EMOTIONS AND PRACTICE
Far too often mindfulness practice is presented in terms of a technical endeavour. We have advice on what to do when sitting, how to hold the hands, how to breath, how to deal with distractions, and so on. It gets reduced to a kind of mental fitness class. It becomes “stress-reduction” or something equally insipid.
At our quarterly retreat yesterday we spent our practice time working with 3 practices which only occasionally get included in mindfulness training. The practices were:
2. Compassion (or karuna-bhavana)
3. Loving kindness (or metta-bhavana)
These , especially the 2nd and 3rd , have become more present in teaching these days. These are crucial practices to include in mindful living because they push us beyond the merely technical, into an awareness of interdependence. They invite us to acknowledge that our lives are inextricably intertwined with those of countless others, named and not, known and not.
Most of those who participated commented, as well, on the difficulty we have in extending understanding and good wishes towards ourselves. We are own harshest critics, stingy with our kindness and unforgiving in our judgments when directed inward. Engaging in practices like compassion and loving kindness encourage us to crack open that limitation and allow ourselves to lighten up on our selves.
The RMML Centre is closed from February 20-28 while Ray is away.