Welcome to February.
Our course is going really well, and we had a lot of newcomers joining us.
This evening, the whole evening will be focussed on meditation.
Just turn up tonight https://hertfordbuddhistgroup.co.uk/zoom , or at any Tuesday between 7.15pm and 7.30pm. Newcomers are very welcome.
The current line up is as follows:
02 Feb Jnanadaya
09 Feb Padmajata
16 Feb Karunadhara
23 Feb Keith
02 March Amber
09 March Paramajyoti
Hopefully see you at some or all of these.
Have a great month!
All the best.
p.s. Excerpt from one of our favourite books: Buddhism: Tools for Living Your Life by Vajragupta © Windhorse Publications
The final stage of the loving-kindness meditation has two aspects. First, we think of the four people in the practice so far (ourselves, the good friend, the neutral person, and the difficult person), and try to cultivate this sense of well-wishing to them equally. Then we gradually include more and more people. We can do this in a number of ways. We could try to sense loving-kindness radiating out in all directions, or even visualize it in the form of light or a colour expanding outwards. Or we might imagine people in different parts of the world.
In our imaginations we can travel north, south, east, and west, trying to get a sense of all the people we might meet. Or we can bring to mind people in different situations. At this very moment babies are being born and old people are breathing their last few breaths, some people are going to bed and others are getting up to a new day, some are facing terrible suffering, while others experience joy.
Sometimes we find this stage of the practice difficult. It may have been going along quite well, but then trying to hold all these people and situations in our imagination is too much and we lose the thread. If this happens, we can take a more modest approach: just thinking of new people and situations. The principle is simply to expand outwards in whatever way we can.
Whatever technique we use, we are trying to bring about a warm well-wishing to all that live. We want anyone and everyone to be happy. This is a high ideal, but sometimes when this stage of the practice goes well, it feels as though loving-kindness is flowing through us. We can feel light, expansive, and open-hearted.
exercise – reaching out into the world
Now incorporate this final stage into your loving-kindness meditation.
You could start by thinking of people in a distant place you have recently seen on TV or read about in a newspaper, putting yourself in their shoes in the same way as in stage three. Or, if this does not help you to connect emotionally, you could try thinking of a distant place you have visited, and the people who are there right now. Alternatively, you might imagine a part of the world where you have a relative or a friend, and then imagine other people around them. The trick is to find some way of establishing an emotional connection, but not being impatient if it doesn’t always work, or takes a long time.
Through this meditation, and through using the same principles in our actual daily life, we can radically transform our emotional attitudes. We can come to a much better understanding of our own emotions and learn to see others more kindly.
Of course, we will never completely understand other people and should be careful of being too keen to analyse and think we understand them. Each of our histories, influences, and hidden potentials are too deep and subtle for that. We should always hold our opinions about people with a degree of tentativeness. In fact, we will never completely understand ourselves, let alone other people. As we grow older, one of the things we realize is that we will always be, to some extent, a mystery, even to ourselves. There will be parts of ourselves we never fully perceive or comprehend. Despite this, our understanding of ourselves and of others can always go deeper, and so, in consequence, can our ability to love.