** If you see your Guru as a Buddha, you will recieve the blessings of a Buddha ** If you see your Guru as a Boddhisatva, you will recieve the blessings of a Boddhisatva ** If you see your Guru as a friend, you will only receive the blessings of a friend **

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September 2020
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Meditation

Today, I wanted to share with you a simple way to practice meditation in everyday life.

First, we should not think that undertaking the practice of meditation is some kind of rule that we must impose on ourselves. We should not force ourselves to practice meditation, since this approach will not lead to positive results. Meditation is about getting used to a healthy way of thinking and living peacefully within. In everyday life, we tend to get entangled with unhealthy thoughts, which leads to an unsettled mind, so we practice meditation to develop inner calm, since internal peace is more important and more powerful than external conditions.

The practice of meditation is also about knowing ourselves better. Due to our busy way of life, we ordinarily focus our attention outwardly rather than inwardly, despite the fact that the main solution to our problems such as dissatisfaction and unhappiness actually lies within. By maintaining our attention on our inner state and cultivating mindfulness of our thoughts and emotions, we have the power to make our precious lives more meaningful. Moreover, as many great masters have advised time after time, remaining attentive to the present moment will greatly help us to protect ourselves and others from the ill effects of ignorance and negative emotions, which are the causes  of suffering. 

We should also dispel the misconception that we must embrace meditation in order to be happy. In fact, it is other way around: in order to be successful in meditation, we should first learn the ultimate benefits of meditation, which will help us generate interest in practicing meditation. In other words, we must be happy to practice meditation rather to embrace meditation simply for the purpose of finding happiness. Furthermore, when it comes to the practice of meditation, it is important to learn from qualified gurus. Although there are many helpful techniques and tips which we might find in books, in order to properly progress and ultimately perfect our practice of meditation, it is essential to seek guidance from a qualified guru about the proper application of meditation techniques, personalized oral instructions, and details about the correct sitting posture. It is important to keep in mind that there are many ways to practice meditation, and we cannot say that another person’s instructions are wrong simply because they are different from what our teacher may have taught us. There is no one right method for practicing meditation: it is not “my way or the highway.” Therefore, in my opinion, it is wise to learn any form of Buddhist practice from qualified masters. By applying their wise instructions with your right effort, you will be able to enhance your practice of meditation.

As I have learned from great masters, when we begin to practice meditation, we should initially spend about five to ten minutes per session at the most. In order to practice well, you should follow a similar routine and keep this up for a week or even months, because if we want to perfect the practice of meditation, we should not rush. If we make a false start, then since we will lack a proper foundation, it will hinder our progress in the long run. After all, when it comes to the practice of meditation, quality is more important than quantity, and as a practitioner, we should never rush but should keep a long-term perspective. 

I have personally found that applying a breathing technique is very effective, and I recommend that you begin with this technique. First, as you prepare to practice, you should look for a quiet place and sit on a comfortable cushion, but make sure that it is not too comfortable or else you might get sleepy and start to see stars! Once you have found a proper seated posture, you should focus on your breath. The first step is to inhale until your focus and breath reach four inches below the navel. Then retain your focus and breath at that location for as long as you can do so without any discomfort, being careful to be gentle with yourself. If you can comfortably do so, hold the breath and focus four inches below the navel for at least for 21 seconds and as you reach your threshold, gently exhale. To summarize, the technique is to focus on inhaling, retaining four inches below navel, and then exhaling. 

If you find it difficult to retain your breath, then you can simply breathe normally while focusing on the place four inches below navel where all the energies are concentrated. Regardless of whether or not you practice breath retention, you should make sure that you remain fully present throughout the session. Initially, you might count seven rounds of breath three times, and then take a few seconds break before continuing with the breathing technique again. Eventually you can work up to 21 sessions and even on up to 100 sessions per day. Above all, the most important advice I can offer is to practice every day. There is no vacation when it comes to the practice of meditation! Wishing each of you all the very best for your successful practice of meditation.