Today, I went to the Kadampa Meditation Center in New York City to see a prominent teacher and buddhist monk give a teaching on the topic of Mindfulness. He explained that mindfulness is being able to insert wisdom into our life moment by moment. He expressed the importance of wisdom teachings and how important it is to remember them throughout our day.
In the first meditation, he guided us and gave the instruction: STOP thinking and bring your mind to focus single-pointedly on the the sensation of cool air during the inhale and experience of warm air on the exhale. I found this breathing meditation to be very relaxing.
After meditation, we are able to listen with a relaxed mind – which helps receive the teachings with understanding and clarity.
One of the main teachings was about reflecting on the kindness of others. To keep in mind at all times that we are here, we have things, we are able to speak, read, etc. all because of others. For without others, we would not have an apartment, clothes to wear, etc. so we can use these daily things to remind us to be kind. This is the very basic teaching on kindness.
He also explained “The 4 Immeasurables.” We can use these to help us train in everyday activities by using the following words (mantra’s) to improve our mindfulness practice.
1. Love – “May everyone be happy”
2. Compassion – “May everyone be free from suffering”
3. Joy – “May you never be separated from your happiness (having authentic lasting happiness)”
4. Equanimity – “May everyone have equanimity (be free from attachment/anger/hatred)”
Then, he invited us to chose 1 of the Immeasurables and meditate on it. I chose Equanimity, which led me to a deep insight. I was looking at areas in my life where I was holding on to anger and attachment. I found a few spots that I was reflecting on about my past and things I “hated.” I realized I did not want to hold on to hate. Hate is a very painful state of mind and does not benefit me or others. Holding onto hate does not make me feel good.
Seeing that I was holding onto it – empowered me to let go of it. Letting go of hate and exchanging those feelings for love – this is the essence of forgiveness and love. Even if the situation did not result in the way I desired, I realize it is in the past and I do not want to carry the same mindset that created the problem into this moment. This choice to identify more with the love in my heart will allow me to extend more kindness to others.
Reflect on your past. Where are you holding on to hate? How can you let go of it?