“When meditation is mastered, the mind is unwavering like the flame of a lamp in a windless place”
Bhagavad Gita, 6:19
There is a Zen story I once heard about a professor who went to visit a monk to seek wisdom. The professor explained to the monk who he was, and went into elaborate details about his education, his knowledge, his accomplishments. He went on and on about himself to the monk. Finally, the monk politely interrupted the professor and asked him if he would like some tea. The professor accepted and continued to speak about his background. As the professor spoke, the monk set out the tea and began pouring. He poured the tea and filled the cup to the brim. He then continued to pour, until the cup overflowed, spilling onto the saucer, to the table, and onto the floor! The startled professor jumped up and said “What are you doing?”
“This cup,” the monk replies, “is very much like your mind. It doesn’t have room for anything else because it is already full.”
It is hard to engage fully with the world when the mind is filled with distractions. Through meditation practice, we can learn to clear out the mind, and to be more present. With meditation we begin to cultivate such qualities as clarity, tranquility, improved concentration and focus without the cloudy distractions and stories our mind typically produces. The practice of meditation can reduce tension and promote relaxation, improved concentration and overall well being. There are many different forms of meditation–chanting, mantra, sitting, asana, mandala, walking, singing, silence, shouting, laughing, even washing the dishes! Over the next few months at HYL we will explore various practices in meditation where you will experience a variety of techniques and options for beginning a practice or inspiring an existing one!
Questions for reflection……
What percentage of your life do you think you live in the present moment – without a wondering mind?
Do you find yourself becoming easily distracted? How do you re-focus your attention?
How would your life be different if you were able to maintain a one-pointed focus in your daily activities (eg. your relationships, your job, your driving)?
What would your life be like if you completed all of your tasks?
At what point(s) in your day do you experience silence? How does it make you feel?
Mini Meditation practice…..
As you read these words, adjust your posture so that you feel comfortable.
Begin to focus on the sound of your breath.
Once you connect with your breath, begin to count, as you take 5 deep breaths.
After your 5 breaths, continue to take gentle, smooth breaths as you think of a quality about yourself that you love (examples- thoughtfulness, humour).
Read the following instructions and then allow your eyes to close softly as you continue your meditation.
Place your hands palms down on your lap. Take 10 rounds of breath (one round equals a complete inhale and a complete exhale). Use your fingers to keep “count” of your breaths. Each time you exhale in the round–say to yourself the quality about yourself that you love! Example- Inhale…Exhale….thoughtfulness (1). Inhale… Exhale…. thoughtfulness (2), and so on. When you get to 10, turn your hands palms up, take a deep inhale and exhale repeating the quality, making it an offering. Feeling this quality float off into the world and sharing it with others. When you are finished, open your eyes, and smile.
Now let your eyes close and begin your meditation!