More Mindful Self-Compassion Meditations

In my previous posts I mentioned there is a good scientific evidence that a regular meditation practice has many health benefits. Only way to get these benefits is by doing the practice everyday.

Click on the  link below for a fantastic resource on self compassion meditations.

Meditations :: Downloads – Mindful Self-Compassion

 

Body Scan Meditation.

It is so important to be connected and be aware of how your body feels at all times. The body provides so much information to our brain, either consciously or unconsciously that it affects how happy, sad or at peace we feel. If we can learn how to be in our bodies it goes a long ways towards influencing and dealing with our emotions. I can tell you more about the benefits of this meditation but they are not realized without regular practice.

More On The Visit To China

West lake Hotel

As I said in the last post the visit was very enjoyable. Our friend who lives both in Canada and China, wanted to show us different China than one I had seen in 1997 and then again in 2004.

The first thing I notice on my arrival to China was a new, very modern and clean airport; I was pleasantly surprised. I was ready to embrace the crowds and the pollution as I stepped out of the airport; pleasantly surprised because our friend had arranged to pick us up in a Toyota Highlander. Even though it was rush hour traffic we were very comfortable riding in the Toyota. We arrived at our friends place, top floor pant house with 360-degree view of the Beijing. It felt like we were in a Sacred Sanctuary and cares of the world were left at the doorstep. In slept like baby in a luxurious bed.

My friend’s Home

We woke up and was treated to fine breakfast of congee, French butter and beget, eggs, freshly brewed coffee and not to mention local fresh fruit. In the evening we had dinner at a restaurant that specialized in dumplings. I never tasted such dumplings; they had extra juice in it that exploded in your mouth with delicious flavors when you bit into them. Apparently it is quite a skill to get them just right.

Next day we went Hangzhou on air china first class, very nice.  We took a Cab to a historic Westlake Hotel, this is where Chairman Mao used to come for his retreats and foreign dignitaries often stay here too, apparently Henry Kissinger and President Bush were guests. Walking along the lake was beautiful and weather was perfect sunny 22 degrees. The food at the hotel was excellent, I had leisurely three-hour breakfast the first day we arrived.

West lake Hotel

West lake Hotel

We went to see an accomplished, locally well-known, herbalist. He showed us the local herbs and what they were used for. He is an old man but loved to show off to local young men by putting his arms around the Canadian girls. He apparently has a gift of insight about people and some of us were astonished how accurate his insights were about us. After he had finished showing the herbs he got his moon shine out and poured it out for everyone, whether one wanted or not. I could handle one small glass and switched to real wine my friend had brought along. As the evening went on he entertained us with his guitar and sang old revolutionary songs.

The Herbalist

Herbalist Entertaining

Playing with the Herbalist

From the west lake we went to San Qing Shan Mountain. It was about six-hour ride and when you thought the trip couldn’t get any better, once again we were surprised. The mountains were astonishing beautiful but different. I can see now why the mountains in Chinese paintings are always painted differently than ones in the western painting.  It’s because they are different.  We stayed in a hotel at the top of the mountain for 3 nights. The first day we got up really early to watch the sun rise; it was a long climb to where it could be viewed from but the  experience of the sun coming up was worth every ounce of the effort needed to get up there. The next day we went all the way round the mountain and again we were blessed with a perfect weather. On the third day after a quick breakfast we made our way down the mountain and were back at the airport for the flight back to Beijing.

Hotel at the San Qing Shan Mountains.

San Qing Shan Mountains

San Qing Shan Mountains

San Qing Chan Mountains

The Sun Rises

Beijing has restaurants that cater all the world cuisines because there are so many foreigners doing business in China. All the top car producers have factories in China. Most of the cars on the road were BMW, Mercedes, Toyota, Honda, Hyundai etc and hardly any bikes on the road. Unfortunately the roads in Beijing were designed for bikes and not for cars; it is difficult to turn corners with a cars. I wouldn’t have noticed this myself until my friend pointed it out to us as he was turning a corner on the way to a Korean restaurant. The Korean food has its own taste and textures; wonderful to say the least, but I was struck with a special ice desert with fruit and sweat sauce on it, very satisfyingly light and yummy. Ice apparently has to be at just the right temperature and has to be shaved very finely from the main block.

The Market Day

The Market Day

Enjoy the photos; they will speak for themselves rather than me telling you about China. Of course its not the same as going there; the hustle bustle, the smiles, the kindness of some people and unkindness of others, the conversations, the long car rides, waiting in the airports, being with friends, just sitting and listening to the silence, appreciating the world just as it is – “perfect in that moment”, the massages, browsing book stores, visiting a tea house and talking with someone passionate about teas and strolling the open markets. It’s that much more special when all the experience of different culture strips away your own assumptions about life and you learn or see a glimpse of yourself you had long forgotten or thought you never had.

Back in Canada – Home Sweet Home

I will post more meditations soon.

The Sources of Suffering and Meditation for Cultivating Self-Compassion

I have talked about self-compassion and how powerful it can be in relieving suffering. It is not the answer to all suffering but it goes long way towards helping us to live well and flourish.

Sources of Suffering

 

There are numerous sources of suffering and here’s one way of categorizing them: –

1.It could be physical, such as when we continue to eat even after we are full, or when we drink too much and then get a hang over the next morning or when we spend hours surfing the internet sitting and getting a backache.

2. It could be mental, when we have thoughts of ill will towards ourselves or others or when we ruminate about something.

3. It could be emotional, when we feel depressed, sad, angry or fearful.

4.It could be relational, when we are unable to connect with others authentically.

5. It could be spiritual, when our values are undermined or when we don’t nurture them.

The pathway to self-compassion is to mindfully look at these areas and start to recognize and accept the suffering that maybe present. We can then use mindfulness based meditative practice to address the suffering.

Meditation for Self- Compassion

Good place to start self-compassion practice is by sitting quietly with spine straight and head held high but slightly tilted downwards.

Once you assumed a comfortable position notice your own breath going in and out your body. The breath maybe noticed going in and out by the sensation at the nostrils or by the movement of the belly going in and out or you might notice it at some other part of the body. It doesn’t matter where you notice the breath going and out of your body but the important thing is to notice the breath all the way in and all the way out of your body. Almost certainly your mind will wonder to other thoughts or images but just acknowledge that the mind is somewhere else and gently bring it back to the breath.

After two to three minutes turn your focus inwards and start to notice sensations in your body. What sort of feeling you experiencing right now?  Is there temperature differences or discomfort in different part of the body? Is there muscle tightness or tension anywhere? Is there pleasant sensation anywhere? Is some part of the body feeling lighter than another part? You may notice other experiences.

Just notice these sensations or experiences and accept them without judging whether they are good or bad. Continue this for 5-6 minutes.

Then with all your heart say the following words:-

May I be safe

May I be happy

May I be healthy

May I live with ease.

You may repeat these wards as many times as you like and when you are ready open your eyes, but try to carry any good will feeling you may have experienced during the meditation as long as you can for the rest of the day.

The idea of this meditation is not to necessarily feel good but to feel the suffering, witness it, accept it and to show compassion towards yourself. In this way we are concentrating on addressing the suffering we feel and are not engaged in blaming or calling others or ourselves derogatory names or planning how to get even with others who may have done us wrong. The wise say it’s no point wishing our enemies death because they are going to die anyway. Therefore lets just concentrate on addressing our suffering with the right thinking and right action.

It is important to have regular formal mindful practice to experience the benefit, just reading and knowing about meditation or mindful is worthless. The research confirms that the beneficial changes in the brain only occur with consistent regular practice.

Until the next time, may you be safe, may you be happy, may you be healthy and may you be at ease. I will put up some more mindful based self-compassion meditation in the future posts.

Resources: –

C.K. Germer – Open Heart, Open eyes: Practicing the Art of Self Compassion.

http://www.flickrhivemind.net for the photos

 

My Visit to China

While visiting China recently, I found I could not access my blog site. Apparently, the government has censored lots of the sites; explaining why there has been no posting for a while.

I never the less had a very interesting, entertaining and of course very enjoyable time in China. I mostly saw the rich China that only ten percent of the Chinese enjoy. I felt thoroughly pampered the whole time I was there; coming back to Canada with short period of day light hours, cold winds and having to clean my own house was little hard. I had to practice self-compassion little harder than usual until I got used to the reality again.

Here are some of the photos of China from my trip. I will post self- compassion meditation soon. Enjoy the photos and keep well.

Interchange Blog

Interchange Blog

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