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1-8 SUGGESTED GUIDED MEDITATIONS & WEEKLY PRACTICES

 

WEEK 1: THE ENERGIES OF THE BUDDHA

Forum Thread Topic: Week 1 Guided Meditation and Recommended Practice

 

DEVELOPING A DAILY SITTING PRACTICE:

Begin to cultivate a regular mindful space in your day. During the eight weeks of this course, try to commit to a 15-minute mindful sitting meditation session twice a day. Let your sitting be a joy and a delight--a time to return home.

 

HOW TO USE THE GUIDED MEDITATIONS:

The guided meditations that will be presented throughout the course of this program will contain short phrases or gathas. The first sentence of the gatha is contemplated while breathing in. The second sentence of the gatha is contemplated while breathing out. Shorter phrases derived from the gatha a provided following the two sentence. These shorter phrases are intended to give you key words to use during the duration of the contemplation. Practice each gatha for as long as seems appropriate, attempting to reach the final gatha offered by the end of your sitting session.

 

SUGGESTED GUIDED MEDITATION:

Breathing in, I know I am breathing in.
Breathing out, I know I am breathing out.
(In, Out)

Breathing in, I am aware that my in-breath has grown deeper.
Breathing out, I am aware that my out-breath has become slower.
(Deep, Slow)

Breathing in, I feel calm.
Breathing out, I feel at ease.
(Calm, Ease)

Breathing in, I smile to life.
Breathing out, I release all my worries and anxiety.
(Smile, Release)

Breathing in, I am grounded in the present moment.
Breathing out, I know this is a wonderful moment.
(Present Moment, Wonderful Moment)

 

SUGGESTED PRACTICE:

Intentionality is a wonderful quality to begin to cultivate. In our practice centers, you will find little poems posted everywhere to help to bring us back to what we are doing. From the first moment of the day until the last, we wish to live our lives fully. We set this intention each morning with the following poem and practice of smiling to life. Try it this week!

 

POEM FOR WAKING UP IN THE MORNING:

Waking up this morning I smile.
Twenty-four brand new hours are before me.
I want to live fully in each moment
and to look at all beings with the eyes of compassion.

 

WEEK 2: THE INSIGHT OF CO-BEING

Forum Thread Topic: Week 2 Guided Meditation and Recommended Practices

 

SUGGESTED GUIDED MEDITATION:

Breathing in, I see myself as a flower.
Breathing out, I feel fresh.
(Flower, Fresh)

Breathing in, I see myself as a mountain.
Breathing out, I feel solid.
(Mountain, Solid)

Breathing in, I see myself as still water.
Breathing out, I reflect all that is.
(Water, Reflecting)

Breathing in, I see myself as vast space.
Breathing out, I feel free.
(Space, Free)

 

SUGGESTED PRACTICE:

It is important to find moments of rest throughout the day; opportunities to return to our breath. Meditation is not only an activity that we do while seated, but an awareness that we bring to each moment of our life. This week we are invited into the practice of stopping. When you hear a bell this week--a telephone ringing, a clock chiming--if you are in a place where it is feasible to do so, return to your breath, breathing mindfully once or twice before continuing on with the activity. The practice of stopping can transform our life and our way of being with others.

 

POEM FOR PRACTICING STOPPING:

Listen, listen
This wonderful sound
Brings me back
To my true home

 

WEEK 3: MINDFUL WALKING

Forum Thread Topic: Week 3 Guided Meditation and Recommended Practices

 

SUGGESTED GUIDED MEDITATION:

Breathing in, I am aware of my in-breath.
Breathing out, I aware of my out-breath.
(Aware of in-breath, Aware of out-breath)

Aware of my body, I breathe in.
Smiling to my body, I breathe out.
(Aware of body, Smile to body)

Aware of a feeling present now, I breathe in.
Smiling to this feeling, I breathe out.
(Feeling present, Smiling)

Aware of sensations in my body, I breathe in.
Smiling to the sensations in my body, I breathe out.
(Aware of sensations, Smiling)

Dwelling in the present moment, I breathe in.
Enjoying the present moment, I breathe out.
(Dwelling, Enjoying)

 

SUGGESTED PRACTICES:

1. Reflect on what your experience is of your practice this week? Is it a struggle to find time, or are you beginning to notice that you are wanting a few more minutes?

2. Walking meditation is an opportunity to bring the spirit of meditation to everything that we do. Create opportunities to bring this gentle practice into your life this week. See if it is possible to enjoy walking meditation though out your day. In Plum Village, we are all encouraged to “sign a mindfulness contract” with a staircase, or a pathway that we use regularly. We set the intention to walk every step of the staircase or pathway mindfully, and if we notice halfway through that we are walking in a hurried manner, or in forgetfulness, then we return to the beginning of the path and start again. Consider a gentle mindfulness contract this week.

 

POEM FOR WALKING MEDITATION:

Walking on the Earth is a Miracle.
Each mindful step
reveals the wondrous Dharmakaya.

 

WEEK 4: WORKING WITH EMOTIONS

Forum Thread Topic: Week 4 Guided Meditation and Recommended Practices

 

SUGGESTED GUIDED MEDITATION:

Contemplating a person in anger, I breathe in.
Seeing the suffering of that person, I breathe out.
(Contemplating anger, Seeing their suffering)

Contemplating the damage from anger to self and others, I breathe in.
Seeing that anger burns and can destroy happiness, I breathe out.
(Contemplating the damage from anger, Seeing the destruction)

Seeing anger’s roots in my body, I breathe in.
Seeing anger’s roots in my consciousness, I breathe out.
(Roots in my body, Roots in my consciousness)

Seeing the roots of anger in pride and ignorance, I breathe in.
Smiling to my own pride and ignorance, I breathe out.
(Roots in pride and ignorance, Smiling)

Recognizing the suffering of an angry person, I breathe in.
Feeling compassion for the angry person who suffers, I breathe out.
(Recognizing the suffering, Feeling compassion)

Seeing that when I am angry I am a burning house, I breathe in.
Taking care of my anger, and returning to myself, I breathe out.
(Seeing my anger, Taking care of my anger)

Nurturing these seeds, I breathe out.
(Recognizing positive seeds, Nurturing seeds)

 

SUGGESTED PRACTICES:

1. Develop your practice of walking meditation. You may like to “walk with the feet” of your mother, or father, or beloved one. Maybe walk with the feet of the Buddha.

2. Continue to maintain your morning and evening sitting meditation practice.

3. Build upon your practice of stopping described in the recommended practice for Week 2. Notice what emotion is present in you during the moments you stop. You may find it helpful to make a note of it.

 

SESSION 5: MINDFULNESS IN OUR RELATIONSHIPS

Forum Thread Topic: Week 5 Guided Meditation and Recommended Practices

 

SUGGESTED GUIDED MEDITATION:

This exercise can help us to re-establish our relationship with our parents or those we are having difficulties with. Very often when we have difficulties with someone we see them as hardened adults. Visualizing them as a five-year-old child helps us to stay in touch with them as human beings, vulnerable, with real suffering, and very much in need of our understanding and our compassion.

Breathing in, I follow my in breath all the way through.
Breathing out, I follow my out breath all the way through.
(In, Out)

Breathing in, I see myself as a five-year-old child, fragile and vulnerable.
Breathing out, I smile to the five-year-old child that is me.
(Myself five years old, Smiling)

Breathing in, I see my father as a five-year-old boy, fragile and vulnerable.
Breathing out, I smile with love and understanding to my father as a five-year-old boy.
(Father five years old, fragile and vulnerable, Smiling)

Breathing in, I see my father suffering as a child.
Breathing out, I hold my father with all my love.
(Father suffering as a child, Hold with love)

Breathing in, I see my mother as a five-year-old girl, fragile and vulnerable. Breathing out, I smile with love and understanding to my mother as a five-year-old girl.
(Mother five years old, fragile and vulnerable, Smiling with love and understanding)

Breathing in, I see my mother suffering as a child. Breathing out, I hold my mother with all my love.
(Mother suffering as a child, Hold with love)

Breathing in, I understand the difficulties that my father in me has. Breathing out, I am determined to work for the release of both my father and me.
(Understanding difficulties of father, Releasing father and me)

Breathing in, I understand the difficulties that my mother in me has.
Breathing out, I am determined to work for the release of both my mother and me.
(Understanding difficulties of mother, Releasing mother and me)

 

SUGGESTED PRACTICE:

See if you can practice stopping during other normal daily activities such as brushing your teeth or putting on your shoes. Brush your teeth in such a way that every cell in your body feels at ease. There is no need to hurry in order to do something else. We practice stopping while brushing our teeth so that we can stop the habit of running--of wanting to be somewhere other than in the here and now.

 

SESSION 6 MOVING BEYOND OUR NOTIONS

Forum Thread Topic: Week 6 Guided Meditation and Recommended Practices

 

SUGGESTED GUIDED MEDITATION:

Aware of myself as a collection of the five aggregates (form, feelings, perceptions, mental formations, and consciousness), I breathe in.
Seeing the five aggregates rooted in all that is, I breathe out.
(Myself as five aggregates, Rooted in all that is)

Aware of myself as made up of what is not myself (vapor, water, air, ancestors, habits, society, economics), I breathe in.
Seeing that my everyday perception of myself as a separate entity is in error, I breathe out.
(Separate entity, Erroneous perception)

Seeing the presence of the human species in the presence of the animal, vegetal, and mineral species, I breathe in.
Seeing that my idea of myself as belonging to a separate, independent species is in error, I breathe out.
(Humans in animal, vegetal, and mineral species; Separate species, erroneous idea)

Seeing the presence of the animal species in the presence of plants, minerals, sun, water, and air, I breathe in.
Seeing that my everyday perception of animals is in error, I breathe out.
(Animals in vegetables and minerals, Everyday perception of animals erroneous)

Aware of my life beginning at my birth and ending with my death, I breathe in.
Seeing my birth in many different forms and that I shall be present when I die in many different forms (the sun, the water, the air, the earth, ancestors, descendants, habits, society, economics), I breathe out.
(My beginning, my ending; No beginning, no ending)

Seeing that my lifespan is not bounded by the span of my birth and death, I breathe in.
Seeing that my perception of a lifespan is in error, I breathe out.
(Lifespan, Erroneous perception)

 

SUGGESTED PRACTICE:

Very often our perceptions about people, things, or situations are often wrong but we are so quick to believe that it is right. Each time you have an idea or a perception about someone or something, practice this mantra as a way to ask yourself: "Are you sure?" If, after having asked the question, you are still sure, then practice this mantra: "Check again." This practice provides us with opportunities to stop, look deeply, and check again the validity of our perceptions.

 

SESSION 7 WATERING THE SEED OF COMPASSION

Forum Thread Topic: Week 7 Guided Meditation and Recommended Practices

 

SUGGESTED GUIDED MEDITATION:

Seeing the Buddha sitting before me, I breathe in.
Joining my palms in respect, I breathe out.
(Buddha sitting, Respecting)

Seeing the Buddha in me, I breathe in.
Seeing myself in the Buddha, I breathe out.
(Buddha in me, Myself in the Buddha)

Seeing the Buddha is my mindfulness, I breathe in.
Seeing mindfulness shining near and far, I breathe out.
(Buddha is mindfulness, Mindfulness is shining)

Seeing the Buddha is my mindful breathing, I breathe in.
Seeing the Buddha is my mindful sitting, I breathe out.
(Buddha is mindful breathing, Buddha is mindful sitting)

Seeing the boundary between myself and the Buddha disappear as the Buddha smiles, I breathe in.
Seeing the boundary between the one who respects and the one who is respected disappear, I breathe out.
(Boundary between myself and the Buddha disappears, Boundary between who is respected disappears)

Seeing myself bowing deeply to the Buddha, I breathe in.
Seeing the strength of the Buddha within me, I breathe out.
(Bowing to the Buddha, Strength of the Buddha)

 

SUGGESTED PRACTICE:

Practice mindful eating. When we eat, we want to take the time to really nourish our body and to enjoy the precious and wonderful food in front of us, and not to get carried away by meaningless thinking about the past or our anxieties concerning the future. We want to eat our food and not our thinking. We chew the food thoroughly, enjoying the taste and texture in each bite, relaxing our body and our mind so that the food can truly nourish us. If possible, we can try eating for the first 10 minutes in silence. Eating in this way, we not only nourish our body and our mind, we become more in-tuned with what we ingest and with what our body really needs. We honor our exchange with the cosmos.

 

SESSION 8 LIBERATION THROUGH MINDFULNESS

Forum Thread Topic: Week 8 Guided Meditation and Recommended Practices

 

SUGGESTED GUIDED MEDITATION:

Maintaining the awareness of your in-breath and your out-breath, follow this guided meditation:

May I learn to look at myself with the eyes of understanding and love.
May he/she learn to look at him/herself with the eyes of understanding and love.
May they learn to look at themselves with the eyes of understanding and love.

May I be able to recognize and touch the seeds of joy and happiness in myself.
May he/she be able to recognize and touch the seeds of joy and happiness in him/herself.
May they be able to recognize and touch the seeds of joy and happiness in themselves.

May I learn to identify and see the sources of anger, craving, and delusion in myself.
May he/she learn to identify and see the sources of anger, craving, and delusion in him/herself.
May they learn to identify and see the sources of anger, craving, and delusion in themselves.