The purpose of this meditation is to develop the complete determination to be free from samsara’s suffering, and then to meditate on this wish in the light of equanimity.

I began the meditation as usual by relaxing all the muscles in my body until it was very tranquil and comfortable. I then focused my mind on my breathing until I experienced a very expansive and tranquil state of concentration.

After a while I moved on to the meditation proper, and called to mind the contemplation given by my kind teacher, Geshe Kelsang, in his book The New Meditation Handbook. He says that all our sufferings have one thing in common – they all arise because we have taken rebirth in samsara. I thought about all the sufferings he describes. There are sufferings to do with our body, such as birth, sickness, ageing and death. Each of these aspects have many different sufferings, which I thought about briefly. In addition to the sufferings associated with our body, there are the sufferings associated with out external world. We suffer when we have to put up with things we find unpleasant, when we are separated from what we find pleasant, and when we fail to satisfy our desires.

In fact, from the very beginning our consciousness entered our body to the moment our body finally losses its ability to survive, our life is drenched in suffering.

I thought about how every step of the way, every moment we are alive, we suffer.

I also thought about how this might be bearable if this only happened once, but it happens every… single… time we take rebirth. And it will never end until I develop the wish to free myself.

I thought about all these sufferings, and how I need to break free. I need to free myself from samsara and all its sufferings. I thought about this again and again and slowly a huge feeling of needing to be free arose in my heart. I became bigger and bigger and stronger and stronger. I thought ‘I WILL free myself from samsara’. It was a complete determination, and I stayed with this determination for quite a while.

Later, it was time to move on and think about what this means in the light of equanimity. I considered this, and it became clear to me that with equanimity in my heart, I will practice moral discipline purely, which will help me achieve liberation from samsara. Seeing how this feeling of equanimity supports my wish to achieve liberation from samsara, I returned to the strong wish to be be free from all this suffering. I reconstructed the feeling of wishing to be free, and then meditated on it for the rest of the session.

Dedication

May all living beings know true sufferings, and through this knowledge set about freeing themselves from the chains of samsaric sufferings, to be come pure enlightened beings for the benefit of all.

Practice in the Meditation Break

I will keep an eye out for my own suffering – my aching shoulder for a start will remind me – and then use it to keep my wish to be free alive.