Using Humbleness & Happiness Mindfully
Summary: Bhante explains how meditation is this unique activity that allows us to develop the way we see ourselves. He also explains how what we do in the meditation cushion can influence our lives beyond the meditation session:
- Looking inwards instead of at external things or people to improve ourselves
- Using humbleness and happiness as tools for continuous growth, and not just as mere thoughts or emotions
Characteristics of the Mind
Summary: Bhante described how there are four characteristics of the mind that manifest during meditation:
- Mind doesn’t know the distance
- Mind travels by itself
- Mind doesn’t have a body
- Mind is the most powerful controller of yourself
The Four Houses: How to Grow During the Pandemic
Summary: Bhante gives guidance on how to deal with the pressures of living during a pandemic by introducing the concept of Brahmavihara or “The Four Safe Houses”. These include:
- Metta – loving-kindness or benevolence
- Karuna – compassion
- Mudita – empathetic joy
- Upeksa – equanimity
You can read more about Brahmavihara here
How do we abuse our minds and bodies unmindfully?
Summary Bhante Sathi and attending meditators talk about their practice and experienced observations and about observing in the ways we tend to abuse our minds and bodies. As a mindful person and a meditator, it’s important to understand why we do the things we do. It is also relevant to be conscious about whether these ‘things’ support and nurture our minds and bodies or if they are unbeneficial for us. Close observations of our daily routines and habits can help us identify and mindfully understand the reasons behind our behaviors and how to improve ourselves through our daily meditation practice and its application to the rest of our day.
Background information Bhante Sathi asked about daily meditation practice from the previous day, about observing in what ways we abuse our minds and bodies due to the lack of mindfulness (not captured in the audio recording) – Recorded online on April 3, 2020.
Understand the Nature of our Minds
Summary: Bhante Sathi speaks about the nature of the mind, to constantly have thought coming and going, and to actively observe those thoughts without engaging with them. As a beginner meditator, it’s easy to get distracted by the thought during meditation and get involved with those thoughts, but with practice we are able to become observers. Cultivating awareness of how the mind works, it’s an active job; same as the farmer who must actively take care of the weeds to ensure the trees planted can grow. Practice mindfulness to cultivate and support the growth of love, compassion, and kindness and stop supporting emotions like anger, frustration, or fear.
Allow yourself to smile when thoughts come to your mind during meditation and just observe them and allow then to pass without engaging, without labeling them.
Recorded online on March 28, 2020.
The Power of Habits and Reliving the Past as a Movie
Summary: Sathi talks about how habits can control our life and suggests ways to catch those habits in action. He also talks about how the past can become our own personal movie. Mindfully you can notice this and not be caught up, reliving the past, but live in the present moment, one breath at a time.
Recorded on April 1, 2020, online.
Meditation Spaces – Physical and Mental
Summary: Sathi talks about how different physical spaces can affect your meditation practices. He also gives some tips on what makes an environment more inviting to meditation. Several meditators shared their own experience with the effect of different spaces as well as setting up a special place for their meditation practice.
Recorded on March 14, 2020.
Beginner’s Mind – Appreciating the Quiet – Reshaping Yourself
Summary: This meditation class was held online. Here are some excerpts from the conversation that took place after the meditation. It ranged from a seasoned meditator discovering that she is still a beginner, to appreciating the quiet, closing with a metaphor of creating the dough for baking bread. Meditation is two-fold, preparing your mind (making the dough) and then reshaping it into something new (baking the bread.)
Recorded on March 16, 2020.
Metta and Family Situations
Summary: The meditation class asks Sathi about different situations dealing with teenagers and family based on the Metta Meditation. For example, if there is a conflict, who has the expectations? Just you. You are the one who is carrying the expectations. Now, who is failing to meet those expectations? Them.
Sathi talks about expectations. You keep having expectations. They are failing to keep those expectations. You can see how imbalanced the situation is. Who is wrong? It is you. Because you are the one who is carrying the expectations. Sathi also discusses not being “nice” all the time, but instead, the responsibility of having Metta and being a Noble Friend.
Recorded on March 8, 2020, at the Meditation Center in Chaska, Minnesota.
Finding Your Way – The Eightfold Path
Summary: Sathi outlines the Eightfold Path showing how each step works with the others and highlighting the negative and positive approaches to each step. To practice the Eightfold Path, you don’t have to claim yourself as a Buddhist. You only have to be a human being. Any human being can practice this and experience the results.
Recorded on March 2, 2020, at the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship in Mankato, Minnesota.