Fundamentals of a Settled, Mature Practice

With local groups, Santikaro has been exploring key elements of a regular meditation practice: basics to depend on and tools for responding to the vicissitudes of life & practice. Each session includes a guided meditation and a debrief.

  1. Sitting Posture & Breath Counting: GM (40 mins; 9.3 mb) & debrief (49 mins; 11.1 mb)
    A relaxed, balanced, and stable posture provides a good foundation for practice. Too many people experience unnecessary pain and discomfort due to ignorance about, literaly, how to sit.
    When mind struggles to stay with the breathing, counting is an ancient tried & true means to stick with the breathing.
  2. Noting & Inquiry: GM (37 mins; 8.4 mb) & debrief (39 mins; 8.9 mb)
    Tagging "distractions" with simple mental notes is one skilful way to be mindful of them and return to ones meditation theme, such as breathing.
    Once we are mindful of something, "looking deeper" is the next step. Simple yet profound tools for inquiry are central to the early teachings.
  3. Entryways into Mindfulness with Breathing: GM (43 mins; 9.8 mb)
    The Buddha outlined areas of experience connected with breathing and connected them in a way that fostered deepening calm, clarity, insight, and freedom.
    This guided meditation introduces ways of entering these areas, especially those at the beginning. Once "inside," careful attention explores the territory of breathing, body, and feeling.
  4. Metta/Loving Kindness: GM & debrief
    Kind caring for the well-being of others is fundamental in all spiritual traditons. A wide variety of meditations for exploring and fostering loving kindness have developed within the varieties of Buddhism.
  5. Meditative Balance: the Middle Way: talk (54 mins) and conversation (28 mins)
    Meditation balance is another aspect f the Middle Way. On one hand, pairs of wholesome qualities are cultivated, harmonized, and integrated. On the other, this is done while avoiding certain extremes, which often come in pairs. Anything wholesome becomes unbalanced and unhealthy when taken too far.
  6. The Learning of Practice: talk (52 mins)
    A short reflection from recent daylong retreat. Practice is a certain type of learning that unfolds with consistent effort and mindfulness. The guidance of Early Buddhist teachings help the learing process stay on track.

A series of eight sessions are planned.