Tempel Smith spent a year ordained as a monk in Burma and teaches Buddhist psychology and social activism in the San Francisco Bay Area. He is currently part of the IMS/Spirit Rock Teacher Training Program.
We are in an ever changing universe, yet conventionally don't understand this. Mindfulness brings us so much intimacy with things as they truly are that we wake up to this streaming nature. We have to let go of old habits of clinging to align with the stream we are in.
In every moment of subjective experience there is a quality of pleasure, displeasure or neutrality. Bring mindfulness to the quality of Vedana trains us how not to add suffering when pain arises or pleasure fades.
From the basis of our simple practices we can include mindfulness of how intentions and actions arise in reaction to what is pleasant, unpleasant, and neutral (vedana). The unconscious actions we take in response to vedana are the conditioning circumstances for our suffering. It behooves us to raise awareness to how our reactivity to vedana further conditions our patterns of craving, aversion, and ignorance.
As we further open our hearts to include even difficult people, it is very helpful to learn how to practice forgiveness. Often when deeply hurt our hearts hold resentments and yearn for accountability before it would be willing to risk opening again. And yet when others feel out resentment, judgment and the need for accountability they too shut down defensively.
Starting with a good friend whom you have a history of love and trust, or even your companion animals, you can build a path of forgiveness. Some times we will never get full accountability, yet we can move beyond the pain of resentment to heal ourselves here and now.
With the further settling of the mind we can deepen our intimacy with the breath and body. From a wakeful connection to the body and a sense of happiness we can explore areas of pain and mental activity. With the calming of mental activity we open to deeper samadhi.
The Buddha described detailed steps we can take when developing and deepening our practice of mindful breathing. This talk covers steps 1-8 out of 16 classical steps given in discourses on this meditation.
As an introduction to Insight meditation we start with physical and mental relaxation, and then finding a home base or anchor for our attention in the stream of sounds, body sensations or what sensation arise in the body as we breathe. The first step is establishing steady calm abiding in the flow of the present.
While we often discover samadhi (whole heartedness) first on retreat, it's finding samadhi in every day life which can give us the greatest joy. How can live with a more whole attention? And joy from within?
Following the talk on the 5 jhana factors and the 5 hindrances from the night before...
We welcome a sense of contentment in our starting conditions, take interest in our breath and remind ourselves it is all we need while meditating. From here, we aim and sustain our attention.
With mindfulness of breathing as a concentration practice we intentionally develop the 5 jhana factors. We also will definitely experience their opposites. - the 5 hindrances. As the 5 jhana factors become stronger we experience fewer hindrances.