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Meditation for Everyday Life

Lesson 21 of 28

Developing Compassions for Ourselves & Others

David Nichtern

Meditation for Everyday Life

David Nichtern

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Lesson Info

21. Developing Compassions for Ourselves & Others

Lesson Info

Developing Compassions for Ourselves & Others

But now it's my great pleasure to welcome our host for today meditation for everyday life with david nick turn david is actually this morning featured in the huffington post he actually writes for them on a regular basis on articles on meditation hayes I studied in shambala lineage of buddhism he's also an incredible musician songwriter producer he's emmy award winning he's a grammy nominee he's worked with stevie wonder lana del rey a whole host of a wonderful acts and of course as I've mentioned before he wrote that classic hit from the nineteen seventies midnight at the oasis for marie more though and I believe he met maria last night to show her the video that we made here at creative life I'm really delighted to welcome today three david nectar morning everybody great to see you all and uh welcome to all the, uh, people joining us online how are you today out there? So if you are joining us online um and you haven't been with us before, you might wantto get yourself some a comfort...

able cushion or chair to sit on because we're doing certain practices and uh meditating together but we'll also be talking quite a bit about the theory of it and so you can also maybe if you want to get a notebook or a uh uh however you take notes on your laptop or however you like to do that so that you can keep track there are some handouts that relate to the practices of two main practices that were going to be doing today, which is the mindfulness meditation practice, as well as a new product we're gonna learn today, uh, that's cultivating compassion loving kindness, and in addition, when you enroll for the program, you can download those free. I think we've been trying to emphasize that the meditation is, uh, not, you know, um, a magic pill, uh, and that it takes work and sort of some kind of focus and proper understanding and the actual practice of the same, but in that regard, it really is no different from from any other kind of cultivation that we would do in the rest of our lives. I don't believe they have ah, weekend intensive for lawyers, do they get you get you passed the bar and one weekend, you know? And I don't believe they have that for a camera. People write some training involved if we want to really master something and have it become part of us. So meditations really no different in that way and it's basically us just sort of tuning into and cultivating, I think the way that julie said it is best, you know, something that we aspire to, ah, the qualities that are natural uh to us that we really think are the best qualities and how can we bring those out more in general of these three days? And this is the last day so I'm already broken hearted that we're going to have to to end but it's demonstrating the truth of impermanence that are our segment will end today but, um the the notion off touching in to our own aspiration and, uh, seeing what it is that we ourselves would like to cultivate rather than, you know, having that kind of forced onto anybody so I asked people last night if they wanted to take a little ride um on do the homework and so if some of you are following us for the three days and you did your homework, maybe you could chip in a little bit here, but what I ask people to do it before we go on today, I thought we could talk about this. Ah, little bit is the notion of writing a short paragraph about each of thie each of the following topics the first one is what is your aspiration in life? You know, I mean, it may seem like a big question in a way, but we're talking about very simple uh it could be a simple as to achieve my maximum potential to be a good person teo teo be helpful to others what whatever it is, we're not we're not you know it's not a multiple choice question it sze question where you can come up with your own answer and then so the first one was aspiration to write a short little uh paragraph about that then what is your inspiration? You know, which is sort of thie what inspires you in life? What? What role models have you had? Is there anything that you look at a saying you know that's what I'll have what? You know that thing I'll have what he's having what? She's having that's inspiration you look at somebody so, uh then the motivation you know, why're you what gets you going? You know what? What creates that kind of ability to focus and and follow through on your aspiration and that shapes into some kind of intention? You know, somebody mentioned intentions won't think you did. You said I intend tio to use the contemplative meditation practice for the rest of my life. We got it on video taped and we everybody okay? So we're gonna make a loop of that and send it to you on youtube. So david said he's goingto use the contemplative practice for the rest of his life to help shape um this experience and then if you focus your intention and this is something we all kind of work with then uh the last one is perspiration I called it so what you doing about it? You know, in other words, I think a lot of people realize that once they focus their mind and say, well, this is my intention here and then you for example, to lose weight to get in shape teo to not eat gluten to eat gluten, whatever you have, you know, um, how well are you able to stick that? How is your effort going in terms of actually fulfilling your intention? And so that's that's something that called perspiration what do you actually doing? And none of this is a meant by the way no is intended to create recrimination and guilt and all that negative crap we don't we don't everybody let's disagree? We don't need that kind of state of mind to benefit from so it's just a question of reminding ourselves and coming back to who who we are, what we really mean to be doing here in this life and going along with that there's some recognition in the buddhist teachings of that life is not infinite, you know, it's it's finite our individual life is a finite a time. So um, getting clear on these things against the backdrop of what we call impermanence, understanding that we have fleeting time, you know, and even a day fleets by doesn't it uh it's amazing in here we are again it's the next day and then and then what happened to yesterday's gone so in a way we're looking at what is the most valuable usage of our time um and it's an ongoing contemplation you know that that could be part of the contemplation is what would be the most valuable use of my time today and with that, you know, then we tend to waste less time so um aspiration inspiration, motivation, intention perspiration so we're going tow have quite a lot to cover today but I just thought we spent a minute since that was the homework and I would be a bad teacher if I didn't great in the homework or at least look at the homework I'm wondering if any of the, uh live students had a chance to take it a shot of that and just be very, very brief about each even if you want to you could take a shot at it right now if you didn't get chance did homework this is if the dog ate your homework okay someone did anybody of you have a chance to take a shot at this? Julie did you yeah okay, okay, we'll start with you and very succinct okay, yeah no no, I didn't uh I didn't aspiration be present be awake be brave practice loving kindness strong healthy body feed creative life dedicated in present with my partner cc clarity about my worth and worthiness around earning and money have ease and grace make time to play spaciousness grounded dedicated open surrendered blazing practice mindful awareness financial freedom and wealth inspiration let's pause for a minute there that's that's wonderful that is so rich with positive kind of uh aspiration and that's what came out of you right when we squeezed your tube right now that's what came out ok so yeah ok good one inspiration things that make my upper arms tingle when something lands with me and it just is true and authentic whether it's music or are you know something somebody says my upper arms tingle it's kind of my bronco so uh some of those things are witnessing courage, truth loving kindness hearing something true beautiful authentic music especially that's daring or bear or lush or dissonance that resolves or doesn't silence um food community those air those are things that inspire me and teachers and healers who I have pulled into my life um let me deposit go on you know that's good. So I just want to tell you one thing though is that we mentioned marie mulder who of course saying and what I love and I'm forever indebted too because she's saying my song uh turned into a very good thing gave me a lot of mobility in my life but she she used to get goose bumps on her arms so you're not alone on that and when that's how we measured you know is this is this working or not do you know so the physical body that we talked about yesterday is always giving us cues and signals about our our inner feelings yeah, I love that no sweet motivation I crave collectivity and connection and that motivates me with loved ones with self uh with listeners of music I mean, I feel like if I'm playing live or recording or producing I'm always thinking about connecting with who is receiving it um conectiv ity with stillness with joy, serenity, gratitude being present and at peace with what is um and laying groundwork for a long, healthy abundant life and motivated by that um intention my intention showing up for meditation, yoga walking, drinking lots of water taking my time to prepare good food, sleep enough stay connected with my mom um right and play music just for myself. Uh, listen deeply produced records composed for film have lots of students stay engaged in inspired uh the intention one was the hardest one for me the one I did last e I just sort of dropped in perspiration uh, self care I work with an intuitive healer teacher regularly I take classes with her weekly that include abundance manifesting name it and claim it say what? I want a map out steps to get there and put one foot in front of the other I have to goto weekly therapy and goto acupuncture chiropractor and now meditation and I'd like teo get I'd like to drop into yoga practice too that's been challenging for me and then actions around perspiration uh I got a name it and claim it seek out mentors own my own bad ass miss uh speak up, tell someone what I want to work with them or tell someone when their work inspires me because you never, ever know what's going to come back to you? Um I've gotten lots of gigs that way, telling someone I love their work, I'd love to work with you just like owning owning that I am worthy of being of sharing space with that person. So that's, what I got julie, tell us some of the artists you've worked with just cause I find it uh powerful a powerful fact about you that you've really been out there a psa musician and done some impressive work. So would you just mind sharing? I've worked with carly simon, um indigo girls ani difranco, bruce coburn, macy oh parker um lots of amazing singer songwriters who you may or may not have heard of crystal horse melissa ferrick dar williams I came up is a jazz musician so I count among folks in my jazz community wayne horvitz robin holcomb um yeah I've been now it's macy oh parker the famous macy oh yes ceo seo blow that for those of you who don't know what I'm referring to his james brown's famous sax player very famous fabulous I met mason because he opened for ani difranco for a summer when I was doing with her and then we opened for his band in europe his first second third organ player I couldn't make the gig they couldn't make the gigs and so they called me and I got tio big with him and that was school every night was school really I was terrible on and it was so much fun yeah well thank you for sharing that I think it's um uh sometimes we don't fully acknowledge where we've been, what we've done you know, on dh without, you know, any sort of sense of false pride it's kind of a genuine when we talked about pride yesterday there's a genuine dimension to pride too, which is sense of accomplishment and richness in terms of where we've been, what we've done sometimes we don't give ourselves enough credit, you know, just hearing what you're saying is giving me this right now I I hear that as truth no that's helping me yeah good thanks fantastic so maybe we could do uh one more from the live group and then are any of people from online so ready too jump in on this was too thick a topic might be we'll keep prompting we've got a few comments certainly will keep asking them to comment on it I don't have to give the full the full rundown but let's do alison did you have a chance to yeah, I actually did it uh I thought about it last night I wasn't in the last session yesterday so I watched with kelly I watch uh he recorded rebroadcasting version I had a the idea of happiness and I there was a quote I heard which was happiness is when you aline what you think say and do so when what you think say and do are in harmony ah and I think of that as being a hole in genuine person so being able to really be clear about what I'm thinking say what I'm thinking and then act in accordance with that on which is a really it's like a really large goal so it's a little overwhelming my inspiration for that has been teachings have aspirations to a line thought action yeah thoughts what I say and what ideo thought speech and actions so mind like what we talked about mind speech on body so it there's many parts to that because I need to be clear with myself about what I'm thinking then I need to be clear with what I'm saying and then I need to act in accordance with those two things so this you know going to be an ongoing process that's the aspiration that's the aspiration of the inspiration the inspiration has been uh philosophical teachings the idea that if you can really identify who you are genuinely and then align everything you do with that person you can achieve some sort of happiness or uh joy and not be confused generally with why maybe things aren't going the way that you expected them tio or why you aren't fulfilled so can you say this very simply just one sentence with the inspiration is high I know it's hard to say it very simply uh the inspiration is that's your second assignment okay streamline clarity ok yeah um motivation I guess would be furthering my spiritual practice I find accomplishment when I feel I'm making progress so that motivates me um whether it be when I feel that I'm being genuine and what I'm saying and I'm acting on it and that brings me joy and I find that my relation ships are enriched by being able to do that that's motivating feedback so I was the essence of that great town after another um then my intention I guess is honesty but I intend to be honest with myself and with others ah and finally this is very haphazard I need to finish my coffee perspiration I've been really focusing on practicing yoga every day I've been eating really well, so taking care of my physical body so that I can I can go into a spiritual realm that maybe I wouldn't have been able to before health also journaling I've been watercolor painting a lot and I found that is a great way to meditate actually because I like to do a still lifes and when I'm painting, I'm on lee looking at what I'm painting and there's really no nothing else that my awareness has been drawn to, um and talking genuinely with friends, I identified that I was having a hard time reaching out to people when I needed to talk to them and I've been trying to call a friend when I need teo I've always felt maybe I was a burden, so he wasn't giving myself even the opportunity to be honest with what I was saying because I wasn't even saying to stay in touch good okay, thank you. This is by the way, this is a process it's going to be ongoing you khun do it a month from now step through the five steps again, but it gives you a way to tweak or even become aware of uh or focus the lens on what you're doing with your life so it's kind of reflective surface is just a little exercise to give you a little feedback for yourself so we can spend too much more time on this, but I encourage everybody in the online world if you haven't had a chance to do this and you want to take a shot of this exercise just right thes five these five words down the aspiration, inspiration, motivation, intention and perspiration and just put a short, very focused uh now line comment on each of those for yourself and maybe just review it periodically and you can just see if you're in line with your own with your own sort of inner guidance system you know andi, were there any comments from the online community? Okay. Jennifer h who's joining us from southwest colorado hello? Jennifer says aspiration is contentment inspiration as art partner nature buddhism motivation is the bigger truth intension buddhist practice as a central part of life and perspiration is I'm living it as we speak wow that's very concise, ari yeah, not a very clear, very concise so thank you very much. Was jennifer for h great thank you jennifer and the others they think our chat rooms have stopped coming to live with it. Actually, burns has just joined us from new zealand so welcome all the way to new zealand that please feel free to share your thoughts on the homework from last night and other thoughts as we go through today all right, so you guys be joining in this week, so I think we need to move on. Did you want to take a shot at it? Because I don't take shot just because I was gonna write mine this morning at breakfast and, um I grab my tea again and my t had written mine for me in one sentence for all five. Wow, so and it says, yeah, you should try the tea I strongly recommended it says inspiring others toward happiness brings you happiness. Wow! And what a great segue way that is for what we're gonna be talking about and scotland is north tennessee. I believe it is absolutely true. When I first came to america, somebody told me they thought scotland was an island off the english coast, but then they didn't know the island was part of new york, so I island was an island, not ireland. Meanwhile, back david way used to say meanwhile, back at the ranch, tanto disguised as a tea bag was up to his neck in hot water. So we continue on with our exploration of the meditation tradition today. And for those of you who haven't been with us so far, we've looked at two main types of practice the first one is called mindfulness or in uh, we're drawing down a practice called shama tha from the buddhist tradition, which is just bringing your mind together with any particular object of meditation in order to focus, clarify the mind and develop a certain kind of strength of attention which is I think something that alison mention just having ability to know when your water coloring just to be able to focus your mind that is shah mature by the way in essence you're just working with that as the object of the meditation so anything khun b sort of mixed with that kind of mindful approach you can paint mindfully you can cook mindfully you khun um you know, play music mindfully you can run a company mindfully or your mind is somewhere else and you distracted so this is a very simple realignment practice you know, very very basic and universal then the other thing we looked at which seems to have had some traction you know at least with the live folks here and I think maybe a few online people mentioned it is contemplative meditation in which were already taking the mindfulness is a basis you know we're assuming that we're able to sort of put our attention onto something in a focussed way right and that we're uh focusing uh instead of just on the sort of feeling of awareness in the present awareness itself we're focusing on that particular topic ah that with the intention of either developing some kind of clarity about that or insight and that's one benefit and the other is to make ourselves more familiar with a particular quality that we'd like to cultivate and it's interesting you know when you get familiar with something then it becomes yours in a certain point so if we cultivate from the already with the feeling of compassion and obviously we're turning into that quality of of being concerned and considerate about the well being of others and that just becomes part of our uh tool box at that point so the mind is very powerful in whatever we turn it to it's going to you know have some kind of result uh and we can see that you know, if our mind has sort of turned towards negative thoughts are you know ah feeling of aggression or even aggression towards oneself that that's going to become familiar territory right? So we're in a way training our mind the wrong way when when we do that um and it maybe that's been a long time habit that we've had for example drilling in the thought that I'm I'm no good I'm not worthy of a what was that from I'm not worthy um yeah you know wayne's world we're not worthy you know? So that's one kind of drill you could you could just almost to say that's a mantra you could repeated I'm not worthy worthy of course then you start to believe it you become familiar with the feeling of that and then that becomes normal for you so in today's session, we're going to look at another contemplative practice that many people have have have heard off or practice and it's a compassion practice that's dedicated to the notion of cultivating compassion but in specific it's called loving kindness meditation and that eyes also called meta a lot of people have heard of meta meditation, which is m e t t e a, which is the original polly translation of the word and then if you heard the sanskrit word it's my tree, may I are those all mean now we're in we're not in kansas anymore and here in u s of a you're talking about cultivating a feeling of unconditional friendliness, you know, sort of a generosity of spirit and, uh, hoping hardness towards oneself and towards others really seeing if we can develop those qualities so, uh, what's the benefit of that? Well, if you have two choices to cultivate a kind of field of aggression and grouchiness and irritability, which some of us are black belts at, aren't we and or to cultivate a kind of, um, uh receptive openhearted uh curious uh, kind and loving attitude towards one cellphone, others you can as they say, you make the call that's a choice that we have, um, in the buddhist teachings we said that we're inherently free all ready to make that choice so it's just a question of then what kind of habits do we have on working with habits so in this particular type of meditation we recognize that um we are already making certain choices inhabits uh we'll already have done that and so now we can re up and in a way it's um it's like placing your bet again and say where do you want to actually place the bet do you wanna place on developing a grouchy irritable negative state of mind or do a song you're gonna have a state of mind um uh or would you like to sort of cultivate the qualities of that we that we described with loving kindness meditation so this is what's called a relative practice of course of course absolutely speaking uh I think the interesting thing that we heard today one of the inch things things that hurt us one from you jamari which is just the quality being awake is a hidden jule you know it's hidden in plain sight here we are right we're right we're right in this very moment whether we recognize that or not that's where that's where the kind of um ultimate jewell and ultimately liberating uh quality is just recognizing that right on the spot that's why we've put these golden dots everywhere to just remind ourselves that quality and as I mentioned before we we feel that uh human beings have the potential to wake up at any time you know, that's that's kind of our birthright you could say on duh to just open our sense perceptions uh, open thinks very experienced that's right happening with us and be very resourceful in terms of relating to that so that's called the ultimate, you know, con equality of awakened heart, and it doesn't nobody has to buy that it's it's free there's no cause in conditions at all for it's considered to be our essential nature, but recognizing that a relative level, of course we're making all kinds of choices other than being awakened that way we could make a negative choice or a positive choice. So this is called the relative practice, and we recognize that it has consequences. You know, if you lean one way or lean the other it's going to have consequences that are rippling through, uh, I think everybody mentioned sort of their relationship with others in this in this aspiration. So how would you like that to go? And how would you like your relationship of yourself to evolve? And the practice of loving kindness is beginning to recognize that we're always cultivating something and we can choose you know what? That is. So in this case, it's a very simple, very simple, direct sort of cultivation of certain qualities that we associate that are generally associated with the kind of open hearted approach to living so if you're wishing something for a friend loved one let's take the simplest example of this and you have your own child or your mother or your best friend or even your dog uh what do you wish for them in that case when your heart is actually open and you feel you know kind of tuned in and you're you're you know you could think that you know whatever it is that you think of now think of somebody that you really love and that has been very good to you and kind to you in your life so if it's your mother that's okay your dad you know an aunt or an uncle or grandma sometimes people with a grandma or the pet and just allow that feeling to kind of be present like uh it's very soft, very open hearted kind of feeling and who would you think of you know just in your mind now start getting ready to think of somebody who makes you who who makes you turn into butter you know? Does anybody have trouble finding somebody like that in the life? Okay have somebody in mind this is like, you know, this is not like you know I'm not gonna cast who it is that I'm not a quiz show but if you have that president myun just going to notice how that makes you feel to think about the person in that way and what would you wish for them if you're just being completely honest about it so maybe we can have somebody take a shot at this um tell us who you're thinking about if you don't mind sharing that if you do you don't have to and what you what would you wish for them so kelly you want to take a shot at then uh okay uh so I thought of my husband wonderful teacher tom teacher town why is watching still not listening um and what would I wish for him uh happiness, contentment love and success and peace okay yeah it's simple. Well not that this is we're not in the science part of the program anymore friends we are going to look at the science of this which is very interesting that science supports the fact that we are wired this way and that this having the kind of experience you've just described is actually good for us science actually supports that brains neuroscience supports it but we're not in that part of the program right now we're all just feeling you and feeling absolutely happy that you have that relationship and it's a good thing so anybody else can think of somebody so hard um does it have to be a one person just for now just to focus the I guess my dad uh and I just want him tio I wish I wish for him teo to see things the way I see them because I know he'd be happier okay, so you're pushing sort of clarity for him yeah inside I wish he can find his soulmate you wish he could find his soul mate yeah, wonderful. Okay and that's cause you want him to be happy yeah, okay on dh evidence do you have any when you take a shot at this well, I will say I'll say my mom I think she might be joining in um if she hasn't broken the internet by trying hard on um way still online ok, good, good. Um so I think for my mom I would wish her to be present want her to uh just, um stay positive she's uh going through a lot of medical issues and if she just lives day today goes on walks focuses on things will make her better yeah that's what? I that's what I wish for okay, so health health well be what's your mom's name. Her name is becky. Becky okay, this I'm warning the people at home if you have a box of tissues you might want to bring it over for this particular exercise. Usually we provide them so this practice is what we call the heart practice it's not so intellectual um as maybe some of the others and we actually sent our energy in our heart to do this practice and part of that is even recognizing that we have one, um, and where it is. And the way you recognize that you have a heart where it is by is by really tuning into the quality of, uh, feeling something about somebody that you love. So sze, kind of a deliberate attempt to conjure. Ah, heart space.

Class Description

In today’s hectic world, our busy lives often crowd out any chance to sit still. Who has time to focus on mindfulness when there are 40 emails to write? Join Buddhist teacher David Nichtern for an introduction to meditation. David will show you how meditating for just 15-30 minutes a day will clarify your mind and decrease your stress levels.

David will teach you the basics of meditation, unpacking the centuries-old spiritual tradition into a practical playbook for living a balanced life. You will learn simple posture, breathing, and directed contemplation techniques that will help you unclutter your mind and increase your energy.

Stillness is a powerful way to be kind to yourself. At the end of this workshop, you will be more present, aware, and connected to the world around you.


Sean Newton

I've tried to develop a meditation practice in the past and signed up for this course because of the title ..'everyday life' This course works!! I'd like to thank David and the Creative Live crew for providing a life enhancing course. At first I was a little impatient as I thought the sessions were long, drawn out and repetitive however, half way through it 'clicks' (it made sense) and what may seem as a long-winded preamble is in fact laying a firm foundation for understanding and progression. Hastily wanting to skip to some perceived 'good bit that helps hedge fund mangers etc ' is like sprinting to the end of the rainbow instead of appreciating the various colours. (Your own perceptual colours even ;-)) Anyway, a worthwhile course - so stay the course and feel better for fit

a Creativelive Student

David is an amazing teacher, he has a gift for relating the principles of mindfulness in an accessible, relatable way. Plus, he's really funny. I'm super psyched to participate in this workshop. Thanks CreativeLIVE!


Also found this through the DTFH podcast. What a wonderful, powerful, and approachable course in meditation. Highly recommended to anyone interested in starting on this path. It's chock full of practical information and ways to apply meditation to your life.