May all be well in your world.
With this final blog on the topic of meditation, it is my aspiration that all four can provide you a glimpse into, and path forward in, understanding the vast and extensive methods and benefits of meditation.
Today, I’d like to share some insights into using an object as a technique for meditating; this is a very common path of practice.
In Christianity, meditation of a statue of Christ on the cross can stir your heart towards empathy and compassion, truly realizing the power of someone dying so that you may live.
Similarly, meditating on a Buddha statue can cut through the chatter of relative mind and reveal the compassionate wisdom of our absolute nature.
Meditation, however, need not be tied to a particular spiritual path - grounded in any particular philosophy.
It can be as simple as a photograph.
Gather a photograph of someone wholly special to your heart, someone who has shown you extraordinary kindness. Commonly, this may be our mother, but that is not always the case. It does not matter.
It can be a teacher, a friend, a relative or a stranger. The most important thing is that they hold a special place in your heart.
Start by sitting quietly and applying the breath technique I shared in blog two. Truly and genuinely relax. Take as long as you need until your body and mind are tranquil.
Then, bring your one pointed focus to the picture.
Gaze effortlessly on it, heart open, eyes relaxed, facial muscles supple, perhaps a smile gently uplifts your lips or a tear gently falls.
Note the sensations that arise when you focus your thoughts on this person – the sense of lightness in spirit that prevails as thoughts of this person bathe you in positive energy.
Allow your loving and grateful thoughts about this person to permeate your heart and every aspect of your being.
Feel them. Be with them. Bring them close. Grant yourself permission to openly and nakedly accept the kindness they bestowed upon you. Know and accept that you are worthy of such generous acts, no matter how big or small they may seem.
In doing so, you remind your mind and body what it feels like to be subsumed by empathy and compassion.
Then, rest in this space of goodness. Allow it to imprint your heart with gratitude for this person’s place in your life.
As your practice comes to an end, remember this blissful state and know it is forever accessible to sooth whatever stress and challenges may arise.
Finally, as with all meditative methods, dedicate the efforts and energies of your practice towards the benefit of all sentient beings.
‘Til next time, be happy.