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: October, 2018

Interesting Visitors

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Please see negative feelings and thoughts as an opportunity, as a learning experience, because it is extremely important and valuable for us to learn about unpleasant emotions.

How far can we make friends with them, how far can we say I don’t feel O.K. but it is O.K. not to feel O.K?

What exactly is negative, unpleasant about it? Is it a thought, is it a sensation, is it an emotion? Trying really to look deeply into what you consider to be negativity.

Another tool is to think of our friend the breath at that time. Or just become conscious of the sensations in the body. Just being with the breath, just being with the sensations; and then if we can just be with the breath and with the sensations we might have fewer thoughts and this will help us to really create space around the unpleasant emotion we are experiencing.

The next tool is to realise that whatever arises passes away. What is funny is that if we have an unpleasant emotion, if we tell the unpleasant emotion: don’t leave me, don’t go, what will happen? It won’t stay. Or even if we say: stay with me, it will change. So we have no control. These things arise, these things pass away. So just to be open to that important aspect of what the Buddha taught.

Another very important point is that when these unpleasant emotions are not there, just to know that they are not there. Because everything is changing, sometimes we have pleasant emotions, sometimes we have unpleasant emotions. We won’t be having all pleasant emotions nor will we be having all unpleasant emotions. So to be open to both and know when they are there and when they are not there.

Realise that these are visitors that come to our mind. So you must be a very good host, and let these visitors come and let these visitors go. So when visitors come, as a good host you must say: Hello, welcome. Make friends with them and talk to them. Why have you come? What can I learn from you? And when they leave, say: Goodbye. Come back again later!

So in this way we can learn to play with their coming and going. Then rather than see them as problems, you see them as very interesting situations, challenges, working with these interesting visitors we have. And there is a very deep Buddhist insight which understands that these visitors do not belong to us. The problem arises when we think they belong to us and say, this is my sadness, this is my anxiety. So I hope you will wait for these visitors to come and then learn to use some of these tools. Then you can develop lots of self-confidence, and when they arise you know what to do.

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Poor Thoughts!

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When we don’t meditate passing thoughts are no problem, but when we are meditating we want to have no passing thoughts! So when you’re not meditating, even though there are passing thoughts you feel very relaxed; but when you’re meditating you can’t relax because of the passing thoughts! Aren’t we funny? See what we are doing in the name of meditation.

Please make friends with your thoughts, please make friends with your emotions, please make friends with your sensations. I can’t understand why meditators hate their passing thoughts! Poor thoughts!

 

You Just Know

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When we meditate we really don’t know what is going to happen in our mind and body. So many different things can happen in our mind and body. And if you ask the question: Why is this happening to me? Is it the right thing or the wrong thing? then if it is right or if it is wrong, it creates more problems and it creates more suffering. So meditation is something very, very simple. Whatever is happening, you just observe, you just know, and then continue meditating and then something else is bound to happen.

Here and Now

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An important aspect of awareness is to experience the present moment, the here and the now. So let us sometimes make an effort to forget whatever has happened in the past. We cannot change the past. It’s gone. And then let us not think of the future because the future has not yet come. In a way, thinking of the past and the future is not being with reality. So let us make a special effort to use awareness, to use friendliness to experience the present moment as far as possible.

Posture for Sitting Meditation

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I would say the ideal posture for sitting meditation would be the cross-legged posture, but even in the cross-legged posture there are variations, like the lotus posture is one type of posture; half-lotus is another. But with whatever posture you choose, it is important is to have your spine erect, because when you have your spine erect it is very easy to become alert and awake and really be conscious. So this is where sometimes yoga exercises can help you to work with your posture. And here again what is important is to have a posture where you can feel relaxed. This is very important. To be mentally and physically relaxed when you meditate is extremely important.

Distractions and Disturbances

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What is beautiful about meditation is that the so-called distractions and disturbances become our teachers. Rather than waste such situations we should learn to see how far even under those circumstances we can meditate, and this will give us lots of self-confidence, and will be a very important breakthrough.

And if we meditate in a place where there is pure air, where there is no smell of food, do we think there won’t be any problems for us? Then we might have other problems!

Natural, Simple and Uncomplicated

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In meditation we have to do things naturally. This is why in the meditation on breathing one has to learn to breathe naturally. In the same way, when doing walking meditation we slow down, but in slowing down one is learning to walk naturally. Whether it is breathing or walking meditation, if you try to do it differently and not naturally, then you have problems.

A very interesting point is that when we are meditating we feel that we should do something different, something special. If you try to do anything as if it is something special, as if it is something different, then there’ll be special problems. So please realise meditation is not something special. It is something very natural. It was so beautiful when I had a session with a group of children: so natural, simple and uncomplicated.

Expectations

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It is quite right to say that suffering is created by our expectations and that it is a strong habit in ourselves. This is where awareness is very important. With awareness you catch yourself immediately when your habit patterns arise. And then realise that it is just a habit and that it is not reality.

So being aware and catching the habit when it arises, in whatever form, and then learning to let go of it, aware that it is just a habit, nothing else. If you can catch it as it arises it will be great because then you’ll be really handling it effectively. As I often say, as we are human sometimes we might fail to catch it as it arises and we might become victims of this habit. So when that happens again just reflect on what has happened when the event is over, and then learn from what has happened. Learn to experiment with such situations.

And the best technique to work with this is, of course, awareness and equanimity as you have pointed out. Learning to have a non-reactive mind to whatever is happening. If having a non-reactive mind is another expectation you should realise: I’m trying to be non-reactive and sometimes I might succeed, but sometimes I might fail. If you can have that openness there is very little likelihood of it becoming a strong expectation.

Walking Meditation

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Please be aware of all the movements in your body while you are walking. Experiencing the present moment with the help of walking, conscious walking.

Feel the different sensations, the movements in your body while you are walking.

Let go of your thoughts gently and come back to walking.

Just enjoying conscious walking.

Please don’t look around. Can you walk as if you are walking on lotus flowers, being conscious of each step that you are taking?

Can you feel the sensations in your knees? Do you feel the sensation of your feet touching the floor?

Now please try to slow down the walking so that you can be really conscious of each step that you are taking from moment to moment.

Let go of your thoughts gently and come back to walking.

Now stand still wherever you are and please close your eyes.