested exercises to prepare for the evening.

You might want to listen to Imee Ooi’s beautiful loving kindness song (the translation is shown in the video):

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S5JAVk3Qwi8

Mark William’s loving kindness meditation:

Mindah-Lee Kumar’s loving kindness meditation:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F_4aRznxXkI

As the above illustrate, the range and variety of loving kindness meditations, is wide and wonderful. I suggest you also start creating your own loving kindness meditation, perhaps using aspects of the above meditations, that appeal to you.  Part of our Sunday discussion will be to give some practical help in designing your own meditation.

Imperfections – Mindfully embracing our flaws

Venue and time:   Sunday March 20, 2016, 7:45 pm – 9:00 pm, Moksha Yoga, London Ontario, Canada.

Schedule:   Meditation 7:00 pm to 7:30 pm. Break for chat and tea 7:30 – 7:45 pm roughly; 7:45 – 9:00 pm; Discussion on the topic: Imperfections – Mindfully embracing our flaws. Participants are welcome to either or both of these events.

When you make a mistake, do you dwell on it and how to avoid it in the future?  Perhaps you’re also reluctant to ask for help, admit mistakes, or berate yourself for errors.  If this sounds like you, you might well be a perfectionist. Perfectionism is the setting of impossible goals, and comes at a high cost.  It pervades our culture, in which ideals of perfection used in advertising that deeply affect our aspirations.  It is characterized by an unrealistic view of self.   The discussion will be accompanied by an audio lecture on this topic, by Dr. Mark Muesse, who specializes in Asian religions and traditions, and mindfulness.   We may even recognize our own perfectionism, and resolve to eliminate it.  However this is a flawed approach as we are again trapped in another kind of perfectionism, that of self-improvement!   We will discuss the mindful approach to this problem, where we embrace our imperfections.

Wabi-Sabi-pot3

Suggested exercise to prepare for the evening:  Do an activity just for the joy of it, with no expectation of how well you do it.  Enjoy!

 

Mindfulness and Compassion

Venue and time: Sunday March 6, 2016, 7:45 pm – 9:00 pm, Moksha Yoga, London Ontario, Canada.

Schedule: Meditation 7:00 pm to 7:30 pm (with a compassion component). Break for chat and tea 7:30 – 7:45 pm roughly; 7:45 – 9:00 pm; Discussion on the topic Mindfulness and Compassion. This will also include a short meditation involving  compassion. Participants are welcome to either or both of these events. Also shown during the discussion will be a 17 minute video of a presentation by compassion and mindfulness researcher and author Shauna Shapiro.

Mindfulness is the awareness that arises out of intentionally paying attention in an open, kind and discerning way. The practise of mindfulness is aided by curiosity, warmth, and compassion. Mindfulness significantly increases compassion or empathy for others. How does this happen? What we practise becomes stronger. Through moment to moment awareness we strengthen ability to become compassionate with ourselves and others.  When we are scared or hurried our natural compassion does not come out.

Mindfulness promotes compassion, by helping us see that we are all connected. Then we naturally help each other. Compassion naturally arises when we see our interdependence. Being compassionate is not the same as pity. Instead it’s the ability to be with suffering, and not be averse to it. You know when someone says, how they are, and they are not well or experiencing difficulties, and secretly you think “Glad its not me!”. Being compassionate means bringing empathy, not aversion, or attachment, to even those we may even not like. It is often most difficult to bring compassion to ourselves.

Suggested exercise to prepare for the evening:  You might want to listen a meditation by Shauna Shapiro at the meditations link at her website:

http://www.drshaunashapiro.com

You might also try Mark Muesse’s Just like me, exercise. When you are frustrated by some one, then say to yourself, Just like me, realizing that you have done the same thing. And bring compassion to the person and situation. Practise bringing compassion, without aversion or attachment, but with curiosity and a warm heart.