“How Sharon Salzberg Found Real Happiness” from Lion’s Roar

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Sharon Salzberg knows suffering. At age nine, she was dressed in her Halloween ballerina costume, watching Nat King Cole on television, when something went horribly wrong. Her mother started bleeding violently and was whisked away amid the panic of flashing ambulance lights. That was the last time Salzberg saw her mother, who died two weeks later.

Salzberg was sent to live with her grandparents, and when she was eleven her estranged father appeared—a troubled, dishevelled stranger who told her, “You have to be tough to survive life.” Six weeks later, he overdosed on sleeping pills, and for the second time, Salzberg watched her parent being rushed away by ambulance. Her father was never to function outside of the mental health system again.

The adults in her life never talked about loss or grief, and Salzberg learned that silence meant safety. Little did Salzberg know that someday, plunging into the heart of her suffering would be her greatest teacher—and make her the renowned Buddhist teacher she is today.

— Lindsay Kyte in Lion’s Roar

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“A 3-Minute Mindfulness Practice to Ground You in the Moment” with Zindel Segal

So what exactly is going on in the 3MBS. At one level, if you’re in the middle of an automatic, or multitasking moment, there is a place that you can move your mind to that allows you to step out of these routines and the the demands they place on our attention. Simply sitting down and allowing your attention to move in these different ways can be quite beneficial throughout the day.

 

But what exactly is going on with our attention? The 3MBS as we’ve designed it really is a lot about moving attention in specific ways to help us free ourselves or to get unstuck from some of these automatic routines.

 

In the space of about 3 minutes we go from wide, to narrow, to wide again.

 

This happens in the configuration, if you will of an hourglass, which can be seen as having a wide opening, a very narrow neck, and a wide base.

 

These are metaphors to describe the movement of attention. And the movement of attention is one of the things that I believe is really helpful about the 3MBS. Because when we’re caught in multitasking, or automatic routines, often our attention is not really available to us, and it’s not really being guided or directed by our intentionality.

 

So, these are some of the speculations, my own ideas, about how to 3MBS is helpful. The important thing is that if you do find it helpful just continue to practice it and figure out, maybe from the inside, how it continues to bring value and grounding in your own life.

 

Via Mindful.org

“The Three-Minute Breathing Space Practice” with Zindel Segal

We designed the 3-Minute Breathing Space as a practice for approaching experience from two attentional lenses, both narrow and wide.

 

There are three steps to the practice:

  1. Attend to what is. The first step invites attending broadly to one’s experience, noting it, but without the need to change what is being observed.
  2. Focus on the breath. The second step narrows the field of attention to a single, pointed focus on the breath in the body.
  3. Attend to the body. The third step widens attention again to include the body as a whole and any sensations that are present.

 

We wanted to create a sort of choreography of awareness that emphasized shifting attention, checking in, and moving on. Accordingly, each step of the Three-Minute Breathing Space is roughly one minute in length. Perhaps because of this flexibility and real-world focus, the Three-Minute Breathing Space is one of the most durable practices utilized by participants well after MBCT has ended.

 

 

via Mindful.org

Gratitude Meditation by Rick Hanson

There really is so much to be thankful for.

 

I am grateful to my friends. For their good qualities, for the good things they have done for me. For the ways they are fun, for the good times we’ve had.

 

I am grateful for my children – if I have any – for the delight and love they bring, for the sweet smell of their hair and the soft touch of their skin. For the first time they smiled at me or walked into my arms. For the meaning they bring to life. For receiving my love and lessons. For being their own persons, for giving me their own love and lessons. Having them at all is a miracle, and the rest is details.

 

I appreciate myself. For the love I have given to others, for all the conversations had, for all the helpful acts toward others, for all the dishes done. For the long hours I’ve worked, the hoops I’ve jumped through to keep all those balls up in the air. For the efforts I’ve made, the many times I’ve stayed patient, the many times I’ve found more to give inside when I thought I was empty.

 

I appreciate my lovers and mates, past and present. I can focus on one of these persons, perhaps my spouse or mate if I’m currently in a relationship, and bring to mind the ways he or she has been good to me. I appreciate the fun we’ve had together, the humor and the companionship. I feel grateful for the times of support, understanding, and sympathy. For sweating and suffering too.

 

I feel thankful for the life I’ve already had, for the good parts of my childhood, for everything I’ve learned, for good friends and beautiful sights. For the roof over my head and the bread on my table, for being able to have a life that is healthier, longer, and freer than most people have ever dreamed of. For this beautiful world, where each breath is a gift of air, each dawn a gift of light. For the plants and animals that die so I may live. For the extraordinary gifts of evolution I carry in each cell of my body, for the capabilities accumulated during three and a half billion years of life’s presence on our planet.

 

I feel thankful for the wonder of the universe, for all the atoms in my body—the carbon in my bones, the oxygen and iron in my blood—that were born in the heart of a star billions of years ago, to drift through space, to form a sun and planets, to form the hand that holds this piece of paper and the eye that reads this word.

 

I feel thankful for all that was in order for me to be. For grace, for wisdom, for the sacred, for spirit as I know it. For this moment, this breath, this sight. For every good thing that was, that is, that ever will be.

— from Rick Hanson, A Meditation on Gratitude

Eating by Andy Puddicombe

 

So before you begin eating, just take a moment to consider where your food has come from.

 

Where it was grown?

Where it was prepared?

Maybe where it has travelled from.

 

Just pausing — looking at the food.

And then picking the food up.

Taking the moment to smell the food.

To engage in the physical senses.

 

As you smell the food, what does it remind you of.

Does it take you to a particular place?

And then putting it the mouth.

Not chewing it as fast as possible — but just moving it around the mouth.

Noticing the taste, the flavors.

Savoring each and every moment.

No Meditation by Master Shi De Cheng

 

I will now show you the main points of Shaolin meditation.

Close your eyes and focus them on the nose.

The thoughts concentrate inwards — toward the heart.

Remove all unnecessary thought.

And think of nothing.

 

Connect both hands with one another

Mind and body become very calm.

Meditation has many advantages.

One can access the inner harmony.

Let the thoughts travel to your stomach.

 

The tongue should be resting against the palette.

Breathe in and out naturally.

Let the shoulders sink down.

Five surfaces should be facing upward.

The soles of your feet. Both palms of the hands. And the imaginary inner surface of the heart.

 

Tonglen by Pema Chödrön

 

 

So begin with just a śamatha vipassana.

 

Begin with just — listen to the gong and let your mind rest in this sense of openness and stillness.

Begin to breathe in. Completely and fully.

Taking in dark, heavy, hot feeling of claustrophobia.

Just taking it completely into your being.

Breathing out — light, cool, and refreshing.

 

Radiating it out throughout this whole room.

Across the mountains.

Letting it dissolve out all over the world.

And breathing in and out again.

Dark, heavy and hot.

 

Taking it in completely.

Breathing out light, cool, and refreshing.

Radiating it out.

360 degrees.

 

Do this until it really feels synchronized with the breath.

Heaviness, darkness coming in.

The freshness, lightness going out.

 

Take a very deep in-breath.

Relax —- an expansive out-breath.

 

Opening your being to the dark, and heavy, and painful — as you breathe in.

Just open to it as you breath in.

Then just let go and send out a sense of freshness, light.

 

Then when you feel ready, move onto a very real situation

Begin to do Tonglen for another person.

Suggesting that you do it for someone very close to you.

 

Particularly a family member.

Breathing in — with the wish that they be free of suffering — and sending them out — the wish that they have happiness and whatever would make them happy.

Breathing in— with the wish that they be free of suffering — taking in their suffering — sending out the sense of relief, spaciousness, happiness to them.

 

And then as soon as possible

Extend that further to all the people who are in the same situation as your family member.

 

If something gets in the way and this isn’t possible.

Keep this practice real by just shifting the attention and doing Tonglen with the feeling that’s blocking you.

And just breathe that in and own that feeling completely for yourself and all the other people in the same boat as you.

And breathe out relief for yourself and all the others.

 

Have a feeling of completely opening your heart and mind when you breathe in.

There’s no place for anything to get stuck.

You just open so wide as you breathe in that there’s no place for anything to get stuck.

And then just send that same openness outward.

Send it out to them.

 

 

Say this person’s name.

Visualize their face if that helps to make it more real and bring up the feelings more strongly.

 

When you hear this gong then slowly move back tośamatha vipassana,

 

Mountain Meditation by Jon Kabat-Zinn

 

 

When it comes to meditation, mountains have a lot to teach.

Having archetypal significance in all cultures.

Mountains are sacred places.

People have always sought spiritual guidance and renewal in them and among them.

 

The mountain is the symbol of the prime axis of the world.

Mount Neru.

The dwelling place of the Gods.

Mount Olympus.

And the place the spiritual leader encounters God and receives his commandments and covenant.

Mount Sinai.

 

Mountains are held sacred

Embodying dread and harmony, hardness and majesty

Rising above all else on our planet.

They beckon and overwhelm with their sheer presence

 

Their nature is elemental.

Rock. Rock hard. Rock solid.

Mountains are the place of visions.

Where one can touch the panoramic scale of the world and its intersection of life’s fragile but tenacious rootings.

 

Mountains have played key roles in our history and our pre-history.

To traditional peoples, mountains were and are still mother, father, guardian, protector, ally.

 

In meditation practice it can be helpful sometimes to borrow these wonderful archetypal qualities of mountains.

And use them to boot our intentionality and resolve.

To hold the moment with the elemental purity and simplicity.

The mountain image held in the minds eye and body can freshen our memory of why we are sitting here in the first place.

And what it truly means each time to take our seat and dwell in the realm of non-doing.

Mountains are quintessentially emblematic of abiding presence and stillness.

 

The Mountain Meditation can be practiced in the following way or modified to resonate with your personal vision of the mountain and its meaning.

It can be done in any posture.

But I find it most powerful when I’m sitting cross-legged on the floor.

So that mybody looks and feels most mountain like.

Inside and outside.

Being in the mountain  but not at all necessary.

It is the inner image which is the source of power here.

 

Picture the most beautiful mountain you know of

One that speaks personally to you.

As you …in the mind’s eye.

notice the mountain’s shape.

The steep or gently sloping sides.

Notice how massive it is.

A beauty emanating from its unique signature or form.

Mountainness.

Transcending particular shape or form.

 

Perhaps your mountain has snow at the top and trees on the lower slope.

Perhaps it has one prominent peak.

Perhaps a series of peaks and a plateau.

However it appears, just sit and breathe with the image of this mountain.

Observing it…noting its qualities.

 

When you feel ready.

See if you can bring the mountain into your own body.

Become one.

Your head becomes the lofty peak.

Your buttocks become.

Or to your chair.

 

Experience in your body.

Invite yourself to become a breathing mountain.

Completely what you are.

Beyond words and thought.

Presence..

 

Now as we all know, throughout the day.

As the sun travels through the sky.

moment to moment in the mountain’s granite stilness.

Even the untrained eye can see changes within the hour.

And paint the life of his inanimate subject.

Transformed cathedral, river or mountain.

And therefore wake up the viewer’s eye.

The mountain just sits.

Simply being itself.

It remains still.

And as the weather changes moment by moment..

Calmness abiding by all change.