Buddhism and Meditation

Life With Full Attention – Week 4


This week the MK Meditation Association met up and practiced a Cultivation of Loving Kindness meditation. After a tea break we continued with our Life with Full Attention Course. Here are the notes from the meeting: 

Week 4Mind (Citta)

 

Unhappy People in a Happy World – we live in a highly affluent society – compared to the majority. Yet we are not happy in proportion to all we have and own.

 

Happiness is not about “things” it is about our state of mind.

 

Citta (Pali) – Mind (not the brain) – includes thoughts and emotions (head and heart), has an active and an intuitive aspect. The more & less conscious aspects of ourselves.

 

Everything we experience is through the mind.

 

  • We do not see things as they are – we “cast a spell” – we call it our experience and believe it is real and objective.

 

  • We are “under a spell” – in the grip of opinions and the beliefs/thoughts of others.

 

  • Yet, we can learn to understand the mind and to see things as they really are.

 

How we Change – we want to be different, better, improved. We cannot become something entirely different, but we can Grow.

 

The Spell We Cast:

 

Expectations – we have lots but we are not very aware of them – until they fail to get met. We need to learn to see our expectations for what they are.

 

Assumptions – our assumptions shape our lives and we have many of them. Some will come from our childhood.

 

Predictions – what could, should or might happen next. Thoughts have vedana (texture) and can be painful. Negative predictions can cause a painful feedback loop – increasing our experience of suffering.

 

Pattern Matching – making sense of experience by comparison with other experience (snake or rope?). We react accordingly and often habitually.

 

The Spell We are Under:

 

Conditioned by teachers, parents, religion, media, history, culture….Many of our views are formed before we reach the age of 7.

 

Mind & World Condition each other – the kind of world we grew up in shapes our mind. The kind of mind we have shapes the world we experience. What “we are” is largely our conditioning.

 

“Self” – a story we keep telling ourselves. Our stories make sense and have truth, but they are not the whole story. We edit !

 

Check our stories – go back to awareness of Body and Vedana (feeling/texture) – what do these tell us? Is this thought true? Is it one sided? Is it extreme? Am I laying blame on myself or others?

 

Self & World – Samjna – the moment of perception – the moment of pattern matching and naming. We create a “real” outer world and an inner world. Where does one end and the other begin?

 

Practices for this Week

 

1/ The Mindful Walk. Use this to tune into our internal commentary. What am I thinking about? Am I anxious? Is it pleasant? Is it obsessive? Is it useful?

 

Use awareness of body, movement and vedana (sensation) to bring yourself back to the here and now – relax.

 

- Keep the mind open, free from focus

- Watch the mind wander towards thoughts – become aware of “the story”

- Notice the affect on the body – the belly, shoulders, neck.

- Reflect on your thoughts

 

2. Mindful Moment. Either use The 3 Minute Breathing Space or chose a simple daily activity – e.g. cleaning teeth.

 

- Notice the sensations in the body, it’s weight, position and movement

- Notice the Vedanas – pleasant, painful, neutral

- Follow the breathing or the activity

- Become aware of thoughts – fleeting or “sticky”. Why does it stick? Have I lost perspective? Am I taking things too seriously? Do I have an unconscious need?

 

3/ Meditation. Try 15-20 mins. if you can (less is OK). Put it in your diary.

 

Day 1Build up mindfulness – body scan, notice vedana/tone. Become aware of mood (body clues). Ask: “is there anything that needs attention?”

Day 2Working with inner narrative – dropping peddles in a well: “what makes me happy?”, “Am I happy now?”, “What is the story”

Day 3Awareness of distraction – start with body scan, then notice where your mind goes. Are you preoccupied? Is it familiar? Is it a habit?

Day 4Let go of unhelpful narratives – notice unpleasant feelings and let go of the story around it. Try experiencing it with kindly awareness.

Day 5Letting go – notice the feeling/vedana then the narrative. Relax into the feeling & keep letting go of narratives – use the out breath – spacious

Day 6Breathing & thinking – tune into body and breath. Watch the mind wander – keep thinking & bring awareness of breath to the thought. Rest.

Day 7Meeting needs. Sit very still, notice body, vedana & thoughts. Do these express a need? Can you meet this within yourself – in the meditation?