Muddhita – sympathetic joy

This word, muddhita, is a pali word translated to sympathetic joy.

Again, I encourage you to contemplate, what is sympathetic and what is joy, and what becomes of it when you add these two words.

To cultivate this inner state of sympathetic joy is one of the mindfulness trainings that I recommend.

These inner pleasant states of
metta – loving kindness
karuna – compassion
muddhita – sympathetic joy – are already alive inside you. You know them, all you need to do is to find them and be aware of them. It is not something new that you need to learn.

Decide when and how often you will have focus on metta, karuna and muddhita.

The training includes directing these feelings
toward yourself
toward someone you love (or at least like very much)
toward someone you dislike or have a complicated relationship
toward all sentient beings

You know in your deep inner wisdom that you want more love in the world, love is the answer, you want loving kindness, compassion and sympathetic joy to spread in the world. How do we learn things? How do we get better at something? We train, we practise.

Have a nice day, enjoy!!

Anne Vinter, 11.07.2020

Karuna

In the traditional tibetan buddhist training metta (loving kindness) is like a twin with karuna (compassion).

Metta and koruna are pali words and the translation are the two, loving kindness and compassion.

Karuna – compassion – is the desire to remove harm and suffering from others; while mettā – loving kindness – is the desire to bring about the well-being and happiness of others.

You know from yourself that you have this desire to be free from pain and suffering. Karuna is bringing this on to others, the ones you like as well as the ones you do not like, the ones you are close to as well as all the ones that you do not know.

You can bring the karuna/compassion training into your formal practise just like you have done with metta/loving kindness.

Start with yourself and get the feeling of compassion towards yourself. Compassion is very different from being sorry for or having pity with. It is a good idea to contemplate this difference. “May I be free from suffering, may I be free from pain”.

And just like in the metta training you continue with a person you like, “May you be free from suffering, may you be free from pain”.
Follow up with a person you do not like or have a difficult relation, “May you be free from suffering, may you be free from pain”.
And then in the great perspective, everybody, “May you be free from suffering, may you be free from pain”.

It is important that you keep your contact with breath and body during the training and be aware og what feelings it brings to you to desire to remove harm and suffering from the world.

Anne Vinter, 02.06.2020

Metta III

So, is your metta practise working? Your loving kindness practise – cultivating your mind with loving kindness.

Remember, only do it if it works for you, no struggle

And please be aware that you can practise each of the four elements, you do not need to take them all every time.

Loving kindness towards a person you like and with whom your relationship is uncomplicated

Loving kindness towards yourself

Loving kindness towards a person whom you dislike, with whom your relationship is complicated.

Loving kindness towards the whole world, all sentient beings, the planet

It might be supportive for you to put your right hand where your heart is. Because love and kindness radiate from the heart.

Anne Vinter, 24.06. 2020

Metta, II

So this posting is the second part of practising metta, loving kindness.

In the previous post I mentioned two objects for the metta practise

  1. a person you like and with whom you have an uncomplicated relation
  2. yourself

Now the next two objects to include in the metta practise is

3. a person you do not like and with whom you have a complicated relationship

4. the world, you practise loving kindness towards all sentient beings

It is important to keep awareness on your own breathing and body reactions while you focus your attention to one of the four objects. If you decide to use 10 unites on the metta practice it means that you use 2 1/2 minutes of focused attention on each of the four objects: a person you like, yourself, a person you do not like, the world.

Try out the metta practise and if your experience is smooth, it works for you, then decide to do it once a month or once a week, whatever suits you.

And do what you plan and decide. If you do not do it – make a new plan and a new decision. Do not struggle and do not let all this “I should” invade your mental state. Enjoy, do what feels good, go with the flow and at the same time be serious and keep your focus.

Anne Vinter 20.06.2020

Metta

As we know, the mindfulness meditation that we are practising comes from many traditions – and one of them is buddhism. The metta practise is well known in buddhism.

The word “metta” is a pali word, and it can be translated into “loving kindness”.

Start with a little contemplation. What does love mean, or to be loving? What does it mean to love somebody? And what does kind mean? What does it mean to be kind to somebody, to show this person kindness? And what does it mean then, to add the two, loving and kindness together?

The practise is like this.

First you sit and do your thing, get grounded, contact with body, contact with breath, open senses. And then – and this does not need to take more than 30 seconds, but it takes the time it takes, some days it is more difficult to bring yourself present – when you find yourself in this balanced, grounded, present state, you bring to mind a person, that you like and with whom you hav an uncomplicated relation.

See this person in front of you, in your imagination. And think deliberately, “May you be happy”, “May you be healthy”, “May you be free from suffering”. Repeat these sentences like mantras while you keep your person imaginary in front of you.

You do this for a while, 3 – 5 minutes, and then you focus your attention on how this feels in your own system. What is it like to actually wish somebody else the best?

And then you put yourself in the place of this beloved person, you change your focus af attention to yourself, and you repeat, “May you be happy”, “May you be healthy”, “May you be free from suffering” towards yourself for 3 – 5 minutes, and then observe what it is like in your system, what is your inner experience of wishing yourself the best, from this openhearted position.

For many people it is more difficult than with somebody else.

Welll, and then there is a third part, but we can take that another day!!

Anne Vinter, 13.06.2020

Witness and consciousness

Once you have been meditating for some time you realise that your consciousness has many, maybe countless realms.

You realise that you identify with your thoughts and feelings and you begin to experience what it is like when you do not identify, but instead practise awareness. To be aware of is different from to be. I am aware of is different from I am.

The state of being aware is what we call the witness or the witness function of consciousness. The witness is neutral, the witness is not judging, the witness is plainly aware and the witness is not identifying. And the witness is aware of everything. Anywhere you point your attention or anywhere your attention is drawn to, the witness is – well – the witness is witnessing.

Consciousness is the space where whatever you are aware of appears.

Anything and everything appears in consciousness and you do not know what is coming next. You do not know which sounds you are going to hear. And you do not know which tone of feeling is going to appear next. But no matter what appears you are able to be aware of it, because it is appearing in your consciousness. It can be things in the present moment, it can be memories from the past, or it can be thoughts about the future. Whatever appears in consciousness your witness knows of it, pleasant or unpleasant – you witness, you are aware.

Anne Vinter 06.05.2020

Impermanence

It is quite interesting, actually, how our mind seems to perceive everything as static and wanting everything to be stable and predictable.

Reality is: Everything is changing, nothing is the same. We say in these corona times, “nothing will be the same after corona” and for many people it means it will not change to the better. But corona or not, nothing will be the same tomorrow. Ever.

People are born, people die, people are ill, people are cured, people love, people hate, people are hungry, people eat. A new day dawns, the sun goes up and the sun goes down, rain falls, plants grow. Seasons change. The light changes all the time during the day and you never really know what is going to happen next. You have some expectations based on experience, but actually you do not know.

Awareness rising on these matters are helpful to stabilise your mental health and even improve it. If you are aware of any happiness in your body mind system you know it is important to be grateful and glad and sink into this feeling, enjoy it, be in it. Because it will end. And it will come back.

As Rumi tells us in “The guesthouse” welcome any feeling, anything that happens, welcome it. Everything is part of your life, everything you become aware of is one tiny bit of the universe.

The planet is spinning and everything is impermanent,

Anne Vinter, 29.05.2020

Punctuate your day

I still ask myself: Why am I doing this? Assuming that it should bring me somewhere……. because truth is, I am already there. I am here.

So – I just do it. Slowly. like the water dropping on the stone, the mind is cultivated. From day to day or from week to week there is nothing to notice but over a longer period of time some awareness is learned and brought into practise during the day; not only during the formal practise session, but during the day.

This is an important step, to bring your mindfulness into your life. Let us be honest. Most of the time we are not aware, we are not present, we are floating around in the never ending stream of thoughts, ideas, problem solving. We forget to experience the present moment, even though the present moment is what our life actually consists of. We forget to be kind. We forget other people. We are taken, we are swept away.

Make a decision. Punctuate your day. Every time you enter the bathroom you take three breaths with awareness. And maybe you will remember this once. But still. Punctuate your day. Every time you open the door to the washing machine to put clothes either in or out, you take three breaths with awareness.

When you slice the bread.

When you open the refrigerator.

When you turn on the tap for fresh water.

When……..

22.05.2020 Anne Vinter

Mary Oliver

Here is another poem that I love for mindful contemplation.
Do this: read out the text loud for yourself, three times. This in itself might feel awkward, but do not let that stop you, just notice the awkwardness – or whatever.

Then take 10 – 15 minutes of silent contemplation, just being aware of what occurs ind the space of consciousness – thoughts, feelings, whatever.
Just relax, and welcome whatever arises. Be curious.

The Summer Day
by Mary Oliver

Who made the world?
Who made the swan, and the black bear?
Who made the grasshopper?
This grasshopper, I mean-
the one who has flung herself out of the grass,
the one who is eating sugar out of my hand,
who is moving her jaws back and forth instead of up and down-
who is gazing around with her enormous and complicated eyes.
Now she lifts her pale forearms and thoroughly washes her face.
Now she snaps her wings open, and floats away.
I don’t know exactly what a prayer is.
I do know how to pay attention, how to fall down
into the grass, how to kneel down in the grass,
how to be idle and blessed, how to stroll through the fields,
which is what I have been doing all day.
Tell me, what else should I have done?
Doesn’t everything die at last, and too soon?
Tell me, what is it you plan to do
with your one wild and precious life?

from New and Selected Poems, 1992
Beacon Press, Boston, MA

Copyright 1992 by Mary Oliver

Anne Vinter 13.05.2020

Isn’t enough enough?

So.

You sit there.

Doing your formal practise.

Aware of body. Aware of breathing. You have done it many, many times before. And it is never the same. The experience can be somewhat like an experience you have had before, but it is never the same.

You are aware of your curiosity, allowing every moment to be just as it is.

Aware of your senses. Sounds. Eyes open, eyes closed, there is something there, entering the scene of your consciousness, you become aware of light and darkness, sun and shadow, colours and forms.

Aware of your feelings. Pleasant or unpleasant, feelings arrive in consciousness. Aware. Witnessing. It is as it is. And the feelings change.

Body relaxed. And your whole system is awake.

The thoughts come and go, as thoughts do. Sometimes it is like a queue of unending thoughts, sometimes it is more open and quiet. Becoming aware, witnessing it all. Accepting. It is as it is.

An then you KNOW, suddenly, this present moment IS actually your life. Isn’t that enough ?

Anne Vinter, 07.05.2020