Compassionate Mindfulness of Body: Sit with a comfortably straight back, eyes open gazing downward, chin down, hands comfortably on lap. Take a long, deep, cleansing breath. Now come down from the thinking mind into the body, settling into the felt sense of the body as a whole.
This meditation, adapted from the mandala offering ritual of Tibetan Buddhism, provides a profound way to communicate with your Buddha nature. Imaging your Buddha nature before you as the Buddha provides a symbolic way to offer yourself completely to your deepest nature and become more receptive to its qualities—all-pervasive love, compassion, openness and wisdom.
In Buddhist understanding, the inner power to feel happy and joyful is a natural capacity of the mind’s nature that manifests within in positive attitudes and actions of compassion, honesty, generosity, patience, kindness, deep peace, and so forth.
Content: The meditation training in these retreats and workshops is for all who serve others, whether professionally or in home or community—such as teachers, parents, counselors, social workers, therapists, pastors, health-care providers, hospice workers, community organizers, and volunteers. In these workshops, participants are guided into powerful meditations of compassionate connection and wisdom that have been adapted from the natural ease tradition of Tibet in newly accessible ways for people of all backgrounds and faiths.
ABSTRACT: Teachers and others in helping professions or social service are taught the importance of listening with full attention, relating to students and clients in their deep worth, and discerning their hidden strengths.
Many people today who are deeply concerned about the world’s suffering inhabit a secularized worldview in which it is assumed that religious understandings of salvation or spiritual liberation are irrelevant to the material needs and ways of thinking prevalent in our time.
Family can act as a charged arena within which all such ordinary thoughts and feelings, clinging and suffering can arise. And the family is an intimate matrix for the exchange of self and other, the heart of training. Shantideva, the eighth century father of this practice, wrote: “All the joy in the world comes from the wish for others’ happiness… Whoever wants to protect self and others should practice the great mystery: Exchanging self for others.”
Jonathan (nine years old) reads to us from his favorite comic strip, Calvin and Hobbes. First panel: Young Calvin’s teacher gives him a math problem. Next panel: Calvin stares at the problem, dumbfounded. Final panel: Calvin, dressed in private eye’s hat, looking tough, declares: “It was another baffling case. But then, you don’t hire a private eye for the easy ones.”
A moment of enlightenment is a moment in which we newly notice such “blessings” as having been all around us, and within us, from the beginning. Whenever we are ready to notice, we can sense their healing, liberating energy pouring forth right here, right now.