It’s rare for anybody to get through this life unscathed. Some of us are faced with environmental suffering, others with financial suffering, some are faced with physical suffering by way of illness or disease and some are even confronted by mental and emotional suffering. Surviving is not an easy job for us humans. Ultimately what all of us are seeking is happiness, while ironically, despite owning the power to be happy, we sabotage this potential by allowing our negative minds to control us. According to Buddhist theory, our negative thoughts and actions leave imprints on our mind, which then manifest as disease or other problems. Conversely, health is related to keeping the mind positive.
Although we can use medicine to heal a particular disease, Buddhists believe that the disease will return unless we heal our mind. We will again create the cause of the disease which comes from self cherishing, ignorance, anger, attachment and other delusions and negative thoughts.
For this reason it’s important to understand the nature of the mind. Buddha himself said that we have the opportunity to free ourselves from suffering and disease and to achieve lasting happiness. And meditation is the medicine. Western scientists are also beginning to welcome the idea of this inner medicine and have found that with regular meditation, we can alleviate chronic pain, anxiety, stress, improve heart health, boost mood and immunity and even resolve pregnancy problems.
So with meditation being a potential key to alleviate disease, wouldn’t the world be a happier place if we were to adopt this powerful practice?!
Below we have outlined the key steps for starting your meditation practice and a well -known powerful healing meditation. Since space is limited here, if you are interested in knowing more about how meditation can help with healing, we recommend that you read the book: Ultimate Healing. The Power of Compassion. And if you become a meditation enthusiast, we can recommend some fabulous courses at Tushita meditation centre right here in Barcelona.
1. Pick a convenient time
Many people meditate either in the morning so they start their day with a clear mind, or in the evening to help them unwind before sleeping. But the important thing is to meditate at the most convenient time for you.
2. Be comfortable
To avoid any distractions and help you focus, wear loose clothing and removing any jewellery and glasses.
3. Prepare your environment
Make sure you eliminate any potential distractions. Sit in a quiet space and turn off your phone. You should also meditate in an environment that’s not too dark to avoid feeling sleepy.
4. Sit correctly
Classically, meditation is done sitting cross legged with your back straight and your hands folded in your lap – palm upwards, right on top of the left and tips of the thumbs touching. This posture is the most stable. However, if this is too difficult to begin with, you can sit on pillows or even a chair. Your eyes should either be completely closed or with a slight gap allowing a small amount of light to enter – again this will stop sleepiness. Relax your shoulders, place your tongue at the roof of your mouth and breath in and out through your nose.
Before following any meditation or the one below, it’s important to begin your meditation by focussing on your breath to help calm your mind. Once you are seated, bring your attention to your breath, focusing your mind on the air entering your nostrils and entering and exiting your body. Keep breathing, and if any thought enters your mind, recognize it, let it go and return to your breath.
Taking and giving mediation / Tong-Len
This meditation is thought to be one of the quickest and most powerful ways to heal ourselves. In this mediation, by generating great compassion, we take the suffering of other sentient beings within ourselves and use them to destroy our self-cherishing thought (a source of suffering) by generating loving kindness and compassion for other living beings.
Once your mind is calm, imagine your disease or your problem, and your self concern as a black ball in your heart. Now imagine those who are sick or who have the same problem as yours. They can be individuals, a group of people or even an entire country. Think of their suffering. Now imagine drawing all the suffering out of them in the form of black light or smoke that comes out through their right nostril and into your left nostril. It goes down into your heart and destroys the black ball. Imagine you have freed these beings from their suffering. Imagine that your suffering replaces theirs and that the black ball (your selfishness) has been destroyed.
Now imagine giving away your happiness, body, possessions and good energy to them. These things leave you in the form of white light through your right nostril, which enters their left nostril and fills them with happiness.
So during the in-breath, you wish to take away the suffering, and during the out-breath you wish to send them comfort and happiness.
When done genuinely, Tong-Len meditation has a very powerful effect on the person doing it and it’s not uncommon to heal diseases.
Any new meditators may find it difficult to focus to begin with. This is ok. Go at your own pace, even if you have to continue to practice only with concentration breathing for some time. Keep going and you will eventually reap the rewards of your work.
Health is the greatest gift, contentment the greatest wealth, faithfulness the best relationship. Buddha