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.

Our Own Suffering

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What awareness helps us to experience is how sometimes – or even most of the time – we create our own suffering. When we see with awareness how we create our own suffering, then it becomes clear that it is only we who can free ourselves of the suffering that we have created. Sometimes I like to define meditation as a way of discovering the medicine for the sickness that we create ourselves.

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Being Present

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An important aspect of meditation which can help us to work with human beings becoming more and more mechanical is the practice of awareness, the practice of being present. It’s a practice of being alert and awake. And like meditation of loving-kindness, this aspect of being aware also has many benefits. One is, it helps us to be conscious, it helps us to know what is happening in us, in our mind and body, from moment to moment as far as possible. And this awareness can help us to develop insight, to see what are we doing to ourselves and to others. Again to see how we create suffering in ourselves and how we create suffering in others.

Psychological Wounds

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Another way meditation of loving-kindness can help us is that, due to different reasons, we may have what I call psychological wounds: wounds created in the past, wounds in relation to what you have done to others, wounds in relation to what others have done to you. And I think there is no human being who has not been wounded in their life. I think a great source of suffering in the modern world is holding onto these wounds, and these wounds can generate lots of suffering for oneself and lots of suffering for others.

Meditation of loving-kindness helps us to heal these wounds by learning to forgive ourselves and learning to forgive others. It’s only when we can heal these wounds that we are carrying that we really experience joy and peace in ourselves. And when we experience this joy and peace in ourselves, this can become infectious, it can affect others.

Open Our Hearts

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If you can be your best friend then naturally your behaviour will not be something unskilful, unwholesome to you, and you will create more and more happiness for yourself and for others. So meditation on loving-kindness helps us to open our hearts to ourselves and to others.

Like Machines

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In this modern world one of the things that is happening because of mechanisation and industrialisation is that human beings are also becoming more and more machine-like, automatic. So in this connection meditation offers two very important solutions.

One point is that as human beings are becoming more and more like machines, they also, like machines, don’t seem to have feelings. One aspect of this lack of feelings is that people are becoming more and more violent: more and more violent towards themselves and towards others, and also even becoming violent towards the environment, the surroundings that we are living in. This is why the problem of environment and ecology has also become a very serious problem in the present world. In this connection meditation of loving-kindness is extremely helpful in working with this aspect of having a lack of feelings, a lack of warmth.A phrase that I often like to use is that meditation of loving-kindness helps us to be our best friend.

Interest in Meditation

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Everywhere in the world there is more and more interest in meditation now, especially in Western countries. So the question arises: why is there this interest in meditation in the present world? We can think of different reasons but a general reason is, I think, that there is more and more suffering in this world. So human beings, at least some of them, are seeking ways and means of finding some peace, and a way out of the suffering.

Whenever there is Suffering

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It is interesting that whenever there is suffering, there is suffering because you want things your way, and this your way or my way is the result of the feeling that you are Somebody. So whenever we are suffering, just find out what is the idea, what is the model that you are holding on to which is now being challenged. It is always some idea of how it should be, how it must be according to the ideas the self has.

Nature of Existence

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If we insist that change should take place according to our own idea, then when there is change which does not correspond to that idea it leads to suffering. But by realising that this is the nature of existence, that it changes and that we have no control over change, then if you can be open to change in whatever form it arises, internally or externally, this will result in freedom.

And according to the Buddha, this fact of change and impermanence and this idea of no-self are very well inter-connected, inter-related. He has a very interesting argument. If we own things, if there really is an ego, a self, then we should be able to order things: Now things should happen in this way, according to my ideas. But as there is no self, no ego, we cannot do that. So therefore we have to see from the fact of change, that there is no self-identity, no agent, only the process of change itself.

Rational and Irrational Fear

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Sometimes I think it is helpful to draw a distinction between rational and irrational fear.

In the case of irrational fear we have a chance to work with it. This is the important thing for us as meditators. We can see very clearly, how thoughts can create stories. A very important discovery to make. So sometimes it is just an innocent thought that comes and then you start imagining, and how this can even result in your panicking is a very important realisation. To see how from one condition arising there is a vicious circle activated in the creation of fear. In the case of rational fear you know that there is an objective fact and that is the end of it, that is it. But the impact it has on the person, whether it is rational or irrational is the same.

So with meditation, with awareness, we might be able to make these discoveries. And what is also important is to work with our fear in this way.

Fears

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There is an interesting text in which the Buddha describes how he worked with fear before he became enlightened. So he was meditating in the forest. And then when he would do walking meditation in the night, because of the sounds he heard, he would have certain fears arising in his mind. And it says in the text, in whatever posture he was meditating in when fear arose, he would not change the posture. So if he was doing walking meditation, while walking, without running, he would watch, observe and confront that fear, try to understand that fear and work it through.