Contemplative Meditation

Being the witness, meditationBeing the Witness

 “The moment you start watching the thinker, a higher level of consciousness becomes activated. You then begin to realize that there is a vast realm of intelligence beyond thought, that thought is only a tiny aspect of that intelligence. You also realize that all the things that truly matter — beauty, love, creativity, joy, inner peace — arise from beyond the mond. You begin to awaken.” ~Eckhart Tolle

  • There is a witness within each of us, realizing this can deeply empower you to consciously change your life and awaken you to a higher reality. The witness is a deeper level of awareness, vast and timeless. The witness within each one of us watches and take notes of all things while being completely detached from any labeling, judgement, or outcome. Nothing being watched is thought of as good or bad-right or wrong. All just is as it is. It may be difficult embrace the idea of being ‘the witness’ and ‘watching the thinker’ intellectually. One cannot grasp something that’s bigger than the mind with the mind. Try this mediation:
  • Sit quietly. Breathe and relax.
  • Try to think of your physical body and emotions in the third person. Ask Who am I? Where do my thoughts come from- and who is thinking these thoughts? Who is breathing these breaths? What happens as you observe your thoughts? Are you your thoughts? Do your thoughts belong to you or are they simply passing through the mind? This kind of inquiry will help you discover the witness within you. You will find yourself experiencing glimpses of awareness which leads to spiritual awakening.
  • Say to yourself, “I am spirit. As I breathe, I feel the breathe. But I am not this breath. My body is temporary but I am eternal.
  • Now watch your mind, observe your thoughts with detachment. Look beyond your thoughts and the ego. Try not to identify with the thoughts, just observe. Watch the mind, as a silent witness, as an observer. See your thoughts as if you are watching a movie where you are not personally effected. say to yourself, “I am the silent witness, thoughts come automatically, I am watching the thoughts flow through my mind but I am separate from them. I am the silent witness of my thoughts.”
  • Now look at your emotions. Allow your fears, anxieties and images rise to the surface and then let them float away. Say to yourself, “I notice and feel my emotions. I acknowledge these emotions without judgement. I am not my emotions. Emotions are temporary. I am spirit. I am eternal” 

As we experience our everyday realities, we can take the persective of the witness. As we see changes but the witness remains steady, unmoved. As life brings change, we may experience pain or discomfort but the silent witness within is brings a sense of what is real, and what is permanent. The witness is a part of you that is able to step back and assess any situation without bias and helps us make conscious choices and every choice that you make consciously now shapes your future. 




Metta Lovengkindness meditationMetta Lovingkindness Meditation

 ‘Metta’ means ‘loving-kindness.’ This meditation helps us to see goodness and wish happiness for ourselves and others. At times it is difficult love ourselves or others. By practicing Metta meditation we can transform our negative feelings and guilt into a positive force of love and healing. Many people commit to practicing Metta meditation on a daily basis. As you continue this meditation it will carry into daily life as you find yourself saying it silently, wishing goodness for strangers that you meet. Below is one example of Metta Meditation.
First, find a quiet place where you can sit ot lie without disruption for about 15 minutes.

  • To begin, take a few deep gentle breaths to quiet your mind and relax the body.
  • Bring your attention to your heart center in your chest. Recall a time when you felt deeply and unconditionally loved or if needed you can use your imagination to bring this feeling. Breathe for a few moments and letting yourself feel the love.
  • Begin by offering Metta to yourself. If distracting thoughts arise, acknowledge them, let them float by like clouds. Then gently bring yourself back to Metta.
  • For yourself say: May I be happy. May I be well. May I be at peace.
  • Next think of someone close to you that you love. Say to yourself…May he/she be happy. May he/she be well. May he/she be at peace.
  • Then choose someone you feel neutral towards. May he/she be happy. May he/she be well. May he she be at peace.
  • Now move to someone that you dont particularly like. May he/she be happy. May he/she be well. May he/she be at peace.
  • Allow your meditation to radiate out further to family, the work place, the area where you live. May they be happy. May they be well. May they be at peace.
  • Finally bring it to everything and everyone in the world.
    May they all be happy. May they all be well. May they all be at peace.
  • Once the practice is complete, sit still for a few minutes, feeling gratitude for unity and love.

Below are 3 different kinds of guided Metta Meditation. Enjoy!




Inner smile meditationInner Smile Meditation

 The “Inner Smile” is a well-known of Taoist practices. We smile inwardly to the body and the major organs activating the energy of loving-kindness, and a flow of positive energy. We may focus the whole body and all organs or we can focus on a particular area or organ. Traditionally, the focus is placed on the yin organs, in a sequence which follows the Five-Element supporting cycle: Kidney to Liver to Heart to Spleen to Lung, then back to Kidney again. (The Five Elements are Wood, Fire, Earth, Metal and Water.) More in-depth information here.

“In ancient China, the Taoists taught that a constant inner smile, a smile to oneself, insured health, happiness and longevity. Why? Smiling to yourself is like basking in love: you become your own best friend. Living with an inner smile is to live in harmony with yourself.” -Mantak Chia

  • Sit comfortably in an upright position.
  • Take some deep breaths, allowing the head, neck, throat and shoulders to relax.
  • Allow yourself to experience the moment, letting go of thoughts of past or future
  • Think of someone/something you love and allow it to stimulate an emotional response. Holding the image in your mind, allow positive feelings to run through the body.
  • Gently smile, drawing the corners of the mouth up slightly, lifting the eyebrows slightly. relax the face and feel the smile.
  • Bring your attention your third eye, the space above and between your eyebrows, allowing energy to gather here. Let your eyes smile, feeling warm, loving energy. 
  • Bring your attention back, to the center of the brain, allowing energy of love and joy to fill this space.
  • Bring the focus and flow of energy down the throat and chest. Feel warmth and vibration of the inner smile into these areas.
  • Continue to bring smiling energy into the heart, the lungs, liver, spleen, pancreas, and kidneys, bladder, etc. or just focus on one particular area where there may be injury or illnness.
  • Imagine the positive smiling energy going deep into your cells, bringing joy and health

Once you finish this practice, know that you can bring the inner smile into your body at any time. 
You can feel the sensation of the inner smile throughout your day. Having an inner smile on the inside makes us more apt to smile on the outside. Spread the love! 




Ho' oponopono Meditation

 Love yourself, improve yourself, improve your world. Ho’ oponopono is a concept and set of practices that have been used in Hawaiian and other Polynesian cultures for centuries to support harmony between people, nature and Spirit. The practice has since evolved and spread throughout the world. It is rooted in the idea that WE are responsible for everything that we see in our world. Once we take full personal responsibility, we can heal our own wounds and then can literally heal our world. Whenever a need for healing presents itself in your life, open up and repeat these words while feeling them deeply: I’m sorry. Please forgive me. I love you. Thank you.

Does “total responsibility” to mean that I am responsible beyond my own thoughts and actions? According to this perspective, it means taking 100% responsibility for everything simply because it is in my life. And my world is my own creation. Tough to swallow, right? Wars, crime, violence, the economy, all these things that need healing and fixing stem from within our own dark places. So it is up to us to change ourselves, take responsibility, and change the world. Blame is much easier than responsibility.

Once you see from the perspective that all that needs healing stems from within ourselves, it its natural to feel sorry. If the concept is difficult to grasp at first, choose something that you already know you’ve caused for yourself or someone close to you. Maybe it is being over-weight, anger issues, addiction, etc. Focus on one thing and say, “I’M SORRY”. Realize that you are responsible and allow yourself to feel sincere remorse.

Then ask, “PLEASE FORGIVE ME”. Direct it to who may have been harmed (yourself, others, the world). Say it over and over with meaning and remorse.

Say, “I LOVE YOU”. Say it to your body, to God, others, the air, and the sky. Even say it to your challenges. Say it over and over with sincere meaning and feeing. There is nothing more powerful than LOVE.

Say “THANK YOU”. You can thank your body, your self, God, the earth, the universe, etc. Say it over and over with sincere gratitude.

Below are two videos to guide you through the Ho’ oponopono meditation.




4 Pebbles Mindfulness Meditation

 A nice, peaceful, and relaxing mindfulness meditation practice from Thich Nhat Hahn. Carry 4 pebbles. Each represents something; a fresh flower, a solid mountain, still water, a spaciousness. These stones help you remember that we have the capacity to be and experience following things:

1) ‘Fresh like a flower’: breathing in ‘I feel fresh’ and breathing out ‘I am a flower’.

2) ‘Solid and firm like a mountain’: breathing in ‘I feel solid’ and breathing out ‘like a mountain’.

3) ‘Still water reflecting’: breathing in ‘water/stillness’ and breathing out ‘reflecting’.

4) ‘Spaciousness’: breathing in ‘I feel space inside and around me’ and breathing out ‘I am free’.




Tonglen (Buddhist) Meditation

 This practice goes against the grain of how we have learned to handle pain and suffering. We want things to work out for ourselves no matter what happens to the others. Tonglen practice dissolves self-fixation and egoic clinging.

Rather than naturally avoiding suffering and seeking pleasure, we become liberated. We learn to use difficult circumstances and pain as a method for awakening and connecting. We experience deep compassion and begin to see a larger view of reality. Things that we experience become smaller, and less of a big deal as they seemed before.
There are many versions of this meditation, all with the same outcome.

  • Sit comfortably in an upright position.
  • Take some deep breaths, allowing the head, neck, throat and shoulders to relax.
  • Think of someone you love who is suffering in some way (illness, pain, fear, etc). Holding their image in your mind.
  • Imagine all of their suffering in the form of dark, heavy smoke around them.
  • Breathing in, let the dark heavy smoke of suffering come in through your nostrils and travel down into your heart.
  • Hold the suffering in your heart.
  • Then, breathing out, send out peace, love, and freedom to the person in the form of healing, white light. Visualize them taking it all in. See them released, free and happy.
  • Continue the visualization for several breaths.

Below is a 2-part explanation and teaching of Tonglen meditation with Pema Chodron.

Links to the 2 books mentioned are below:
Training the Mind and Cultivating Loving-Kindness by Chogyam Trungpa

Start Where You Are: A Guide to Compassionate Living by Pema Chodron

“Unconditional Giving rides the Out Breath, Unconditional Taking rides the In Breath.” ~Chogyam Trungpa 




Zen Koans

 Zen sends us looking within for enlightenment by working with the mind. One method is the use of koans, questions that cannot be logically answered and have no final conclusion. These questions make us go beyond the trap of rational thought. You may recall “What is the sound of one hand clapping”, which has become a cliché. This is actually an example of a Zen koan.

Koans as a contemplative meditation technique take the intellecyual mind out of the equation, allowing a liberation of the mind from the lower worldly frequencies. The logical left brain looks for linear conclusions but is unable rationalize. The mind then pushes through the mental boundaries of logic to allow for a break through into higher awareness (the aha! moment). This is enlightenment is our own Buddhah nature. 

Zen Buddhism began in ancient China. It is centered on the belief that all human beings are Buddha, and we all have to discover enlightenment for ourselves. Truth is found by looking within rather than looking outside ourselves through philosophies, rational thought and study, or rituals.

All beings by nature are Buddhas,
as ice by nature is water.
Apart from water there is no ice;
apart from beings, no Buddhas.
-Hakuin Ekak

Some short examples of koans:
Where were you 7 days before you were born?
Show me the source of earth, wind, fire, and water.
A puzzled monk once said to the master: “You say truth can be
expressed without speaking, and without keeping silent. How can
this be?”
The master answered, “In the spring, when I was only a lad, ah! how birds sang among the blossoms.”
All things are created by the mind. What does this mean?
Show me the essence of the temple bell sound.
The Strawberry:
A man, running from a tiger, found himself on the edge of a cliff. He grabbed a root of a wild vine and used it to swing down over the edge. Looking up, the man saw the tiger sniffing at him from above. Looking down, the man saw that there was another tiger below, waiting to eat him. Only the vine sustained him. He then noticed that two mice (one black and one white) began gnawing away at the vine. The man saw a pefectly ripe strawberry near him. While grasping the vine with one hand, he reached over and plucked the strawberry with the other.
The man saw a luscious strawberry near him. Grasping the vine with one hand, he plucked it with the other. How sweet the strawberry tasted!
In using the koans for meditation you can sit quietly as with many other meditation practices but then take it with you and contemplate on it through your day, week, month etc. Keep company with the koan and let this opening of consciousness bring epiphanies and moments of awakening. 

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