You are currently browsing the tag archive for the ‘equanimity’ tag.

The purpose of this meditation is to generate a feeling of wanting to be completely at one with others.

I started by making the appropriate preparations for meditation, and then once again brought to mind the three groups of people in front of me.

In the middle are strangers – people for whom I have no strong feelings. To either side of this group are people I consider to be friends and people I consider to be enemies. My mind is mixed with the delusions of attachment and aversion respectively when I consider these people.

Love heartI thought about what kind of relationships I want in my life. For the reasons I experienced in the meditations of the last few days, I have come to see that my delusions force me to have a separation from most others. I don’t want this. I want my life to be meaningful, and I have come to see that the only meaning in life comes from our relationship with others, and our ability to bring them to fruition on the spiritual path.

I remembered, a little while ago, a very extraordinary moment, when I stared into the eyes of an almost-stranger for what seemed like an hour, and she stared straight back into mine. (She had asked whether I was Vide Kadampa, and I stared into her eyes, trying to decide whether to confirm her hunch, or whether to somehow avoid revealing my identity without lying). I don’t think I had ever done that before – in fact I know I had never done that before. For me at least, it was one of the most extraordinary moments in my life. When I reflect on it now, it seems to me that I felt completely mixed with the other person, and that she was completely mixed with me.

Considering this moment this morning in meditation, it seemed to me that all my relationships have been superficial – even the ones I consider to be deep and lifelong, such as those with my wife and children.

I realised I need to achieve a deep and meaningful relationship with everyone I meet – at least from my side of the relationship. Certainly with my family and with Dharma friends, I need to penetrate them completely, and mix with them. I need to take responsibility for them and have confidence that they will benefit from my presence. The starting point for all this is to have a completely balanced and open heart towards all living beings, without pretence and with no secrets. I want to be honest and transparent.

I focused on this wish to be honest and transparent, and to gaze into the eyes of all my Dharma friends, and connect with them so that we can all attain enlightenment equally and blissfully. I remained on that thought for the rest of the meditation.

Dedication

May I find a way to connect deeply with all living beings, honestly and transparently, so that we can all attain enlightenment quickly and blissfully.

Practice in the Meditation Break

I will feel connected with those around me, take a genuine interest in them, and keep an balanced, open and honest heart towards them.

The purpose of this meditation is to develop a wonderful feeling of having warm and friendly feelings towards all living beings without exception.

I began by making the appropriate preparations for meditation, and then started by imagining three groups of people in front of me. In the centre were people for whom I have no strong feelings – people I see at work, and people I see in shops. To their left are people for whom I have attachment – my family and friends. I usually feel overexcited and un-natural around them because of my attachment to them. To the right are people who are causing me problems at the moment – people for whom I feel dislike.

warm smileI started by thinking about my friends and family. If I look with wisdom, I can see that in the past, and in past lives, these people have not only caused me problems – they have been my bitter enemies. They are not the exclusively positive entities I currently perceive. I felt my overexcitement lessen, and I made the determination: From now on I will try to remain simply warm and friendly to these people.

After a while I focused on my enemies. Despite their current manifestation, if I look with wisdom I can see that in the past these people have been very kind to me, and even in their actions now, they are helping me develop patience and other good qualities. Therefore if I look with wisdom I can see that they are not exclusively evil, but are much more balanced overall. I made the determination: From now on I will not focus exclusively on their perceived negative qualities, but develop a warm and friendly feeling towards them.

I then considered the middle group of people. I have a naturally balanced and harmonious relationship with these people, and I made the determination that as I can achieve a harmonious and balanced view with these people, so too can I do the same with friends and enemies.

Finally I developed the thought – even though people appear as friends and enemies, and stimulate delusions in my mind based on these current appearances, if I check, I can see that to respond appropriately to them in their entirety, the only sensible option is to treat them with warmth and friendliness.

I then focused on the thought ‘I love you anyway’, thinking that I love living beings regardless of their current appearance, and regardless of the harm they have done me in the past. This is a valid position because to love people on the basis of their kindness is to respond to their truth with wisdom.

I took this determination ‘I love you anyway’ as my object of meditation, and felt an overwhelming feeling of affectionate love for all living beings arise in my heart. When this feeling became strong, I focused on it for the rest of the meditation.

Dedication

May all living beings find equanimity in their hearts, and quickly attain enlightenment for the benefit of all.

Practice in the Meditation Break

I will think ‘I love you anyway’ whenever I see or think of someone.

The purpose of this meditation is to generate a complete feeling of warmth and friendliness towards all other living beings, and then to look at this feeling in light of wishing love.

I began by dissolving my Guru into my heart and mixing his stability and stillness with my own mind. After a while of enjoying this very peaceful and lovely experience, I moved on to the main meditation.

I began by thinking about how in the past, my friends have often turned into strangers, or even enemies. In the past, people who have been my enemies have become my friends, or strangers. In the past, strangers have become friends, enemies, and even both, over time. Given these changing relationships, what is the best way for me to maintain positive states of mind? To react to these changing appearances with hatred or attachment? No. The best way to decide from my own side to hold an attitude which will protect me. I decided that I will only hold a warm and friendly feeling towards all others from now on. Focused on the warm and friendly feeling, and tried to keep it firmly in my mind while I meditated…

After a while I decided to see what this means in light of wishing love.

It seemed to me that equanimity was an essential part of wishing love, or an essential step in attaining wishing love. Knowing that equanimity was an essential part of wishing love, I returned to my intention to only have a warm and friendly feeling in my heart for the rest of the day, and for the rest of my life. Lovely.

Dedication

May all living beings see all their problems solved by keeping a warm and friendly attitude towards others.

Practice in the Meditation Break

I will try to keep in mind my determination to maintain a warm and friendly feeling towards others.

The purpose of this meditation is to develop a very stable feeling of equal warmth and friendliness towards all living beings, and then to consider what this means in light of the practice of taking on the sufferings of all other living beings.

I began by mixing my mind with my Guru’s mind at my heart. I focused on stilling my mind until I felt like I was completely focused at my heart. I felt like my mind had stopped completely and was focused at my heart in white space. At that point I felt completely still and although I felt like I was in one place, I felt like I could also perceive all phenomena. (I couldn’t, by the way, but I felt like I could). It was very beautiful and peaceful, and I stayed in that place for a while…

I then moved on to the main topic – equanimity. I considered that I normally treat people in the way that they appear to me. If they appear to be enemies then (deep down, under my calm exterior) I treat them with fear, aggression and hostility. If they appear to be friendly then I immediately grasp onto them as causes of happiness. Through this process, my mind is repeatedly knocked off balance by my mistaken perceptions of others.

What I need to do is recognise that I should treat them all as dear friends. Over time these people can change from friends to enemies and back – they are not fixed, contrary to what their permanent appearance suggests. People change their relationships to me over time, and to avoid being knocked off balance by these changes, I can adopt a position where they are simply ‘my friends’, and treat them with warmth and friendliness.

I chose this as my object of meditation, and focused on the feeling of stopping the fluctuating attitudes on my uncontrolled mind, and instead cultivating a very peaceful and stable attitude of equanimity. I thought about this repeatedly until a feeling of stability, warmth and friendliness towards all living beings arose in my mind. When it was clear, I stopped analysing and just kept my mind focused on that feeling, for as long as I could. When it faded or I got distracted, I just brought my attention back to my feeling and renewed my wish to focus single-pointedly on it…

After a while, I brought in the question of where this feeling fits into the practice of taking the suffering of others onto ourselves.

It seemed to me that one way to understand the relationship would be that without true equanimity in our mind, it will be impossible to take on the sufferings of ALL living beings. Without equanimity we will be burdened with an unbalanced view which will make us unwilling to take on the sufferings of our enemies. I appreciated how important true equanimity is for the later Lamrim minds, and with this recognition, I returned to my absorption into equanimity. A very enjoyable meditation.

Dedication

May all living beings maintain equanimity towards others, and with this warm, friendly and accepting mind, may they quickly attain enlightenment for the benefit of all.

Practice in the Meditation Break

I will try to keep my mind filled with this beautiful virtuous stability – the warm and friendly feeling of equanimity which prevents my mind being knocked off balance by my encounters with others.

 

The purpose of this meditation is to generate a lovely feeling of equanimity towards all living beings, and then to contemplate what this means in light of great compassion.

I began the meditation by doing a breathing meditation and trying to get a feeling for my Guru’s mind – thinking about how it must feel to have a constant active realisation of renunciation, love, compassion, bodhichitta and the correct view of emptiness. When I had a good feeling, I focused on it for a while.

Following this, I moved on to thinking about equanimity. I thought about how, in the past, I have been attached to people only to find that they have become my enemies. In the past I have been enemies with people only to find that later they become my friends. I thought about the mental gymnastics I have to do when people switch from friends to enemies. I have to flip my attitude from attachment to hatred, and back again. But obviously neither of these reflect the truth of the situation. Neither is sustainable. Neither is satisfactory.

I decided that I need to cultivate an attitude that is sustainable – one that I can remain within comfortably for the rest of my life. I decided that from now on I will not view people with attachment or hatred, but instead with a gentle, relaxed, warm and friendly feeling.

I settled on this gentle, relaxed, warm and friendly feeling towards all living beings as my object of meditation, and I focused on it for a long while…

After this, I decided to see what this meant in light of the realisation of great compassion.

I thought about how equanimity was the basis for great compassion. Rather than great compassion being a ‘stand alone’ mind, it is comprised of parts, one of which being equanimity. Without equanimity there can be no great compassion. Understanding this relationship, I refocused on the feeling of gentle, relaxed warmth and friendliness towards all living beings, and remained there for the rest of the session.

Dedication

May all living beings cultivate the sustainable attitude of equanimity, and through the confidence of this mind, may they quickly attain enlightenment for the benefit of all.

Practice in the Meditation Break

I will try to keep this attitude of gentle, relaxed warmth and friendliness towards everyone I meet today, and impute all living beings upon them, so that my equanimity is towards all living beings.

The purpose of this meditation is to generate the feeling that we are firm friends with all sentient beings, and then to reflect on this feeling in light of the advantages of cherishing others.

I began with breathing meditation, calming my mind and letting it settle, before moving on to the main meditation topic.

I began by thinking about the recent handshake between Queen Elizabeth II and Martin McGuiness of Sinn Fein. The Troubles of Ireland have plagued both Ireland and the United Kingdom for many years. Over the centuries, both sides have committed atrocities which are almost unforgivable. In recent times, Martin McGuiness was convicted of a number of crimes related to terrorist activity and publicly supported the IRA, which has carried out many operations which have resulted in the death and injury of many people. The Queen is head of the Union (United Kingdom) and head of the Armed Forces, which have carried out many operations in Northern Ireland which have resulted in the death and injury of many people. To all intents and purposes, these two people have been the personification of opposing forces.

These two people recently shook hands and exchanged pleasantries. This clearly demonstrates how people can change from being enemies to being friends. We may identify others as friends, enemies or neutral, but there is nothing ‘from their side’ which makes this solid or permanent.

I thought about this point in meditation, and began to feel that regardless of their behaviour, we can rightly regard all other living beings as our firm friends. We may disagree with their actions at one time or another, and perhaps have to take action to protect ourselves or others, but all this can be done while at the same time regarding them as our firm friends.

I focused on the feeling of being a firm friend to all living beings, and a real sense of firmness between myself and others arose in my mind. I felt like there was a very firm link between myself and others that their mere transitory behaviour could not break. I focused on this feeling for a while.

I then thought about what this means in light of the advantages of cherishing others.

The starting point for cherishing others is to develop true equanimity towards those we incorrectly identify as friends, enemies and strangers. I felt like cherishing others was built on the foundation of equanimity, and the strength and integrity of my cherishing was entirely dependent on the strength and integrity of my equanimity. Therefore, I returned to my feeling of being a firm friend to all other living beings, and focused on it for the rest of the meditation.

Dedication

May all living beings find the strength and wisdom to regard each other as firm friends, and make the space in their hearts to generate true cherishing love for them, quickly following the path to enlightenment.

Practice in the Meditation Break

I will try to remember my feeling of being firm friends with all other living beings, and almost see the bond between us.

The purpose of this meditation is to generate a very qualified feeling of warmth and friendliness towards all other living beings, and then to meditate on this feeling in the light of actions and their effects.

I began the meditation my thinking about how I adopt a mental posture towards people based on their appearance and what I already know about them. I am relaxed around some people whereas with others I am ‘on guard’ and more formal. It is like a feedback loop – the people I see as threatening will pick up on my frostiness and wonder what is behind it.

How complicated it all is – adopting a mental posture towards everyone individually, keeping it under review and changing it when people ‘change’. I remembered what Geshe Kelsang says in The New Meditation Handbook, that these appearances of other people (pleasant, unpleasant or neutral) are just projections of my own mind, and have no real, objective truth. Instead of all this posturing, I should simply develop a warm and friendly attitude to all others. I imagined mixing my mind with Geshe Kelsang’s mind, asking him to share his equanimity with me. Immediately I felt a complete massive movement of my mind – instantly I felt a completely solid and permanent feeling of equanimity towards all living things. It was emphatic and immovable – completely different from my normal pathetic swings in ‘I like him, but I don’t like her’ nonsense. It felt gigantic and eternal, like a mountain, and I mixed my mind with this feeling for quite a while.

I then thought about what this means in light of actions and their effects. This meditation is the first in the Great Scope meditations, and Geshe Kelsang says that without this mind, the other minds of unconditional love, compassion and bodhichitta cannot grow. There is a cause and effect link there – if I develop equanimity, I will be able to develop more profound and happy minds. I increased my determination to keep equanimity as one of my default settings, and treat everyone I meet with genuine warmth and friendliness.

Dedication

May all living beings develop the happy mind of equanimity and begin the mental path to Buddhahood.

Practice in the Meditation Break

I will try to check how I feel about people I meet and think about, and see if I can maintain a natural mind of equanimity.

The purpose of this meditation is to develop a warm and friendly feeling of equanimity towards all living beings, and then to meditate on this feeling in the light of our refuge practice.

I began by thinking about how Geshe Kelsang beings his contemplation of this subject in The New Meditation Handbook.

He says that our normal view of others makes no sense. At the very beginning of the Great Scope set of meditations he strikes at the very foundation of our normal view of others and points out that it fundamentally makes no sense.

What makes no sense? Our normal attitudes towards other people.

Normally we see some people as attractive, some as unpleasant and most as irrelevant. On this basis we develop attachment to some, aversion to others and indifference to the rest. As such, depending on who we meet or think about, our mind swings wildly between attachment, aversion and indifference.

But someone who is the cause of our attachment may well cause aversion in the minds of others, and vice versa. Who is ‘right’? If we think our view is ‘right’, what makes it right? The fact that it is ‘our view’? Is that what makes it right? Then equally the view of others is ‘right’ because it is ‘their view’. As Geshe Kelsang says, it makes no sense.

I thought about this for a while and came to agree with Geshe Kelsang that these views of others are not valid or sustainable. What to do? We should purposely adopt the MOST BENEFICIAL attitude towards others, which is a warm and friendly attitude. This will protect my mind from the wild involuntary swings between the three vertices of attachment, aversion and indifference.

I felt like my mind was a mountain range seen in silhouette, with great peaks and deep valleys. Slowly it equalised with the peaks falling and the valleys rising, until there was a smooth flat horizon of equanimity – and a feeling of warmth and friendliness directed towards all living beings.

It struck me about how we all carry so much emotional baggage caused by our memories of people we have known. Strong attachment still arises in my mind when I think of some people from long ago, who I have not seen in decades. Again, strong aversion arises in my mind when I think of some people who I have not seen since I was in school. Even after all these years, they still have the power to disrupt my mind! I brought this aspect in and applied the warm and friendly feeling not only to all living beings now, but everyone in my past too. The feeling seemed to extend throughout time and space, and filled my mind – I stayed with that for a while.

I then thought about what this means in the light of my refuge practice. My refuge practice means that I trust the Three Jewels to be my fundamental refuge from suffering. Equanimity is the practice of Dharma taught by Buddha and demonstrated by Sangha. Therefore if I truly go for refuge then I must practice equanimity. I felt a deeper determination to practice equanimity, and returned to my feeling of a flat, equally warm, friendly feeling, which I remained with for the rest of the meditation.

Dedication

May all living beings reach the common sense conclusion that the only wise attitude to hold towards other living beings is one of equanimity, and thereby become an enlightened being for the benefit of all.

Practice in the Meditation Break

I have a busy day today. I will be a ‘responsible adult’ at my daughter’s swimming party, looking after about 30 8-year-olds in a swimming pool along with a couple of other dads. Plenty of opportunity to practice there, methinks!

Meditation 4/6

The purpose of this beautiful meditation is to generate a feeling of equanimity for all living beings, and then to contemplate this feeling in the context of death and impermanence.

I began by thinking about what Geshe Kelsang says in The New Meditation Handbook. He says that ‘Our feelings towards others are normally unbalanced’, and ‘For as long as we have these unbalanced feelings our mind will be like a rocky field that cannot support the growth of Mahayana realisations.  Our first task, therefore, is to free our mind from these unbalanced attitudes and develop genuine equanimity – an equally warm and friendly attitude towards all living beings’.

I thought about how our perceptions of people are usually very superficial, and we decide on how we feel based on these perceptions. For example, if a person looks like a (insert your dislikable stereotype here), then we think ‘I don’t like ‘them’ and immediately feel dislike and aversion. But if a person looks like a (insert a member of your ‘approved personages’ here then we immediately develop attachment towards ‘them’.

These appearances give my mind no peace. They shove my mind into aversion or attachment, but never peace.

But if I look beyond the label I give people, I can see that they are just like me; living beings searching for happiness. Their superficial appearances are just that, superficial, and are not a suitable basis for developing strong feelings of aversion or attachment. I focused on the idea of seeing beyond their superficial appearances, and seeing them as equal to each other and to myself. I naturally developed the only emotion which was valid – a warm and friendly feeling, which I dwelt on for a while.

I then thought about what this means in the context of death and impermanence. These appearances are manifestly impermanent. I know from personal experience that people who I have had a frosty relationship with have ended up being very close to me. And, unfortunately, the reverse is also true. If these appearances can change so much, which is the true, essential person I should relate to? Again, the only sensible attitude is one of warmth and friendliness.

I let a warm and friendly feeling fill my mind and pictured my mind being very stable and peaceful in the company of all living beings. This feeling will allow my mind to hold more advanced realisations, so I felt very happy and peaceful too. I stayed with this feeling for the rest of the meditation.

Dedication

May all living beings develop true equanimity and become conqueror Buddhas for the benefit of all.

Practice in the Meditation Break

I will try to maintain a warm and friendly feeling to everyone, no matter how they appear or behave, knowing that it is my basic spiritual practice to maintain a stable mind amidst the turbulence of samsara.

The purpose of this meditation is to develop a warm and friendly feeling towards all living beings, and then to view this feeling in the context of our precious human life.

I began the meditation by remembering that although people may appear to me to be pleasant, unpleasant or neither one not the other, these appearances are completely untrustworthy. I know people who I like, but are disliked by others. Which of us is right? One thing is for sure: the appearances of this person are not reliable, otherwise we would both perceive the person in the same way.

Geshe-la says that these appearances are deceptive, and that we should put them to one side and develop a warm and friendly feeling towards all living beings. I can see that this will be very helpful to myself and others – the best possible attitude to adopt.

It is the first step towards developing the supreme motivation of Bodhichitta, and does not need to be abandoned – just built upon. When I finally attain spontaneous Bodhichitta, I will recognise that it is built on the foundation of equanimity.

I thought deeply about the wish to develop equanimity, and I let the feeling of warmth and friendliness develop in my mind until it encompassed the whole world. I remained on this object for a while.

Then I took a mental step back from the object and asked, what additional meaning does my precious human life give to this feeling? I quickly realised that this feeling is only possible because of my precious human life. I felt the feeling grow and expand to encompass my whole lifespan – I felt equanimity for all living beings in the universe for the whole of my lifespan. I kept focused on this vast and beautiful feeling for the rest of the meditation.

Dedication

May all living beings develop equanimity, and on this solid foundation build the city of enlightenment.

Practice in the Meditation Break

I will hold a strong feeling of equanimity towards all living beings until my next meditation, and await the day when I can keep this mind purely all the time.

Meditation 1/7

Modern Buddhism

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 2,038 other followers

Categories

Follow me on Facebook

June 2017
M T W T F S S
« Jan    
 1234
567891011
12131415161718
19202122232425
2627282930  

Top Rated