Friends of Godwin Samararatne

Learn to be your best friend and also to be a friend of others. Learn to forgive yourself and others and then heal any wounds that you are carrying.

Month: March, 2018

To Open Our Hearts

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A very important meditation, especially when practised in everyday life, is meditation on loving-kindness. So one aspect of loving-kindness is learning to be your own best friend. If you can really make that connection with yourself you’ll never do things which are unskilful for you, unwholesome for you, which create your own suffering and suffering for others. And it is only when you are friendly to yourself that you can really be friendly to others. First we have to open our hearts to ourselves, then we can open our hearts to others.

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A Simple Life

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A challenge you have in everyday life is materialism, consumerism. When you live in a rich country, you cannot separate, you don’t know, it’s not clear, what you really need and what is simply your greed. The society you live in can create desires in you, needs in you, which are not really necessary.

A very important aspect of meditation in everyday life is learning to lead a simple life. It is something very beautiful to be simple, learning to be simple in our way of living. So when there is an urge or when there is a need to buy things, when you see the things you should ask: Now is this really necessary for me? Why do I really need this? Is it because other people are wearing this or other people are using that or do I really need it? So you need to really ask that question when living in a consumer society.

Then you’ll realise your joy, your happiness, your lightness come not from external things, not from goods, not from what you possess, not from what you buy, but from something that comes from within yourself. This is the beauty of meditation. The need for external things drops away because you have become independent of external things. They drop away. And as I said, joy and lightness come from within yourself.

The Medicine

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This is the beauty of the Buddha’s teaching. If the suffering is outside, we can never free ourselves from suffering. But because we are creating our own suffering then we can free ourselves of the suffering. Sometimes I define meditation as finding the medicine for the sickness that we create ourselves. So as we create the sickness, we have to discover the medicine.

Once we have discovered that meditation is the medicine, we have to use it, we have to apply it in everyday life. And sometimes as you know medicine can be very unpleasant, it is not always sweet, not always nice, but if you want to cure yourself, even if it is not pleasant you have to take the medicine. So these unpleasant experiences we have, physical pain, mental pain, they are unpleasant, certainly, but as I have been saying, we have to learn from them, they have to be our object of meditation.

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This is one of the greatest challenges we have in everyday life: relationships. You have to have relationships with people at home, you have to have relationships with people at the place of work. We cannot move away from relationships. So let us take the case of someone in everyday life making your life miserable, creating problems for you, creating suffering for you. An interesting way of relating to such a person is to relate to that person as your teacher, as your guru. So you learn to use that person to observe your own mind, to see your own reactions to that person. Then you realise that the problem is not with that other person but how you are relating to him, how you are reacting to that person.

Emotions

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A problem in everyday life is our emotions, unpleasant emotions that create suffering for us, create conflict for us. So unless we are meditators we really don’t know how these emotions are created. What happens to people is that they suffer from these emotions and they don’t know why they are suffering, and so they continue to suffer in this world. So if you can understand the mechanism, the relationship, the conditions that create these emotions, how they are directly related to thoughts, then you can work with them, you make them the objects of meditation.

Aware of Thoughts

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During the day just be aware, just be conscious: What are the thoughts that I’m having? Are they about the past? Are they about the future? Are they about me? Are they about others? From the time we wake up to the time we go to sleep we have these continuous thoughts going through the mind, they never stop. So we have to make an effort to learn about these things. By learning about your thoughts you can try to understand the type of person you are, you can gain self-knowledge, self-understanding. This is very important for the meditation.

Integrate Meditation

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Knowing and understanding how our mind and body work is something we can do in everyday life. The things that we do habitually, mechanically, like brushing our teeth, combing our hair, dressing, all these small acts, little acts, please make an effort to do consciously, to know that you are doing them, to have your complete and full attention on them when you do those things. Whether you are at home, whether you are travelling in a car, whether you are in your place of work, just to know, just to be aware of what is going through your mind and body from moment-to-moment as far as possible. It is the only way to integrate meditation with our daily life.

Guided Sitting Meditation

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Please allow the mind to do what it likes. Let any thoughts arise, thoughts about the past, thoughts about the future. And let us learn to observe the thoughts without judging them, no plus, no minus, just thoughts arising and thoughts passing away; but please be alert, awake from moment-to-moment.

Learning to make friends with our thoughts. Learning to create space for our thoughts.

There is nothing wrong with thoughts if you can be aware, if you can know what thoughts are arising and passing away.

Don’t try to stop thoughts, don’t try to control thoughts, but create space for any thought to arise. What you are learning now is to develop a non-reactive mind in relation to thoughts.

Now let us learn to make friends with the emotions that we don’t like. Please allow those emotions that you don’t like to arise and see, as with the thoughts, whether you can make friends with them, create space around them, just allow them to be there.

If you are feeling sleepy or drowsy, please open your eyes because it is very important to be alert, to be awake.

It is very important for us to learn not to push away, not to control unpleasant emotions, but to allow them to arise and to make friends with them and to create space for them. So let us learn this very important aspect.

Let us now learn to do the same in relation to unpleasant sensation. Allow the unpleasant sensations in the body to arise. What you consider as strange feelings, unusual feelings, what you consider as abnormal sensations, let them arise. It can be in any part of the body.

Can we learn to relate to these sensations without giving a minus? To relate to them as just sensations?

Thoughts, emotions, sensations, learning to see them just as they are. Learning to relate to them without a plus, without a minus.

This is learning to have loving-kindness to our thoughts, to our emotions, to our sensations. Then they don’t become problems for us. Then they become our friends. This is what we are trying to do with this meditation.

Too Much or Too Little

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It is important to learn to avoid the two extremes. Avoid eating too much or eating too little. For meditation it is very important to know the right quantity of food. And you can only learn the right quantity of food if you can listen to the body while you are eating.

Eating

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I would like to tell you how eating can be a meditation. Here again, we must make an effort to eat mindfully, to eat consciously, to be in the present as far as possible when we are eating. And please make a conscious effort to chew your food. So slowly, consciously chewing your food.

When you are eating, observe the likes and the dislikes that might have arisen in your mind. Just to know the likes and dislikes when they arise. And when there are no likes and dislikes also to know that there are no likes, no dislikes. All this can be discovered and learned only if you eat in silence.