Learning to Walk the Path with Heart
by bryan maynard
There is a path with heart. It is walking in both the awareness and the loving acceptance of what is right here, right now, within and without. Through meditation, I am learning the mental discipline of paying attention to whatever my experience is in the timeless present, and the fruit of this meditation is the connection of my mind and spirit to reality as it is and not as I wish it to be. By the gradual development of something called ‘awareness’ the meditations are training my mind to say, “ah, this is loneliness I’m experiencing” “ah, this is physical pain in my back” “ah, this is joy”
My practice is also teaching me to accept what my mind finds in the moment without fighting thoughts or feelings or the cold weather. I simply note my experience and bathe it in lovingkindness: “this is what it feels like to be cold” “this is a feeling” ‘this is thinking.” I hold whatever I find in my experience with tender kindness.
The ‘one chair’ mentioned already in my blog refers literally and metaphorically to the practice of taking my seat every day and using ancient meditations to bring loving, compassionate attention to my experience of the timeless present. It really works! It’s based upon 2,500 years of wisdom and practice. Walk a little way with me on this path…
A MEDITATION PRACTICE SUGGESTION (Try this)! (from Jack Kornfield, Path with Heart, 20)
“Sit in a comfortable fashion. Let your body relax and be at rest. As best you can breathe slower and more deeply. Let your breathing quiet down your mind, letting go of plans and preoccupations. Don’t try to let go or be ‘un-preoccupied’. Just breathe. Then begin to recite inwardly the following phrases directed toward yourself (if new at this, you can gently whisper the words or mouth them on your out-breath).
May I be filled with loving-kindness
May I be well
May I be peaceful and at ease
May I be happy
“It might help to picture yourself as a beloved child, or sense yourself as you are now, held in a heart of lovingkindness. Let the feelings arise with the words. Repeat the phrases again and again, letting the feelings permeate your body and mind. Practice this meditation for a number of weeks until the sense of lovingkindness for yourself grows. Try it for 3 minutes and work your way up to ten minutes.”
Being aware of my present experience allows me to offer lovingkindness to whatever I find here inside me or around me. To stay seated in the experience of the moment brings wisdom and openness to all of life. I can be here now, somewhere else later. 🙂