Relaxation Exercises: These exercises help to prepare us for meditation. In order to calm the mind we need to calm the body. In turn, by calming the mind we calm the body. Two breathing techniques (pranayama) are used; both are natural tranquilizers which help to harmonize and balance the subtle energies. Aside from the pranayama, Yog Nidra (progressive relaxation) is used to further deepen relaxation as well as focus the mind.
Samatha (Tranquility Meditation): This meditation promotes a calm, concentrated mind that serves as a springboard for Vipassana (Mindfulness/Insight) meditation practices.
Vipassana (Mindfulness/InsightMeditation): Vipassana strengthens concentration and leads to an awareness of a subtle level of consciousness that eventually allows us to see clearly. In other words, we eventually gain direct insight into our true nature.
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Metta: The Buddha taught a system that leads the willing student from a state of constricting loneliness, isolation and deep suffering to an expanded state of integration and happiness beyond conditions.
This liberated joyfulness is attained through the cultivation of the four parts of Metta (Loving Kindness) practice called the Brahma Viharas (Heavenly Abodes or The Four Immeasurables):
1. Immeasurable loving kindness – metta
2. Immeasurable compassion – karuna
3. Immeasurable sympathetic joy – mudita
4. Immeasurable equanimity – upekkha
Tonglen (taking and giving) was formerly a ‘secret’ practice in the Tibetan Buddhist tradition. In the 12th century a highly developed monk by the name of Geshe Chekhawa came upon the verse “May I accept defeat and offer victory to others.” So deeply was he affected by these words that he sought out the greatest living teacher of this ‘Lojong’(training the mind) practice, Geshe Sharawa. Geshe Sharawa quoted two lines from Nagarjuna’s “Precious Garland of Advice for the King” as the source of the teachings:
“May their negative actions ripen upon me and may all my virtues ripen upon them.”
Implicit in these words is a profound humility and compassion. Geshe Chekhawa stayed with his new teacher for twelve years. Eventually he decided to instruct some lepers in the practice of Lojong, and especially in the part of Lojong called Tonglen. As a result of their efforts in the practice, many of the lepers were cured of their afflictions.
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“A fantastic and complete CD. I call it the ‘pocket retreat’ with Phillip. Fantastic for beginners, but even if you’re experienced, *it’s so nice to be guided!* Just download onto your favourite device and you’ve got instant retreat with a deeply experienced, dedicated and compassionate teacher. Phillips steady, calming voice helps you drop in and his guidance is precise to take you every step of the way on the journey. I have also given this cd as a gift and people loved it.”
“Philip’s guided meditation CD’s are the steady support that accompany me during morning meditation practice and group sittings when my Dharma friends sit in meditation together. I have been to countless guided meditation classes lead by Philip, and many single day and multi-day meditation retreats. I would happily spend my remaining days observing his example and learning from his teachings. May all beings be this fortunate! With heartfelt gratitude.”
“Philip’s guided meditation CD’s have proven to be an effortless tool to help me establish the habit of meditation. Every time I have listened to his CDs over the years, I have felt a profound transformation occurring inside. Philip’s calm and soothing voice guiding me through the various meditative steps helps me achieve a deep inner peace, letting go of stress and feelings of anxiety. The exquisite background music conveys a feeling of peacefulness, and opens the heart to the meditation.”
“The CD recorded by Philip with guided meditations on Tonglen – Giving and Taking and Metta – Loving Kindness, the profound and deeply transformative practices, are a delightful, clear and gentle guidance for those of us who appreciate an opportunity to be taken onto a journey that has the power to transform one’s life and open one’s heart –by someone who’s life is devoted to a Spiritual Path and who has the ability to walk his talk.
My direct experience of listening to Philip’s cd is that he is right here, next to me, taking me into a territory that he knows intimately and I feel safe journeying there with him which I do with delight and awe.
There has not been a time when my mind and heart have not cracked open and expanded like the little heart of Grinch, when I engaged in an active listening to the recording.”