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Monday, October 26, 2020

Mindfulness, Compassion, Nonviolence - Series 3


 Hope you used the link and  tried the practice. That guided meditation was one of the fundamentals I learnt from Rev. Thich Nath Hanh (affectionately call Thay) and his disciples during the retreats I attended with him. I have also been practicing them regularly since.

Sitting quiet is not easy. In Tamil language, an advice made famous by Thaymanavar, a saint from the 16th century is “Summa iru” meaning “stay quiet and/or silent”. Here is his full poem:  

சும்மா இருப்பதுவே சுட்டற்ற பூர்ணமென்று எம்மால் அறிதற்கு எளிதோ பராபரமே   

There is a beautiful poem on Keeping Quiet  by Pablo Neruda, the famous poet from Chile. Here is a link to that poem.

He starts with “Now we will count to twelve and we will all keep still for once on the face of the earth, let’s not speak in any language” and ends by saying :”perhaps a huge silence might interrupt this sadness of never understanding ourselves and of threatening ourselves with death. Now I’ll count up to twelve and you keep quiet and I will go”. 

It is possible with strong intention and determination to sit quiet for a few minutes and practice daily. How else can you focus and meditate if you cannot even sit for a few minutes? There are a few among us who just cannot sit still. The best method for them is to learn walking meditation. Yes, Buddhist system  teaches us how to walk mindfully. In Mindful Meditation, you learn to me mindful doing whatever you are doing.

One more point before I start the next session. This is about physiology. Focus on breathing is part of all systems of meditation. It is now well-established that slow breathing stimulates the vagus nerve, which is a part of the parasympathetic nervous system of our body. Just breathing slow and even has been shown to be associated with slower heart rate, lowering of blood pressure and muscle relaxation. Conversely, you will experience slowing down of your parade of thoughts when the respiration slows down. In Mindful Meditation, normal breathing is the anchor. There is no special way of breathing. It can be practiced anywhere, any time. These are the reasons I am so much in favor of this method of meditation.

Now, you may wish to practice breathing mindfully using the following link before we meet again:

Mindful Breathing Meditation with Thich Nhat Hanh

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