Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Going Beyond the Noise

Ever More Subtle

Our world is noisy. It seems that no matter where we go there is a constant barrage of sound and other demands on our senses.

Often when we sit down to meditate we choose somewhere as quiet as we can to avoid any distractions. We close our eyes, the bell sounds, and then...

Well, often at that point we realize that our minds are just as noisy as the outside world. And our body aches. And we start worrying, or getting angry, or sad.

It is tempting at this point to start to think how terrible we are at meditation, that we can't even feel calm and quiet in a quiet place. And so despair or judgement can set in, only adding to the noise in our mind, body and heart.

Many people assume that experienced meditators don't have this same struggle. It is easy to assume that you are the only meditator in the world with a noisy mind, or aching joints. However, in reality more experience doesn't mean that these things go away. What is different is that the more experienced have learned how to work with the noisiness in their minds.

The key to working with our thoughts and sensations is not to try and block them out or wish they weren't there. Instead we choose to do three things - acknowledge, accept and let go.

By acknowledging a thought or sensation you just recognize that it is happening. Rather than trying to ignore it you just say 'this is the thought I am having' or 'I have discomfort in my knee right now'. Having acknowledged it you then accept it. You don't judge it, or wish that you weren't experiencing it, you simply recognize that this is what is going on for you right now. And having accepted it you let go. Again, you don't try and stop or suppress it, you simply let it slip from your focus as you return your attention to awareness of your breath.

The beauty of this simple process - acknowledging, accepting, letting go then returning to your breath - is that as you do so the noisiest thoughts and sensations slowly become quieter. And as they do we become aware of more subtle thoughts and sensations. And we can repeat the same process with these, becoming aware of ever more subtle thoughts, sensations and feelings, over and over again.

In the attached fully guided meditation we practice this simple process, allowing our minds to quieten and our awareness to become ever more subtle.


If the embedded audio player above doesn't work for you, please click here.

photo credit: Captured Heart Light as a feather via photopin (license)

Saturday, January 14, 2017

Meditation Sunday January 15th, 2017

Hi all, I do plan to make my way in to the studio for meditation this Sunday,  January 15th. So, if it is safe for you to travel do feel free to join me. However, if things are slippy where you are do stay home and maybe join us in spirit.

Keep warm and safe, Chris.

Sunday, January 8, 2017

Class Cancelled Sunday January 8th 2017

Hi all, we have decided that the better part of valor is discretion, and so we will be cancelling tonight's meeting due to the weather.

Please stay warm and safe, and I hope to see you as usual next week!

    Metta, Chris

Sunday, December 11, 2016

2016 Holiday Schedule

Greetings all! Please note that we will not be meeting on the following Sundays:

  • 18th December 2016
  • 25th December 2016

We will be back to our normal schedule starting again on Sunday 1st January 2017.

Hope you all have a great holiday, looking forward to seeing you in the New Year!


Monday, November 7, 2016

The Most Important Thing You Can Do This Week...

Show Love

In the next day or so this long, protracted and acrimonious US Election will draw to a close. None of us know exactly what the outcome will be - or how the country will react once a result is know. I am, however, ready to make a prediction. The prediction is simply that even once it is over, we won't see a lot of love being shared out there.

So while I hope you will vote if you are eligible, I also hope that you will strive to show love to those around you, and to those who you disagree with. Whether you have 'a side' or deep convictions, or even if you are jaded and tired of all of the pols, find a way to allow your passion - or disenchantment - be suffused with love.

In my 'day job' I work in the research Industry, and so I have a lot of exposure to the state of our culture, and one thing that all of the research shows is that we are becoming more divided, more distrustful and more antagonistic towards each other. Of course you don't need researchers like me to tell you that, you just have to turn on your TV or radio.

So it is more important than ever that we choose not to simply follow along and let ourselves get swept up by the acrimony. Yes, this is an important election, and people on both sides are highly passionate about their beliefs and positions. I am not saying that we shouldn't work hard for justice and peace - we definitely should - but that as we do so we don't let go of a true core of metta - loving-kindness.

The ancient practice of metta bhavana (cultivation of loving-kindness) is the ideal way to prepare ourselves for weeks such as these, where our grounding in love can be shaking. You can find a fully guided 30 minute metta bhavana meditation, together with a short introduction to the practice, below.

I would like to invite all of you to in your own way share a little love this week - whether it is to your peers or those you disagree totally with. Beware the dialog of hatred, and instead try to apply the lessons of loving-kindness.

It's not easy. But nothing this radical is. This is how the world is changed. Let's all try and change it just a little.

      Wishing you a loving and peaceful week, Chris

The following fully guided meditation allows us to cultivate metta - even in times of strife and conflict

If the embedded audio player above doesn't work for you, please click here.