Meditation and Mindfulness Techniques

  • When I am fully relaxed nothing bothers me.
    (Learn to relax. Deactivate the sympathetic nervous system, activate the parasympathetic nervous system.)
    Practicing Relaxing Meditation Before Insight Meditation.

  • This is a form of samatha (tranquility) meditation that will reduce mental turbulence and quiet the mind. This is also good preparation for Insight Meditation (Observing the Mind).
    (Learn to maintain a relaxed state through mindfulness of breathing. Also deactivate the default network in the brain and activate the experiential network to quiet the mental chatter that exaggerates unpleasant emotions and cravings.)
    Easy Meditation

  • Insight Meditation
    Observing the Mind
    (Notice unpleasant emotions and cravings arising and let them fade by staying mindful (not rejecting, not judging, not getting lost in thought, not getting carried away), and by maintaining a relaxed state.)

    The relaxing meditation (above) helps you to let go of emotions, the tranquility meditation helps to quiet mental turbulence, the insight meditation helps you to understand how the mind works. Any one of them alone will ease suffering. When all three are cultivated, they form an interlocking self supporting structure that is more than the sum of its parts. Calming emotions helps to quiet the mind, quieting the mind makes it easier to see how it works, understanding the how the mind works helps you to let go of emotions.

    In the anapanasati sutra, the Buddha taught a meditation technique called mindfulness of breathing. The sutra describes a method of meditation that includes the four establishments of mindfulness: mindfulness on the body, feelings, mind, and objects of mind. The meditation techniques described above follow that pattern. (The relaxing meditation starts with a physical relaxation exercise that relaxes the body.)

    In the satipatthana sutra, where the Buddha discussed more fully the subject of mindfulness, he explained that mindfulness should also be practiced in daily life.

  • Practicing Mindfulness in Daily Life
    (Apply in daily life, what you have learned from meditation about relaxation and mindfulness.)

  • Give Yourself Permission to Have Emotions
    Unpleasant situations are much easier to endure when you stop making things worse by beating yourself up over how you react to them.

  • Miscellaneous Techniques

    How to dig through layers of emotions to reach their root cause.
    When you can't find Tranquility

    A Quick Guide to Producing Bliss with Meditation

    Metta Meditation

    Disengaging the Ego

  • A definition of dukkha (suffering). An explanation of the types of emotions meditation can help with. And some remarks about how to measure progress on the path:
    Dukkha and Nirvana

    Look for these perceptual shifts to measure progress on the path:
    Perceptual Shifts Caused by Meditation Ease Suffering

    Do Buddhists believe in a soul?

    Stop Making the Story About Yourself

    Nirvana - How To

    Turning Off Stress: The Parasympathetic Nervous System And Spiritual Development

    A System for Spiritual Development: Hacking Your Brain Chemistry Without Drugs

    Hacking Your Brain Part II: Turning Off Unpleasant Emotions by Deactivating the Default Mode Network in the Brain

    Meditation is better than recreational drugs.


    Gradual Awakening

    Gradual Awakening Part III

    How I Would Define of Buddhist Awakening

    Dimensions of Awakening

    Different people describe awakening in different ways. Some people describe it as a non-dual experience where you feel like you don't have a self, or you feel an emptiness, or a oneness. Other people say it's not that different from ordinary consciousness you are just less ego based, you don't have the same attachments to the self or the ego or the self image, and the ego doesn't cause problems the way it used to. This difference is probably due to individual differences between people and the fact that certain types of meditation and higher levels of concentration (a quieter mind) are more likely to produce a non-dual experience. The non-dual experiences are not necessary but for some people they help in understanding anatta. However anatta can be understood from watching the activity of the mind without experiencing any type of non-dual feeling. My advice is to focus your attention on cultivating samatha and vipassana (see below) and not on trying to have unusual experiences.

    External Links

    • Enlightenments By Jack Kornfield
      As Ajahn Chah described them, meditative states are not important in themselves. Meditation is a way to quiet the mind so you can practice all day long wherever you are; see when there is grasping or aversion, clinging or suffering; and then let it go.
    • The Buddha taught his followers that samatha and vipassana, tranquility and insight, are two qualities of mind which should both be cultivated.
      One Tool Among Many: The Place of Vipassana in Buddhist Practice by Thanissaro Bhikkhu

      Cultivating both samatha and vipassana is the best way to ease suffering.

      • Relaxation helps you to let go of unpleasant emotions.

      • Quieting the mind with meditation and mindfulness reduces the mental chatter responsible for unpleasant emotions and weakens the force of those that do arise by deactivating the default network in the brain.

      • Understanding emotions, accepting emotions, digging through layers of emotions, and noticing emotional reactions to emotions, and accepting unpleasant facts about ones-self leads to letting go of attachments and aversions.

      • Understanding anatta leads to disenchantment that leads to fading of attachments and aversions.

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