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At this time of uncertainty, with the spread of the Covid-19 virus, many people are looking at different ways of dealing with stress and negative thoughts, especially during the long periods of self-isolation. One way that is guaranteed to reduce both stress and anxiety is meditation. Based on the works of the internationally renowned meditation master, teacher and author Geshe Kelsang Gyatso, Tharpa has collected some resources that will help you to establish a meditation practice. You will learn timeless methods for dealing with difficult challenges, which you can bring into your daily life, now and after the pandemic is over.
‘The purpose of meditation is to make our mind calm and peaceful … if our mind is peaceful we will be free from worries and mental discomfort, and so we will experience true happiness; but if our mind is not peaceful, we will find it very difficult to be happy, even if we are living in the very best conditions. If we train in meditation, our mind will gradually become more and more peaceful, and we will experience a purer and purer form of happiness. Eventually we will be able to stay happy all the time, even in the most difficult circumstances.’Geshe Kelsang Gyatso - How to Transform Your Life
Try to find a clean and clutter-free space within your home, with as few distractions around as possible. At first, it may be helpful to dedicate 5-10 minutes a day towards developing inner peace. As you become more familiar with meditating, and begin to experience its beneficial effects, you will find it easier to make this time or even more time available, even with the busiest of lifestyles.
We can sit in the traditional cross-legged posture or in any other position that is comfortable. If we wish, we can sit in a chair. The most important thing is to keep our back straight to prevent our mind from becoming sluggish or sleepy.
Below is a guided breathing meditation for relaxation, shared from our Living Meditation series. It is helpful to remember that at first your mind may seem busy, and you may even feel that the meditation is making your mind busier; but in reality you are just becoming more aware of how busy your mind actually is.
‘The first stage of meditation is to stop distractions and make our mind clearer and more lucid. This can be accomplished by practising a simple breathing meditation.’ Geshe Kelsang Gyatso - How to Transform Your Life
So much of the stress and tension, we normally experience comes from our mind, and many of the problems we experience, including ill health, are caused or aggravated by this stress. Ten or fifteen minutes a day of breathing meditation can reduce stress and tension, and will benefit us in the following ways...
‘By training in meditation, we create an inner space and clarity that enables us to control our mind regardless of the external circumstances. Gradually we develop mental equilibrium, a balanced mind that is happy all the time, rather than an unbalanced mind that oscillates between the extremes of excitement and despondency.’Geshe Kelsang Gyatso - How to Transform Your Life
If you found the sample breathing meditation useful and would like to listen to other meditations, please see our Living Meditation Series below. Each of these simple guided meditations can be practised by anyone. They are guided by a qualified meditator and are designed to help you to relax, develop clarity of mind and increase your love and compassion for others. Background information and guidance is provided in an accompanying 18-page meditation guide.
Now that you have a basic understanding of the importance of meditation, as well as some simple resources you can come back to at any time, you may want to further your understanding of meditation and discover more about Buddha's teachings and the Buddhist way of life. Below we have shared 2 Free eBook downloads, which are gifts from the author, Geshe Kelsang Gyatso.
Kadampa Meditation Centres around the world now offer guided meditation classes and courses through live online streaming. Find your local centre and connect with them to deepen your understanding of Buddha's teachings - scientific methods that lead to greater inner peace and ultimately a happier you. Once the social-distancing rules have relaxed, and it is safe to go out, you may like to drop in and visit to get a feel for connecting directly with a Buddhist community.