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Lions Roar : May 2017
MINDFULNESS Instruction by THICH NHAT HANH Set aside a room or corner or a cushion that you use just for sitting. The sound of a bell is a wonderful way to begin sitting medi- tation. If you don’t have a bell, you can download a recording of the sound of a bell onto your phone or computer. When you sit, keep your spinal column quite straight, while allowing your body to be relaxed. Relax every muscle in your body, including the muscles in your face. Consider smiling slightly, a natural smile. Your smile relaxes all your facial muscles. Notice your breathing. As you breathe in, be aware that you are breathing in. As you breathe out, notice that you are breath- ing out. As soon as we pay attention to our breath, then body, breath, and mind come together. Every in-breath can bring joy; every out-breath can bring calm and relaxation. This is a good enough reason to sit. When you breathe in mindfully and joyfully, don’t worry about what your sitting looks like from the outside. Sit in such a way that you feel you have already arrived. If you sit regularly, it will become a habit. Even the Bud- dha still practiced sitting every day after his enlightenment. Consider daily sitting practice to be a kind of spiritual food. Don’t deprive yourself and the world of it. Zen master THICH NHAT HANH is one of the world’s leading Buddhist teachers. This instruction is adapted from his book How to Sit (Parallax). LOVING-KINDNESS (METTA) Instruction by JACK KORNFIELD First, sit comfortably and at ease, with your eyes closed. Think of someone you care about and love a lot. Then let natural phrases of good wishes for them come into your mind and heart. Some of the traditional ones are, “May you be safe and protected,” “May you be healthy and strong,” and “May you be truly happy.” Then picture a second person you care about and express the same good wishes and intentions toward them. Next, imagine that these two people whom you love are offer- ing you their loving-kindness. Picture how they look at you with concern and love as they say, “May you too be safe and protected. May you be healthy and strong. May you be truly happy.” Take in their good wishes. Now turn them toward yourself. Sometimes people place their hand on their heart or their body as they repeat the phrases: “May I be safe and protected. May I be healthy and strong. May I be truly happy.” Now think of yourself as a beacon, spreading the light of loving- kindness like a lighthouse around your city, around the country, around the world, even to distant planets. Think, “May all beings far and near, all beings young and old, beings in every direction, be held in great loving-kindness. May they be safe and protected. May they be healthy and strong. May they be truly happy.” The Buddha said that the awakened heart of loving-kindness and freedom is our birthright as human beings. “If these things were not possible,” he said, “I would not teach them. But because they are possible for you, I offer these teachings of the dharma of awakening.” JACK KORNFIELD is a cofounder of the Insight Meditation Society and Spirit Rock Meditation Center and one of America’s best-known Buddhist teachers. WALKING MEDITATION Instruction by LESLIE BOOKER Walking meditation is often described as a meditation in motion. It is a bridge to integrate practice into daily life, and can be more accessible than a sitting practice for many people. How Do I Practice it? These three foundational Buddhist meditations are a good place to start. PHOTOBYJILLSHEPHERD