(Breath – Metta - Hair-Teeth-Backbone, Blood - SPACE)
Dear fellow practitioners – introducing a very special and interesting Guided Meditation.
With this particular guided meditation I have attempted to illustrate an important and beautiful process, wherein we can incline the mind to peace and well-being with wholesome 'calming' practices (breath and metta meditation)… and then deepen the clarity and peace in the mind further with focused wise contemplation. So our breath and metta meditation moves into a sincere investigation of certain parts of the body (Hair, Teeth, Bones, Blood) We then also contemplate these separate parts as the elements that they are primarily comprised of (bones = earth / blood = water) If we can stay with these focused contemplations with true sincerity and interest, meditators often find that in seeing the parts of the body separately, and then in seeing them as the fundamental elements that they are made up of, the habitual 'sense of self' or 'sense of identification' that often pervades the mind, is able to simply 'fall away.' When this occurs there is often a truly wonderful sense of space and clarity and ease in the mind. The meditation ends with inclining the mind of the meditator to truly notice that vast 'sense of space' that is always there, but often not noticed. When we can see our bodies, thoughts and emotions as arising and ceasing in empty space, we are able to take all of these things much less personally, which is always a relief! The resulting increase in clarity and wisdom however actually helps us to make better choices in our lives and to love with more joy and ease.
These are sophisticated and powerful practices and I feel truly honoured to share them here. Some of the themes may be new to some meditators, so please do try the meditation a few times before you decide whether it works or not. There are many ways to contemplate the body as parts and these parts as elements, and these 'Contemplative Meditations' are truly powerful tools to learn how to utilise in the process of weakening and uprooting delusion – and subsequently purifying the mind. The purified mind experiences unceasing bliss!... so it is certainly a good thing to commit to this process with sincerity and interest.
May you derive truly excellent results from your sincere investigations!
May we all experience the bliss of the purified mind!
Ajahn Achalo Bhikkhu
This is a reading from the transcript of a talk that Ajahn Anan gave at the annual gathering at Ajahn Chah's monastery in Ubon Rachathani province, Northeast Thailand. Here Tan Ajahn relays his understanding of Ajahn Chah's teachings to the best of his considerable abilities. Ajahn Anan describes the need to energetically and determinedly maintain consistent mindfulness with the use of various meditation methods and tools. Once mindfulness is consistent it must then be actively engaged in the task of maintaining virtuous mental, verbal and physical actions. When virtue is stable and meditation is consistent, various forms of concentration of 'skillful collectedness' arise in the mind. Tan Ajahn then explains that this kind of 'collectedness' must then be utilised to investigate the nature of the body and to experience the non-verbal awareness that 'let's go' of delusion and see's life in accordance with deeper truth… that is that neither one's own body or the bodies of others are 'self.' Seeing the 'not-self' nature of the body in this clear and deep way, attachment to thoughts, feelings and emotions is also uprooted.
In maintaining good clear mindfulness and consistent virtue, and in seeing the truth of 'not-self,' practitioners learn to understand both the conventional and ultimate realities. Seeing the tremendous value of virtue and the wholesome attitude of Loving-Kindness, one continues to relate to others with great care and skill, yet at the same time this profound virtue acts as the foundation that enables the practitioner to experience the spaciousness of a mind that does not 'cling' to perceptions of self and other.
This is a beautifully clear and direct talk, I hope that you may find it as helpful as I have.
Ajahn Achalo Bhikkhu
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