Dear fellow practitioners,
This Guided Meditation was offered to a group of diverse yet sincere meditators at Root Institute in Bodhgaya, India recently. As some in the group were practicing Breath Meditation for the first time it was necessary to offer a fair amount of instruction. I also felt that other more long-term practitioners in the group might benefit from different forms of advice and encouragement. Subsequently this Guided Meditation has multi-focused and multi-layered instructions. Some instructions are clearly about the method… some are about the need for faith and how to tap into and utilise the power of faith… some are aimed at eliciting some form of sincere commitment and determination (which is necessary)… whilst others are about our attitude and how to attenuate it skilfully in order to sustain our efforts and get the best results. The meditation moves from counting the breath… then into using the word "bud-dho", which is synonymous with "mindful awareness" … the meditation then progresses into firmly establishing metta for oneself… then towards neutral people… then finally to all beings everywhere. Many people in the group found that their minds became quite peaceful through following the instructions.
This meditation may serve well as a useful refresher if people feel that their understanding or enthusiasm has faded. Yet even experienced and inspired practitioners might benefit from some of the advice offered here, as the meditation was taught during a period where I was putting forth a great deal of effort in my own practice.
Since the meditation was offered to a group of more than 60people in rural Norther India in winter, there are some interesting background noises with which to become mindful of. Such as parrots, chickens, the sound of sweeping leaves, an occasional cough and even the odd goat here and there in the distance! I have reduced the volume of these background noises as much as possible through sound editing, however it is important to remember that the most inspired instructions do not occur in sound proofed studios, so we must be willing to work with conditions 'as they are' in our striving to practice Dhamma and realise ultimate truth.
I sincerely hope that something here is useful.
Ajahn Achalo Bhikkhu
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