Happy Birthday everyday

OK, as much as I like the song ‘Happy Birthday,’ I have to admit I’ve had enough of singing it in my head twice whilst I wash my hands. Those were the guidelines, right? Am I the only one still doing this?

The other day as I was washing my hands it did occur to me that this is ridiculous. What am I doing wasting these precious moments of my life, so many times a day, singing this song not only once but twice in a row? So it occurred to me, as a meditator I could be using this time to train my mind in meditation. Remember, to train in meditation you don’t need to be sitting with your eyes closed. Meditation is defined as thoroughly acquainting the mind with virtuous objects (like patience, love and compassion). In fact, contemplation is a big part of meditation practice. In order to meditate on something, it helps if you’ve contemplated it a lot first.

So then it struck me, what did I want to contemplate most right now? Many ideas came to mind but one idea really struck a chord. Every day so many unexpected things pop up, so my main job seems clear: I need to ensure I create the best conditions in my mind for my meditation to succeed so that I can maintain inner peace.

So, every time I wash my hands I’ll think to myself:

My mind is the nature of clarity: vast, spacious and completely unobstructed by anything. My thoughts and feelings are like clouds in the sky. Just as clouds arise and then disappear, likewise my thoughts and feelings are impermanent and if I don’t follow them, they too will disappear back into the clarity of my mind.

Yup and it’s twenty seconds long! So if, like me, you’d like to transform your regular hand washing experience into the spiritual path then I hope you found this useful. Happy hand washing!

Cooking with compassion

I’ve noticed that people are being a lot more appreciative of their food his week – we have stopped taking so much for granted. Let’s make use of the challenge and really nurture this appreciation!

Here are some of the challenges we’ve all had to face, and some ways of relating to them that can help us keep a positive mind:

Challenge: Queuing for the supermarket
Solution: I am actively helping and protecting the people in front of me in the queue right now. How wonderful that I can benefit others just by standing here!

Challenge: My favourite things are not in stock
Solution: I am going on a culinary adventure, and so many people are helping me to do it. Just think how many people have been involved in growing and transporting all these things – it’s a miracle we have so much available.

Challenge: I’m worried I won’t be able to feed myself or my familyMini Message Card - Web of Kindness
Other people are very kind. I am not as isolated as I feel: our whole society is really pulling together to help and support each other. If I reach out for help, someone will be there.

Try these tips to stay focused on kindness and inter-connectedness – I hope it helps.

“Our sense that we are an island, an independent, self-sufficient individual, bears no relation to reality. It is closer to the truth to picture ourself as a cell in the vast body of life, distinct yet intimately bound up with all living beings. We cannot exist without others, and they in turn are affected by everything we do. The idea that it is possible to secure our own welfare whilst neglecting that of others, or even at the expense of others, is completely unrealistic.”

Geshe Kelsang Gyatso

Is brushing your teeth a training in meditation?

How brushing your teeth can help to reduce daily moaning and whinging. Don’t want to turn into a complainer and just can’t seem to stop yourself? Use our daily meditation tips to retrain yourself.

Don’t want to be Moaning Myrtle?

Fed up with hearing your own voice complaining about the weather, family or no toilet paper? When we are unhappy we can fall into a habit of moaning leaving a bad taste in our mouth and mind. People stop listening and don’t want to be near us.

Rather be Mr or Ms Happy!

On our good days we are kind, funny, great company. It is infectious, our friends and family want to be near, they listen and want to be a part of what we are doing.

Today’s Meditation Tip – How to use Brushing our teeth to reduce our moaning & complaining

We brush our teeth twice a day and it can be a mindless task. We can now use this time usefully to train in a meditation and mindfulness to maintain positive thoughts and speech.

1. Put the toothpaste on the brush and think of it as a special product to clean teeth and your mind

2. Whilst brushing your teeth imagine you are brushing away the negative speech of the day

3. Empty your mouth of dirty paste and negative speech seeing it all disappearing down the drain

4. Look at your clean teeth in the mirror, feel happy with your work and make a determination to reduce or stop your negative speech that day

5. Throughout the day each time you start to moan or complain try to remind yourself to stop

6. If you find you just couldn’t stop yourself, do not worry start again the next time you brush your teeth.

Try this for one week and see how you feel. Good luck!!