Dear Still Water Friends,
Our community gathering on Thursday evening, January 15, will begin at 6:30 with an informal discussion of the basic practices of mindfulness: conscious breathing, sitting meditation, walking meditation, and mindfulness in daily life. It is a time to ask questions and share experiences.
We will have our sitting at 7:30 and after our sitting we will work with a metta meditation adapted from the fifth century text, The Path of Purification:
May I be peaceful, happy and light in body and spirit.
May I be safe and free from injury.
May I be free from anger, afflictions, fear and anxiety.
In Teachings on Love Thich Nhat Hanh suggests that we begin working with these verses as an aspiration, “May I be …” and then consider each of the elements in terms of the degree to which the object of our meditation (ourselves or someone else) is able to live in that way: “Am I ….” In this way the meditation can be transformed from a mere repeating of words to a deep intention to change lives.
As I write this I am aware of what a challenge this is. To authentically have the intention to be peaceful and happy, or to be free of anger and anxiety, requires us to deeply understand these qualities of mind: what they are, how they arise, how they are maintained, how they fall away. With this understanding, the meditations empower us. Without this understanding, the locus of control is outside of us.
A verse from Thich Nhat Hanh’s translation of the first century Sutra of Forty-Two Sections addresses this same issue:
When you understand the roots of anger in yourself and in the other, your mind will enjoy true peace, joy and lightness. You become the doctor who heals himself and heals the other.
You are invited to join us for our early discussion, our sitting, and our program.