I hope you are enjoying a peaceful few days wherever you are. Due to the restrictions in movement in the UK and the likelihood that many people will be at home alone this Christmas season I’m running a session this Monday as usual, so if you wish to join us and connect with others there will be the chance to.
Last week I listened to a master class that outlined different practices to be used for living a fulfilled and contented life. One was from a teacher called Esther Hicks and a practice she calls segment intending. In this approach one sees the day ahead as consisting of different segments, or zones – a work zone, a relaxation zone, a zone for reading and self development, a zone for exercise etc. The zones depend on what your day is likely to consist of. As you see the day divided into these different zones imagine that you emerge from each zone feeling fulfilled, happy, at ease and content. The suggestion was to do this every day in the shower or as a morning meditation.
The next day I incorporated it into the Loving Kindness practice as I taught it in the live You Tube session and I was so pleased to see how well it worked. In the section of Loving Kindness for oneself it made it so much more tangible to connect to the wish for oneself to be happy – by actually taking the framework of one’s day and connecting with a wish for each part of the day to give rise to a feeling of contentment, fulfilment and ease. Then as you imagine reaching the end of the day the invitation in the meditation was to look back and feel gratitude for all the nurturing experiences you have had that day. In this way you set an intention for the day for it to flow smoothly and to be able to meet any challenges in a way that leads to feeling content.
Then in extending this wish out to others it was possible to imagine them going through their day with the same wish that as they move through the different zones of their day they too may experience joy, ease and continent.
The people at the live session said at the end it made doing the Loving Kindness practice much more immediate and easy to engage with.
If you want to try this the meditation is below:
1. Mind precedes all mental states. Mind is their chief; they are all mind-wrought. If with an impure mind a person speaks or acts suffering follows him like the wheel that follows the foot of the ox.
2. Mind precedes all mental states. Mind is their chief; they are all mind-wrought. If with a pure mind a person speaks or acts happiness follows him like his never-departing shadow.
3. “He abused me, he struck me, he overpowered me, he robbed me.” Those who harbor such thoughts do not still their hatred.
4. “He abused me, he struck me, he overpowered me, he robbed me.” Those who do not harbor such thoughts still their hatred
5. Hatred is never appeased by hatred in this world. By non-hatred alone is hatred appeased. This is a law eternal.
6. There are those who do not realize that one day we all must die. But those who do realize this settle their quarrels.
In effect he is saying that our experience of life is determined by the quality of our mind and intention. His approach to meditation was to train our mind so that we could choose to act with skilful and constructive mind states rather than reactive and negative states of mind.
An alternative translation to his same text has it reading “heart ” instead of mind, which is also reminder that the Buddha’s use of the word mind it also denotes heart – mind and heart were not seen as separate in the time of the Buddha, but the mind was seen to reside in the heart. Thus doing the Loving Kindness practice which focuses on the heart centre, we can also see it as being a practice for creating a skilful state of mind.
To join the live You Tube guided meditation click this link. The session is every weekday at 8-9am UK time.