Thanks for your interest in this course. Please click here to access the mp3s. See the course description and daily descriptions below- each day is 10-15 minutes of audio with a short teaching and meditation:
COURSE DESCRIPTION: Mindfulness and the Divine Abodes will add powerful tools to your practice through theory and daily guided meditations based on two classic Buddhist teachings: The Four Foundations of Mindfulness (Satipatthana Sutta) and the Divine Abodes (Brahmaviharas). The Four Foundations are where mindfulness resides and can be developed; they make up the vantage points and context for our experience, and are said to have the potential to open to full realization of the path. The Divine Abodes begin with cultivation of good will and benevolence in inner and outer relationships which can be developed to a boundless degree, helping to bring spaciousness and composure to the mind- profound aids to meditative practice. We will begin with a teaching and meditation on intention, spending a little time setting up the body and mind, acknowledging that on some level there is a deep wish for well-being at the heart of this practice. Thank you for devoting this time to these rich and beautiful teachings- I hope that having been introduced to them, you will be inspired to further exploration and discovery, and ultimately to liberation.
DAY 1: Intention
In a way, whether we perceive it or not, we are always placing intention ahead of our actions. When we are unconscious of our intentions, they can be hijacked by outside influences, unskillful habits, etc., and lead to unfavorable results. By cultivating our intentions and bolstering them with powerful practices of mindfulness and concentration, we begin a process of self-mastery.
DAY 2: Mindfulness of Form
Beginning with the breath, we will explore the first of the satipatthana teachings- form, body, or the somatic aspect of experience. This is a foundational practice for many meditations in this tradition and others, and can be both simple and profound in its revelations.
DAY 3: Good Will (Metta)
This is the first of the Divine Abodes (Brahmaviharas) and a foundational aspect of the other three. The Buddhist concept of good will (sometimes called loving-kindness) is a wish for happiness, but it has the distinction of being a happiness which must not be tied to the harm of others. In its ultimate form it is limitless, extending to all beings throughout time and space; among other benefits, its cultivation helps the practitioner to develop spaciousness and openness in meditation.
DAY 4: Mindfulness of Feeling Tones
Continuing with the second satipatthana teaching, we begin to explore the experience of the pleasant, the unpleasant, and the neutral feelings (the hedonic aspect of experience) which arise as a result of any given perception. Practicing with this simple yet pervasive movement of mind helps tune the practitioner into many nuances of awareness.
DAY 5: Compassion (Karuna)
The second of the Divine Abodes, it is sometimes said that compassion is what happens when metta meets suffering; a natural up-welling, a call to action occurs and flows out from a place of good will and identification with the being who is suffering. This teaching observes and cultivates this natural outflow of care.
DAY 6: Mindfulness of Mind States
The affective aspect of experience, this third satipatthana is sometimes thought of as the weather system of the mind- the nuances of mood and attitude. By making contact with the mood or flavor of the mind we can begin to connect the dots from body sensations to feeling tones, and perhaps see how more complex structures begin to form.
DAY 7: Sympathetic Joy (Mudita)
When metta meets success in another being, the experience is mudita, the third of the Divine Abodes. This one is often difficult for people, because many cultures urge us to compete and feel threatened by the success of others. However, this is best understood as joy for the kind of happiness in another which causes no harm to anyone, like when a friend seems to be genuinely better off having invested time in self care and discovery.
DAY 8: Mindfulness of Mental Formations
The last of the Satipatthana teachings, this refers to the cognitive aspect of experience- aspects and qualities of thought which are more fully formed, and if perceived, can generally be acknowledged as skillful (not leading to harm) or unskillful (leading to harm).
DAY 9: Equanimity (Upekkha)
When goodwill meets that which it cannot change, wisdom produces equanimity, the fourth and final of the Divine Abodes. In a world in which pain and suffering is not difficult to find, we must have a measure to protect our hearts and minds. While it can sometimes be mistaken for indifference, equanimity is sometimes referred to as the crown jewel of the brahmaviharas- a profound steadiness which ultimately makes us more fluid and ready to respond to the world wisely when we are called.
DAY 10: Connection with the Divine
As suggested in the Divine Abodes, a feeling of connection with divinity can be a beautiful and profound experience in spiritual practice. Calling upon that which is yet beyond our understanding, but is felt to touch our lives through a more mysterious type of knowing, our course concludes with a meditation to inspire this connection with the divine, and to further our exploration and initiation into a rich spiritual life.
Mindfulness and the Divine Abodes Questions and Answers.