In this Meditation Month 2017 series, Ruth King, the founder of Mindful Members Insight Meditation Community of Charlotte, North Carolina, presents four practices for ungripping the heart and mind, based on the Satipatthana Sutta‘s four foundations of mindfulness: mindfulness of the body, of sensations and feelings, of mind and consciousness, and of the Buddhist teachings.
In her first talk, King teaches starts with a body scan, a technique to develop calm and check in with ourselves. She teaches that developing an inner calm with this technique counteracts gripping of the heart and mind. In the second talk, King challenges you to examine your emotions and the way they manifest in your body. “At the point of any contact that we have with consciousness, we have an experience of either pleasant, unpleasant, or neutral. What we then tend to do is move quickly into a story […] What we want to practice is seeing what experience we may have prior to that, and how that [experience] actually influences how we become gripped, or even ungripped for that matter,” King says. Next, in talk three, she introduces the three marks of existence: impermanence, suffering, and nonself. These teachings challenge us to reframe what we think of as personal, permanent, and perfect. King concludes the series with an explanation of the importance of a regular kindness practice and instructions for metta, lovingkindness meditation, which helps us “directly know the experience of a vast and open heart.”
Ruth King is an Insight Meditation Teacher and Emotional Wisdom author and consultant. She is on the Teachers Council at Spirit Rock Meditation Center and teaches the Mindful of Race Training Program to teams and organizations, supporting an engaged exploration of our racial conditioning, its impact, and our potential.