Lovingkindness, the French Open and the Voice

Just a quick update on what I’ve been up to. There are two competitions at the moment that I am keeping a keen interest in. I grew up watching sport, so now the French Open is on I have been interested in seeing how the Australians progress. Sam Stosur was especially impressive today in a straight sets win over Kimiko Date Krumm. The score was 6-0 6-2 but both girls had their moments. Lleyton Hewitt turned back the clock for two sets in posting a 6-1 6-3 4-6 1-6 5-7 loss to Gilles Simon of France. Hewitt ran out of steam towards the end but was vintage in the beginning. The last set he was 5-0 down before taking five straight games. It’s good to see that he has lost none of his fight. Date Krumm deserves props just for still being there. Perhaps Japan’s finest ever player, the now 41 year old was retired for a number of years. Last I saw, Tomic was down 5-7 6-6, with rain interrupting play. I hope he can find something special so as to overcome his veteran Rumanian counterpart, Victor Hanescu.

I have also been busy watching the Voice. (Is that being busy?) While the show borders on self parody at times, as the judges trip over themselves to announce that all of the contestants are simply amazing, wonderful, and whatever else, it’s still a pleasant diversion. There is a pretty cool Aussie Japanese girl who is one of my favourite contestants, although her name escapes me for the moment.

I am also reading the Compassionate mind by Paul Gilbert and a few books on Yoga. I am especially interesting in Pranayama. The yoga book that looks most promising to me is called Yoga- Moving into Stillness, I think. It has an tinteresting meditation technique that I have been trying as a way to center the mind. I set my alarm for about 7 minutes, and count 50 on the exhale, 49 on the inhale, 48 on the exhale, 47 on the inhale, all the way down to 20. At 20, one simply counts the outbreath. Exhale, 20, inhale, exhale, 19, inhale, down to 1. The last couple of minutes are there just to allow myself to rest within a still center.

I am trying all of these little techn iques, so that when I am ready, I have quick ways to chill out when I finally take the big step of quitting smoking.

I also thought I would dive a bit deeper into mindfulness meditation and am rereading an old book called Mindfulness in Plain English by Bhante Gunaratne. I especially like the way he has metta as his set up exercise. His metta phrases are fuller than that in most books. They are like this:

May I be well, peaceful and happy. May no problems come to me. May no difficulties come to me. May I always meet with success. May I have the patience, courage, determinateion and understanding to overcome the inevitable difficulties, problems and failures in life.
One then moves on to repeat these phrases
May my parents…
May my teachers..
May my relatives…
May my friends…
May all who are strangers to me…
May my enemies…
May all living beings…

What I have been experimenting with here is praying these at night. I do three rounds for myself, three rounds for my parents, three rounds for my relatives, three rounds for my friends, three rounds for strangers, three rounds for my enemies, three rounds for living beings. Following these generic phrases I go back again and do one more round. I also add a few Christian prayers in there. For example, within the Orthodox tradition, we pray like this: May me enemies not perish through me a sinner. I pray this. I also pray, Lord have mercy upon (name). I add these phrases towards the end. Although this is traditionally used as a set up exercise, I find that I can attain a fair amount of stability of attention anyways and am using this as a complete meditation in itself. The practice is helping me support myself as I struggle to find the necessary self-confidence to get the job I want in Australia. It also helps me get rid of some of my defilements (we all have defilements, sorry). The mind can be coarse at times and we can burn with anger towards the wrongs done to us. I find that the commitment to forgive other people is a necessary part of healing. Anger is aversive, and love is attractive. By filling the mind with a little more compassion, understanding and forgiveness, we position ourselves to befriend ourselves so that we can offer ourselves the internal support we need.

On the job front, I am looking to do some training as a teacher of Numeracy and Literacy to help me become a teacher aide. I enjoyed working as an AET and also teaching English to people from other cultures. I might do Aged Care work if I don’t. It’s hard sometimes to be at choice points. There are branches in life for us to travel down and sometimes we don’t know which path to take. All we can really do is guess. Perhaps, in the meantime we can look clearly at some other choices (should I smoke, or should I begin an exercise plan) and try to choose the more skilful option.


3 responses »

  1. Hi Grant, well nice to hear that you are doing well. You seem to like teaching, I’m sure that you’d be a great teacher aide. Are you watching Origin next week?

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