With tonight’s sitting, I’d like us to start with the object of the meditation being the breath going out and the breath coming in.
So attention on the in and out breath.
And, if your mind wanders off, just coming back.
We’ll practice that way for a while — and near the end we’ll shift to awareness just of the breath going out.
And if the mind wanders off, acknowledging that as “thinking” and coming back to the breath going out.
So starting with the more tight form of the śamatha practice.
The practice of being fully present.
Starting with a more tight form.
And then at the end moving into a more relaxed form of the same practice.
So starting with awareness, attention to the breath in and out
And then near the end I’ll say, “Let’s now give the attention just to the breath going out.”
More of a relaxing outward.
More of a letting go.
And if the mind wanders off, acknowledging that as thinking.
So hopefully that’s clear.
And we’ll start with a gaze that’s slightly lower…
It can be quite a tight gaze actually.
And awareness of the breath as it goes in and out.
And this is a support for staying fully present.
And whenever we wander off, we just simply, in a very relaxed and non-judgmental way, we turn again to the breath of going in and out.
Let’s begin with the four limitless ones chant:
“May all sentient beings enjoy happiness and the root of happiness.”
“May they be free from suffering and the root of suffering.”
“May they not be separated from the great happiness, devoid of suffering.”
“May they dwell in the great equanimity — free from passion, aggression and prejudice.”
So begin with just a śamatha vipassana.
Begin with just — listen to the gong and let your mind rest in this sense of openness and stillness.
Begin to breathe in. Completely and fully.
Taking in dark, heavy, hot feeling of claustrophobia.
Just taking it completely into your being.
Breathing out — light, cool, and refreshing.
Radiating it out throughout this whole room.
Across the mountains.
Letting it dissolve out all over the world.
And breathing in and out again.
Dark, heavy and hot.
Taking it in completely.
Breathing out light, cool, and refreshing.
Radiating it out.
Do this until it really feels synchronized with the breath.
Heaviness, darkness coming in.
The freshness, lightness going out.
Take a very deep in-breath.
Relax —- an expansive out-breath.
Opening your being to the dark, and heavy, and painful — as you breathe in.
Just open to it as you breath in.
Then just let go and send out a sense of freshness, light.
Then when you feel ready, move onto a very real situation
Begin to do Tonglen for another person.
Suggesting that you do it for someone very close to you.
Particularly a family member.
Breathing in — with the wish that they be free of suffering — and sending them out — the wish that they have happiness and whatever would make them happy.
Breathing in— with the wish that they be free of suffering — taking in their suffering — sending out the sense of relief, spaciousness, happiness to them.
And then as soon as possible
Extend that further to all the people who are in the same situation as your family member.
If something gets in the way and this isn’t possible.
Keep this practice real by just shifting the attention and doing Tonglen with the feeling that’s blocking you.
And just breathe that in and own that feeling completely for yourself and all the other people in the same boat as you.
And breathe out relief for yourself and all the others.
Have a feeling of completely opening your heart and mind when you breathe in.
There’s no place for anything to get stuck.
You just open so wide as you breathe in that there’s no place for anything to get stuck.
And then just send that same openness outward.
Send it out to them.
Say this person’s name.
Visualize their face if that helps to make it more real and bring up the feelings more strongly.
When you hear this gong then slowly move back tośamatha vipassana,