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.
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.
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.
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.
We should learn this very important quality of forgiveness. Forgiveness to oneself and forgiveness to others, because these things have happened in the past; we cannot change the past, so why should we carry the past as a burden, an unnecessary burden which is creating suffering for us?
Please stand up slowly, knowing that you are going to stand and observing the intention to stand.
Now just feel what it is to stand. Feel the different sensations, the different movements in your body.
If you are experiencing any unpleasant sensations, painful sensations in the body, just know them and just be open to them, just say okay to them. And if you are experiencing any pleasant sensations in the body, just know that you are having pleasant sensations.
Try to feel every part of your body, the different sensations, the different movements in your body. And learn to feel friendly, gentle and kind to your body.
When thoughts come, learn to let go of them and come back to the body. Use your body to experience the present moment, the here and the now.
Learn to feel the body rather than think about the body; please see the difference. And just feel what it is to stand completely still.
Learn to gently let go of the thought and come back to your body. To be in the present with the help of your body, with the feelings, the sensations, the different movements. Finding the sensations and the feelings in the body more interesting than your thoughts.
It is extremely interesting that unpleasant emotions that we don’t like, when we invite them they don’t come; and when we don’t want them to come they come. So this shows the importance of openness, and then with more and more openness and waiting for these emotions to come, they don’t come.
You can use the same principle in relation to thoughts. When we don’t want thoughts to come they come, and if you invite them, let any thought come, you’ll experience that they don’t come.
Meditation has to be a way of life. There is no beginning meditation and stopping meditation. Meditation should not be confined to a particular posture, a particular time because from the time that we wake up to the time we go to sleep our mind is moving, we are having thoughts, we are having states of mind. So ideally we should have this constant awareness, constant alertness, constant checking out what is happening in our mind throughout the day. Then meditation becomes a way of life. Life and meditation are not two things, they are just one.
We should learn from our unpleasant emotions and make them a learning experience – but how do we know whether what we have learnt from the unpleasant experience is right or wrong?
Very simple answer: without resisting, if you can say okay and make friends with it, that’s it. To put it in other words: when we have unpleasant emotions the normal tendency is to suffer as a result of it, but here by taking them as learning experiences we learn not to suffer and to see them as our teachers and feel grateful for them, because if they do not arise, how can we learn to work with them?
When you are meditating perhaps you are trying too hard, and maybe you are trying to breathe in a different way. When one tries to breathe in an unusual or different way it may be a strain on the lungs. So it is very important when we are meditating, to learn to meditate in a very relaxed way, not to try too hard. If you try too hard it can be a strain on the body and also the mind. So please try to sit in a very relaxed way and don’t put a strain on any part of the body.
If pain comes, stop focusing on breathing and send thoughts of loving-kindness, friendliness, gentleness to that part of your body.