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Many of you mention that you would like to take up meditation. Well here is your chance. There is no mystery to it; it just means that you take the time to focus.

Ginny has given us this little gem.

Don’t be put off by the use of certain words, it’s just language and this is a really powerful way to focus your energy on something so positive to create a wonderful life for yourself. Imagine if large communities of people did this meditation, the world we could create…

Ginny Haswell

Ginny Haswell

 

This practice is an ancient  Buddhist technique which increases positive emotions and cultivates mind states including acceptance, patience, kindness and compassion.   Using a repeated phrase or mantra, we are asking for peace and health.

With regular practice, negative thoughts and emotions are replaced with a positive attitude towards ourselves and others.   This can transform our approach to life and lead to lasting peace and happiness.

The technique always begins with asking for peace and wellbeing for oneself.  This can often be difficult – perhaps it feels inauthentic or selfish – and it is often recommended that until we are comfortable with this first stage, we should not move on further in the practice.  Always notice any resistance you feel without judgement and simply hold the intention of directing loving kindness.

The practice

To begin, find a suitable meditation position, where you are sitting with a comfortable and upright posture, ideally with the eyes closed or a soft lowered gaze.  This can be sitting in a straight backed chair or using a cushion on the floor.  Check that you are warm enough and that you won’t be disturbed.

Take a few minutes, or longer if necessary, to bring your awareness into your body.  Feel the support of the chair or floor underneath you.  Allow your weight to rest on your sitting bones and from this base of support gain a sense of your spine rising up from the tailbone to your head.   Invite a sense of wakefulness to your spine.  Allow your shoulders and arms to soften and relax.

Then become aware of your breath moving in and out of your body, feeling the expansion or filling up of your torso as you breathe in, and the softening or releasing sensation as you breathe out.  Stay with this awareness of your breath until you feel relaxed and settled.  When you are ready:

Bring to mind a feeling of appreciation of yourself and silently repeat:

May I be happy

May I be healthy

May I be free from fear and harm

May I live with ease

It is good to repeat this until you can feel compassion, acceptance and unconditional love for yourself.   Then we are ready to continue using the same mantra as follows:

–          Bring to mind a close friend, someone whom you feel love and warmth for.  Perhaps notice what emotions arise when you think of this person.  Repeat the mantra by replacing ‘I’ with this person.

–          Bring to mind a neutral person, someone who you neither like nor dislike e.g. a neighbour down the road.  Repeat the mantra with this person in your awareness.

–          Bring to mind a difficult person, someone who you do not see eye to eye with or to whom you feel hostility.  Repeat the mantra with this person in your awareness.

–          Now bring to mind a sense of your local community e.g. the whole of Brighton and Hove.  This will include people you know and don’t know.  Repeat the mantra as you hold them in your awareness.

–          Finally, we can bring to mind all sentient beings the world over.  Holding them in your awareness as you repeat the mantra.

To close your meditation, relax your concentration and become aware of yourself and your body sitting and breathing.  Then externalise your awareness by visualising your surroundings and then gently open your eyes.

By Ginny Haswell, Yoga Instructor.

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