Living with Harmony ~ A Blog for your Mind & Body


Loving Kindness Meditation

Posted in Meditation by Harmony on March 21, 2011

Loving Kindness Meditation

by How To Meditate.org

All living beings deserve to be cherished because of the tremendous kindness they have shown us.

The five stages of the meditation:

  1. Preparation
  2. Contemplation
  3. Meditation
  4. Dedication
  5. Subsequent Practice
1. Preparation

We sit in the meditation posture as explained above and prepare our mind for meditation with breathing meditation. If we like we can also engage in the preparatory prayers.

2. Contemplation

All living beings deserve to be cherished because of the tremendous kindness they have shown us. All our temporary and ultimate happiness arises through their kindness. Even our body is the result of the kindness of others. We did not bring it with us from our previous life – it developed from the union of our father’s sperm and mother’s ovum. Once we had been conceived our mother kindly allowed us to stay in her womb, nourishing our body with her blood and warmth, putting up with great discomfort, and finally going through the painful ordeal of childbirth for our sake. We came into this world naked and empty-handed and were immediately given a home, food, clothes, and everything else we needed. While we were a helpless baby our mother protected us from danger, fed us, cleaned us, and loved us. Without her kindness we would not be alive today.

The mere fact that we are alive today is a testimony to the great kindness of others.

Through receiving a constant supply of food, drink, and care, our body gradually grew from that of a tiny helpless baby to the body we have now. All this nourishment was directly or indirectly provided by countless living beings. Every cell of our body is therefore the result of others’ kindness. Even those who have never known their mother have received nourishment and loving care from other people. The mere fact that we are alive today is a testimony to the great kindness of others.

It is because we have this present body with human faculties that we are able to enjoy all the pleasures and opportunities of human life. Even simple pleasures such as going for a walk or watching a beautiful sunset can be seen to be a result of the kindness of innumerable living beings. Our skills and abilities all come from the kindness of others; we had to be taught how to eat, how to walk, how to talk, and how to read and write. Even the language we speak is not our own invention but the product of many generations. Without it we could not communicate with others nor share their ideas. We could not read this book, learn Dharma, nor even think clearly. All the facilities we take for granted, such as houses, cars, roads, shops, schools, hospitals, and cinemas, are produced solely through others’ kindness. When we travel by bus or car we take the roads for granted, but many people worked very hard to build them and make them safe for us to use.

Everyone who contributes in any way towards our happiness and well-being is deserving of our gratitude.

The fact that some of the people who help us may have no intention of doing so is irrelevant. We receive benefit from their actions, so from our point of view this is a kindness. Rather than focusing on their motivation, which in any case we do not know, we should focus on the practical benefit we receive. Everyone who contributes in any way towards our happiness and well-being is deserving of our gratitude and respect. If we had to give back everything that others have given us, we would have nothing left at all.

We might argue that we are not given things freely but have to work for them. When we go shopping we have to pay, and when we eat in a restaurant we have to pay. We may have the use of a car, but we had to buy the car, and now we have to pay for petrol, tax, and insurance. No one gives us anything for free. But from where do we get this money? It is true that generally we have to work for our money, but it is others who employ us or buy our goods, and so indirectly it is they who provide us with money. Moreover, the reason we are able to do a particular job is that we have received the necessary training or education from other people. Wherever we look, we find only the kindness of others. We are all interconnected in a web of kindness from which it is impossible to separate ourself. Everything we have and everything we enjoy, including our very life, is due to the kindness of others. In fact, every happiness there is in the world arises as a result of others’ kindness.

Our spiritual development and the pure happiness of full enlightenment also depend upon the kindness of living beings.

Our spiritual development and the pure happiness of full enlightenment also depend upon the kindness of living beings. Buddhist centres, Dharma books, and meditation courses do not arise out of thin air but are the result of the hard work and dedication of many people. Our opportunity to read, contemplate, and meditate on Buddha’s teachings depends entirely upon the kindness of others. Moreover, as explained later, without living beings to give to, to test our patience, or to develop compassion for, we could never develop the virtuous qualities needed to attain enlightenment.

In short, we need others for our physical, emotional, and spiritual well-being. Without others we are nothing. Our sense that we are an island, an independent, self-sufficient individual, bears no relation to reality. It is closer to the truth to picture ourself as a cell in the vast body of life, distinct yet intimately bound up with all living beings. We cannot exist without others, and they in turn are affected by everything we do. The idea that it is possible to secure our own welfare whilst neglecting that of others, or even at the expense of others, is completely unrealistic.

3. Meditation

Contemplating the innumerable ways in which others help us, we should make a firm decision: `I must cherish all living beings because they are so kind to me.’ Based on this determination we develop a feeling of cherishing – a sense that all living beings are important and that their happiness matters. We try to mix our mind single-pointedly with this feeling and maintain it for as long as we can without forgetting it.

4. Dedication

We dedicate all the virtues we have created in this meditation practice to the welfare of all living beings by reciting the dedication prayers.

5. Subsequent Practice

When we arise from meditation we try to maintain this mind of love, so that whenever we meet or remember someone we naturally think: `This person is important, this person’s happiness matters.’ In this way we can make cherishing living beings our main practice.

What are Tingshas?

Posted in Meditation,Yoga by Harmony on February 7, 2011

Here is a nice introduction to Tingshas – which look like small cymbals and are often used in yoga classes after Savasana.

What are Tingshas? (by RapunzelGifts.com)

(Tibetan Bells, Tibetan Chimes, Tibetan Hand Cymbals)

Awaken your spirit and summon peacefulness to your mind and body with the vibration of tingsha chimes. These prayer chimes have been used for centuries by Tibetan Buddhists to prepare for meditation. When the two pieces strike each other they produce a clear, pure, cleansing sound which can be used to focus the mind before and after meditation. Tinghsas are also for clearing space of negative energies and the healing and balancing of auric fields. They are used in feng shui to ring in the four corners of a room in order to open the energy and for clearing spaces.

How do you play Tingshas? Tingshas come in matched pairs, held together by a leather cord. Simply hold each cymbal by the cord close to the hole where it enters the tingsha. Strike one cymbal against the other on their edges at right angles. Let the bell ring until there is silence.

The sound of tingshas is like a summons. The pure, ringing sound of the Tingsha creates an opening in reality. They are used at the beginning and end of a meditation to open the mind for meditation and then to open the mind to go back to reality. Some teachings say that Tingshas can be used to push or fill energy and diagnose energy blocks. By passing the tingshas’s vibration over a person’s energy field the sound can clear the imbalance.

Today, many people use sound healing as an alternative to modern medicine. In the article “The Power of Sound to Heal, to Create New Life”, Sandra Cosentino writes, “Vibration is the basis of life. Every sound you ever made echoes still. Sound waves never entirely disappear. Every part of our body has its own frequency. Resonance occurs when frequencies come into synchronization. Different frequencies influence genes and cells. Form is created by underlying vibration. A solid is actually a wave, created and organized by pulse.

Sound energy can be used to heal when entities vibrating at different frequencies come into resonance with one another. Sound can trigger memories, release past memories, stimulate joy. Sympathetic resonance is a healing technique in which the practitioner applies positive intention, focus and attention to the sound healing instrument being used. The harmonics create the shift.”

One website sums it up describing sound healing as:
“Vibration + Visualization = Manifestation. Creation myths from around the world speak of sound as the originating act of creating life on earth. May you find your soul’s song and resonate it joyfully to all of Creation!”

Om Mane Padme Hum

Posted in Meditation by Harmony on January 31, 2011
Prayer Wheel

Prayer Wheel

To learn more about the Buddhist mantra Om Mane Padme Hum, please visit this page by Angelfire.com.

I also enjoyed reading the story:

The True Sound of Truth

An old story speaks about a similar problem. A devoted meditator, after years concentrating on a particular mantra, had attained enough insight to begin teaching. The student’s humility was far from perfect, but the teachers at the monastery were not worried. A few years of successful teaching left the meditator with no thoughts about learning from anyone; but upon hearing about a famous hermit living nearby, the opportunity was too exciting to be passed up.

The hermit lived alone on an island at the middle of a lake, so the meditator hired a man with a boat to row across to the island. The meditator was very respectful of the old hermit. As they shared some tea made with herbs the meditator asked him about his spiritual practice. The old man said he had no spiritual practice, except for a mantra which he repeated all the time to himself. The meditator was pleased: the hermit was using the same mantra he used himself — but when the hermit spoke the mantra aloud, the meditator was horrified!

“What’s wrong?” asked the hermit.

“I don’t know what to say. I’m afraid you’ve wasted your whole life! You are pronouncing the mantra incorrectly!”

“Oh, Dear! That is terrible. How should I say it?”

The meditator gave the correct pronunciation, and the old hermit was very grateful, asking to be left alone so he could get started right away. On the way back across the lake the meditator, now confirmed as an accomplished teacher, was pondering the sad fate of the hermit.

“It’s so fortunate that I came along. At least he will have a little time to practice correctly before he dies.” Just then, the meditator noticed that the boatman was looking quite shocked, and turned to see the hermit standing respectfully on the water, next to the boat.

“Excuse me, please. I hate to bother you, but I’ve forgotten the correct pronunciation again. Would you please repeat it for me?”

“You obviously don’t need it,” stammered the meditator; but the old man persisted in his polite request until the meditator relented and told him again the way he thought the mantra should be pronounced.

The old hermit was saying the mantra very carefully, slowly, over and over, as he walked across the surface of the water back to the island.

How to Play Tibetan Singing Bowls

Posted in How-To,Meditate,Meditation by Harmony on December 13, 2010

Curious how to get a singing bowl to sing?  Then watch the following video to learn how…

Harmonic Encounters

Posted in Meditation by Harmony on December 6, 2010

Enjoy the sounds and vibrations of Tibetan Singing Bowls and bells in this video with Alan Lem…

Zafus by Bean Products : Buying Guide

Posted in Company News,How-To,Meditation,Zafus/Zabutons by Harmony on November 29, 2010

We currently carry a large selection of Zafus by Bean Products. Each Zafu is customizable as to what type of shape, cover, and stuffing you would like. These Zafus are then made upon your order and shipped directly to you. Because they are customized for you, they can take a little longer to receive then pre-made meditation cushions.

First, consider the shape you would like. Zafus are available in Round or Crescent shapes. The choice is a personal decision, but some may find that the short crescent shape offers some extra support to the upper thighs. I consider Bean’s Crescent Zafus a “short Crescent”, because there are other zafus on the market that are more of a longer V-shape design. We will be adding some of these in the near future, so please check back again soon.

Crescent Zafus by Bean

Crescent Zafus by Bean

Second, you can choose which stuffing you’d like. Bean offers Buckwheat Hulls or Kapok.  Both will shape to your body.  Since Kapok is a very light fibrous material the Zafu stuffed with Kapok is noticeably lighter than the Zafu stuffed with the Buckwheat hulls.  This could be important to those who will be carrying their Zafu to different locations.

All of the Zafus offer a convenient hidden zipper.  The zipper offers two benefits:

  • You can adjust the height and density by removing/adding more stuffing to suit your liking.  Our recommendation is to store any stuffing removed in case you wish to add it back in at a future time.
  • You can remove the stuffing in order to wash the outer cover.  There is no inner liner, so the stuffing will need to be poured into a bucket or container (as in the Buckwheat), or you’ll need to pull out the Kapok (which is a very fine and light fiber, so it’ll need to be carefully bagged).  After washing the cover, just pour or stuff the contents back into the Zafu.
Buckwheat Zafu

Buckwheat Zafu

Kapok Zafu

Kapok Zafu

And finally, you can choose your cover. You can choose from regular cotton, organic cotton, or hemp. Color selections vary, too.

So no more need to shop around looking for that “perfect” zafu – customize your own! Visit our Meditation Section to start creating your personal Zafu.

A Guided Meditation with an Anusara Yogi

Posted in How-To,Meditation,Yoga,Yoga Blanket,Zafus/Zabutons by Harmony on November 22, 2010

Before listening and watching the following 8+ minute video, find a quiet spot to sit comfortably with an erect spine. This video is by an English Anusara yogi and would be a beautiful Savasana meditation to do as well at the end of your yoga practice.

If you will be sitting cross-legged on the floor or earth, and if your knees are higher than your hips, Bridget suggests tucking a blanket under both of your knees to allow you to fully and deeply relax your inner thighs during this meditation practice. Another option would be to sit higher. How high would depend on how high your knees are – you may just need to sit on a yoga blanket, or your may prefer to sit on a Zafu. We offer a large selection of Zafus: round or crescent-shaped; regular cotton covers or organic; and cotton, buckwheat or kapok stuffing.

Breastfeeding Meditation for Moms

Posted in Meditation by Harmony on November 15, 2010

As a new mom you may find yourself spending hours a day sitting quietly while breastfeeding your new baby.  To utilize this time wisely, without disrupting this special bonding moment, you may want to consider practicing meditations for both you and your child.  Meditating may help you draw strength, energy, and calmness back into your life.  Below are several meditations with imagery that you could consider, or write your own.  You could also find this to be the perfect time to repeat a favorite mantra – either silently or softly out loud for your baby to hear.

When practicing your meditations sit erect with a straight spine and plant your feet to the earth. Wait until the baby has properly latched on to your breast.

The following meditations and their descriptions were taken from an article titled Breastfeeding Meditations for Moms.  For the entire article and more detailed descriptions about how and why the author used these specific images, please click on the link to Breastfeeding Meditations for Moms by Andrea Dougherty.

Deep Belly Breath

Sit in a comfortable upright position with eyes closed. Focus on your breath flowing in and out. Your pulse slowing down in turn slows down your baby’s pulse. You are connected thru the umbilical cord your pulse feeding your babies pulse. Start by taking a deep belly breath and slow down your body’s chemistry and circulation. Deep smooth slow breathing is a way of letting your baby know that everything is all right. It is a way of communicating your confidence in the pregnancy and relaxed state of mind. You can communicate to your baby while in the womb not only by talking to your baby but thru your heart beat and the slow monitored breathing techniques. This technique can be practiced out of the womb as well.

To practice the Deep Belly breathing technique after birth place baby on your chest. Feeling your heart beat and your breathing patterns, the baby will relax and slow down, he too will be coaxed into relaxing.

Oasis Meditation

Goal of Meditation: Sweep away previous nights stress and relax.

Affirmation: I live in Abundance

Imagine yourself sitting in an oasis in the middle of the desert. You and your baby are happy healthy and focused on each other. The breeze wafting thru your tent is warm and fruitful. Palms are being fanned, whisking cool air onto you and your baby. The circulating air caresses your cheek, neck and chest. Your baby is gently caressed by the palms releasing any energy from the previous nights encounter. Breathe deeply filling your lungs with the fragrant breeze. Release tension from the sleepless nights, clearing your mind. Bring your focus back to feeding your baby. Recognize that you are provided for, just as you are providing for your baby. Breath deeply. The cool breezes from the palms brush against your skin allowing your mind and body to go limp. Just be in the present moment.

Spa Meditation

Goal of Meditation: Building strength of character and trust in self.

Affirmation: I have a generous heart

Imagine you and your baby have stepped out of a steam spa and you skin is open, clean and clear. There is a stack of white towels. Take as many towels as you need. Gently dry you and the baby off with the white towels. Taking time to dry the little folds of baby’s skin around the neck, groin, wrists, fingers, ankles and toes. Lift the towel and hide your face, peeking occasionally at your baby. The baby laughs as you play peek a boo with a towel. His face all shiny and glowing with health and wonder. There are white robes waiting for you to put on. Select your robe taking care to put it on and wrap it correctly. It fits perfectly and the material is delicate yet strong. It feels like silk against your skin. Select your babies robe, take care at wrapping your baby in the white cloth. It is pristine and you would not dress him in any thing less due to his importance. Your baby is an extension of your self. You trust in your judgment and your baby trusts in your judgment. The silk wraps, bonding you two. Recognize that your baby will follow your lead. You have a generous open heart and your decisions reflect compassion and a giving character,(Image of Sun and Rays)

Sunny Days

Goal of Meditation: Raise Energy Levels.

Affirmation: I am a happy person.

This meditation was there for me when I was house bound. It really seemed to boost my energy levels.

Imagine pulling energy from the sun, yellow and golden filled with vitamin D. The light is humming and buzzing as the rays enter the crown of your head. You are open, the sun shinning into you raising your alertness, stimulating your breath. Release tension from our scalp, forehead, eyes, cheeks, jaw and lips. Gently lift the corners of your mouth up in a slight smile. You feel the suns rays warm, giving life and feelings of joy to you and your baby. Breathe deeply as the light circulates allowing your spine to sit up straighter, your shoulders back and lungs expanding. I am a happy person, seeing humor in circumstance, always choosing to be smile and laugh. Your happiness flowing from your body into your baby. Milk flowing endlessly, energy to your happy baby.

Starry Night

Goal: Trust in a greater intelligence.

Affirmation: Infinite possibilities

Imagine stars surrounding your being and your babies being. You are floating above the earth not touching or bound to any gravitational pulls or earthly laws of physics. You and your baby are at the center of everything and everything is circulating around you. The energy of the universe is connecting and protecting you. It runs thru everything and can be felt and channeled with thought. Feel the energy pulsating in your body, like static electricity buzzing lifting the hair on your head. Your energy is mixing and feeding your baby in the form of breast milk. The universe is generous with possibilities, seek and follow energy paths that require the least amount of effort. As you make decisions recognize that you now have an additional life that is dependent on your decisions. Keep your goals set with out conflict or competition. Stay focused knowing you are supported in a constant state of growth.

Cleansing Meditation

Goal: Release Toxins

Affirmation: I am healthy.

Fighting sicknesses throughout the winter months or throughout the year.

Imagine your blood heating up, a red hot heart expanding thru vibration, turning white hot and pumping molten blood thru your veins. This heat is sent into your baby to build his immune system, flowing into every corner of his body. Hear the pulsating drums in your ears, focus on the pulsating feeling in your body and now in your babies. See the white lava circulating thru you into your baby, it is circulating even reaching into his fingers and toes with each pulse of your heart. This heat is cleansing. Destroying toxins and germs as the liquid heat circulates his body. Imagine that you see the cleansing occurring. Your molten blood, surrounding germs, boiling the germ until it is gone. With each impurity that the heat encounters the white hot liquid consumes and boils it until it is gone. Volcanic disturbance brings life and health to the earth. Recognize that heat or a fever is not something to fear but the body looking to correct an imbalance.

The Metta Sutra : The Buddha's Words on Kindness

Posted in Meditation,Yoga by Harmony on November 8, 2010

Kindness can be contagious…isn’t that wonderful?!  Watch the following video on the Metta Sutra or read the content below…and help spread the goodness by sharing the kindness within you.

The Buddha’s Words on Kindness (Metta Sutta)

This is what should be done
By one who is skilled in goodness,
And who knows the path of peace:
Let them be able and upright,
Straightforward and gentle in speech.
Humble and not conceited,
Contented and easily satisfied.
Unburdened with duties and frugal in their ways.
Peaceful and calm, and wise and skillful,
Not proud and demanding in nature.
Let them not do the slightest thing
That the wise would later reprove.
Wishing: In gladness and in saftey,
May all beings be at ease.
Whatever living beings there may be;
Whether they are weak or strong, omitting none,
The great or the mighty, medium, short or small,
The seen and the unseen,
Those living near and far away,
Those born and to-be-born,
May all beings be at ease!
Let none deceive another,
Or despise any being in any state.
Let none through anger or ill-will
Wish harm upon another.
Even as a mother protects with her life
Her child, her only child,
So with a boundless heart
Should one cherish all living beings:
Radiating kindness over the entire world
Spreading upwards to the skies,
And downwards to the depths;
Outwards and unbounded,
Freed from hatred and ill-will.
Whether standing or walking, seated or lying down
Free from drowsiness,
One should sustain this recollection.
This is said to be the sublime abiding.
By not holding to fixed views,
The pure-hearted one, having clarity of vision,
Being freed from all sense desires,
Is not born again into this world.

Mantra for Attracting Abundance

Posted in How-To,Meditate,Meditation by Harmony on October 25, 2010

The following video teaches us the benefit of repeating the Lakshmiyei Mantra Meditation.  Mindy Arbuckle, from Green Mountain Yoga Studio in Arvada, CO, recommends dedicating 40-days to repeating this mantra for results.

“Om Kleem Shreem Maha Lakshiyei Swaha”

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