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Lions Roar : March 2015
Then, send loving-kindness to yourself. Loving yourself means accepting yourself as you are, with your faults and short- comings. It means being a friend to yourself, rather than being angry that you aren’t the way you’d like to be; acknowledging the good in yourself; and wishing yourself happiness. Accept that you want to be happy and you deserve to be happy, and wish yourself all the happiness and goodness there is. You can say to yourself words such as the following: “May I be happy. May I be safe, free from harm and danger. May I have all that I need to be truly happy, peaceful, and satisfied. May all my thoughts and actions be positive, and all my experiences good.” (Feel free to change the words as you wish.) Imagine that the warm energy of loving-kindness in your heart radiates out, gradually filling your body and mind, and you become suffused with happiness. Do this practice for at least five minutes a day until you are accustomed to it. Then you can gradually do longer sessions, and begin to generate loving-kindness for other people, start- ing with friends and relatives, then people you don’t know very well, and eventually even those you have difficulty with. Dedication Conclude the meditation by dedicating the positive energy you have created to all beings, wishing that they find happiness and, ultimately, enlightenment. KATHLEEN MACDONALD (Sangye Khadro) was ordained as a Buddhist nun in 1974. She is the author of Awakening the Kind Heart and How to Meditate. A Bridge to Daily Life GIL FRONSDAL teaches Walking Meditation Walking meditation is a powerful bridge between formal sitting practice and our daily life, helping us be more present and con- centrated in our ordinary activities. Here’s how I do it: 1. First, find a pathway about thirty to forty feet long, and simply walk back and forth. Walking in a circle is more commonly done, but, in my opinion, the rhythm of doing so may sometimes foster and conceal a wandering mind. At the end of the path, come to a full stop, turn around, stop again, and then start again. 2. Find a pace that gives you a sense of ease. Fast walking might be appropriate when you are sleepy. When the mind is calm and alert, slow walking may feel more natural. 3. Let your attention settle into the body. I sometimes find it restful to think of letting my body take me for a walk. Feel the sensations of each step. 4. As an aid to staying present, you can use quiet mental label- ing for your steps. The label might be “stepping, stepping” or “left, right.” Labeling also points the mind toward what you want to observe. If after a while you notice that you are saying “right” for the left foot and “left” for the right foot, you know your attention has wandered. When walking more slowly, you might try breaking each step into phases and using the tradi- tional labels “lifting, placing.” If powerful emotions or thoughts arise and call your atten- tion away from the sensations of walking, it is often helpful to stop walking and attend to them. When they are no longer compelling, you can return to the walking meditation. You might also find that something beautiful or interesting catches your eye while you’re walking. If you can’t let go of it, stop walking and do “looking” meditation. Continue walking when you have finished looking. Some people find that their minds are more active or distracted during walking than during sitting meditation. This may be because walking is more active and the eyes are open. If so, don’t be discouraged and don’t think that walking is thus less useful. It may in fact be more useful to learn to practice with your more everyday mind. GIL FRONSDAL is co-teacher at the Insight Meditation Center in Redwood City, California. His most recent book is Unhindered: A Mind- ful Path Through the Five Hindrances. FEET:WWW.ETSY.COM/SHOP/NEPALBEADSHOP SHAMBHALA SUN MARCH 2015 59