Survival tips when meditating:
Be clear of your intention. Before you begin to meditate, say in your mind that you intend to be mindful for the next few minutes. Or, say that you intend to develop more compassion and loving kindness in the next few minutes.
Have a half smile on your face. It makes the experience more fun rather than hard work. You are trying to be calm and peaceful, not stressed.
When you get distracted (which WILL happen many times), be kind to yourself and say that it’s perfectly normal. Then gently and kindly bring back your attention to the object of meditation. This step is important if you are impatient or have a tendency to be hard on yourself. You are not in a competition. You are doing this to increase your happiness so learn to be easy on yourself.
If you are a beginner, try 5 minutes a day to start with. Once 5 minutes is achievable, then try 6 minutes for a few days or a week, then 7 and so on. Regular practitioners reserve at least 20 minutes daily to meditation.
Joining or starting a regular meditation group will enhance your practice.
Meditations to develop Mindfulness (living in the present moment)
Why meditate? Ajahn Chandako, an American Buddhist monk explains what meditation is, in particular, mindfulness meditation. This is a good introduction before you launch into the practice of mindfulness meditation.
Living Mindfully on a Daily Basis
In addition to practicing Mindfulness of the Breath Meditation, one can live mindfulness throughout the day. In our hurried existence, learning how to be aware of the present moment many times during the day can make our day to day grind a joy to experience.
For beginners who find sitting and focusing on a meditation object (like the breath) too difficult, walking meditation is an easier place to start. One uses the process of walking as the object of focus. If you can do walking meditation, there is no stopping you from being mindful while washing the dishes, folding laundry, exercising, looking at an artwork, listening to music and even eating. You can practice meditation throughout the day!
Brief Walking Meditation by U Vansa
A wandering mind is perfectly normal for most people. However, many meditation beginners equate a wandering mind and distractability with failure in their meditation practice. An alternative for beginners in meditation is to consider walking meditation first before trying sitting meditation. If one can practice walking meditation for a few minutes regularly, one can then progress to doing other meditations while washing the dishes, folding or ironing clothes, while exercising or while performing other daily routine activities.
The breath has been one of the most common objects of meditation. Vidyamala and U Vansa guides us in two classic mindfulness of the breath exercises. Mindfulness exercises have existed for more than 2500 years and remain relevant today. Only in the past 20 years did western medicine discover the clinical significance of these eastern practices.
Mindfulness teaches us how to respond to situations calmly and not just react on reflex. We become more aware, in a non judgemental manner of our intentions, mental and emotional states and physical sensations. We learn how to accept things as they are, not imposing our preconceived biases or prejudices to people, thoughts, emotions, sensations and situations. We learn to embrace the present. Studies show that regularly practising Mindfulness of the Breath for 2 months can result in improvements in anxiety, and higher levels of contentment and calm. These techniques are now standard treatments in helping patients with chronic pain, depression, insomnia and even terminal illnesses.
Brief Sitting Meditation by U Vansa (excellent for beginners)
A short version of mindfulness meditation using the breath as the object of focus. This is a good sampler on mindulfness meditation for beginners. If one can do mindfulness meditation for 3 minutes every day for a week, then one might consider doing 4 minutes the following week and so forth. Studies have shown that regular meditation for about 2 months can bring about changes in one's perspective, mental health and possibly physical well being.
Guided Meditation on Mindfulness of the Breath
The breath has been one of the most common objects used for calming and meditation techniques. Vidyamala guides us in a classic mindfulness of the breath exercise. This exercise has existed for more than 2500 years and remains relevant in calming our minds. In a more profound level, it teaches us how to learn to respond to situations and not just react. Studies show that regularly practicing Mindfulness of the Breath for 2 months can result in improvement in anxiety, higher levels of contentment and calm.
This guided meditation practice helps us to develop habits of greater ease and awareness of the body. Adopting a comfortable posture, lying down or sitting, we scan through the whole body with our awareness, using the breath to let go of areas of pain and tension.
Meditations to develop Loving Kindness and Compassion
Empathy and compassion are our core nature. We are social creatures designed to care for each other. Our brains are wired to get a happiness kick when we care for others. If it is not possible to physically help and care, wishing and thinking kind thoughts towards others can bring benefits as well.
In almost all cultures and religions, people are taught (and commanded) to love their neighbours. In reality, this is hard to do if your neighbour is annoying! There are practical techniques that all of us can learn in order to cultivate genuine love and compassion to people around us ( even the annoying ones). Aside from benefiting people around you, you will benefit the most.
This is an introductory talk by Ajahn Chandako on loving kindness.
Developing Loving Kindness, Compassion and Forgiveness
In almost all cultures and religions, people are taught (and commanded) to love their neighbours. In reality, this is hard to do in particular if your neighbour is truly annoying! There are practical techniques that all of us can learn in order to cultivate genuine love and compassion to people around us. Aside from benefiting people around you, you will benefit the most.
Sharon Salzberg, one the world’s best known teachers of loving kindness guides us in two beautiful loving kindness meditation tracks. This is a good introduction for beginners to Loving Kindness Meditation. The goal is to enhance feelings of compassion and connectedness to ourselves, other people and other beings. Loving Kindness meditation has been practiced for at least 2 thousand years but she makes it fresh and new for us.
Brief Loving Kindness Meditation while Sitting by Sharon Salzberg
This is a good introduction for beginners to Loving Kindness Meditation. The goal is to increase enhance feelings of compassion and connectedness to ourselves, other people and other beings. Loving Kindness meditation has been practiced for at least 2 thousand years.
The next track is an active form of meditation combining walking and loving kindness meditation. The goal is to incorporate loving kindness aspirations in our routine thinking process. Instead of constantly being immersed in our worries, or constant ruminations, a loving kindness wish to ourselves and other beings becomes an oasis in our busy and frenetic minds. One can perform this easy meditation for 5 minutes and up to 30 minutes if one so desires. One can also do random internal wishes of loving kindness to other people and other beings while walking down the road, in the shops, while at work, saying quietly “May I be happy, well and be at peace. May you be happy, well and be at peace”
Brief Loving Kindness Meditation while Walking by Sharon Salzberg
This is an active form of meditation combining walking and loving kindess meditations. The goal is to incorporate loving kindness aspirations in our routine thinking process. Instead of constantly being immersed in our worries, a loving kindess wish to ourselves and other beings becomes an oasis in our busy and frenetic minds.
Guided Meditation on Loving Kindness or Kindly Awareness
This meditation practice helps us feel more positive, accepting and kindly towards both ourselves and others and helps us develop a sense of equanimity towards both the pain and pleasure in life.
Download the audio files
These audio files are available for download as a single zip file from the Downloads page.