As I am sure you know, the Dalai Lama is a highly trained mediator. The Dalai Lama meditation technique is not the only meditative practice that he has told us about, but it is one that can have a powerful effect on your life.
The Dalai Lama is a no-excuse meditator. Even on a super-busy trip, he makes the time to meditate every morning … and if there is no good meditation space where he is staying, he just gets up really early, makes the bed, and sits cross-legged in the middle of the hotel bed.
This particular meditation is a Tantric practice. There is also a Catholic version that is remarkably similar, involving imagining angels of higher and lower intention — one on each shoulder. In some Native American traditions, different animal spirits will tempt you in one direction, or inspire you to higher action towards the other. In my opinion, this Dalai Lama meditation technique is universal — with versions everywhere.
The Dalai Lama Meditation Technique
The Dalai Lama has been acknowledged by Tibetan Buddhists to be a reincarnation of the God of Compassion and by the world in general to be a Nobel Peace Prize winner but we know him as a practicing meditator.
All his life, he has been surrounded by masters of meditation and has been initiated into many different techniques. It is therefore appropriate that we pay attention when he points out one method so valuable that he does it everyday:
Remember when you were a kid and they often had cartoons where someone had a devil on one shoulder and an angel on the other and they were whispering into an ear — one encouraging doing “bad” and one doing “good”.
In a way, that’s the basis of the Dalai Lama Meditation technique.
Sit quietly, calmly with eyes closed, as relaxed yet aware as you can be. Visualize yourself on the left side of your minds eye as you would appear to yourself and others in a moment of impatience. Really see this inner vision. Watch your face, observe your body language. What does your impatient self look like? On the right side of your minds eye, see yourself when you are very patient. What do you look like when you have a lifetime of time. As tense as you appeared on the left as your impatient self, see yourself as relaxed in your patience on the right. Now on the left side, see yourself as you appear when you’re depressed. Look carefully. How does that make you feel? Can you be aware of the aura of doom and gloom you’re radiating? And then, on the right side of your minds eye, see yourself as you are when you’re joyous. Merge with that happiness. Know how others would see you.
Continue seeing all the seemingly negative feelings and behaviors on the inner left-hand side of your minds eye and the opposite on the right. On the left, see yourself as jealous and on the right as how you appear when you are truly glad for someone else’s sucess or happiness. On the left, see the bigoted you and on the right, the all-embracing. On the left the mean, on the right the sweet. See the stupid you and the brilliant. See the clumsy and the graceful. On the left, see the unsatisfied and on the right, the contented.
Go on and on, becoming familiar with the “you” on the left and the opposite “you” on the right.
Then see the total “you” who would be there on the left if none of the characteristics of the right side were present.
Now see the “you” who would be the totality of yourself with the right side only if none of the behaviors and feelings of the left side “you” had ever appeared. Original here
As you practice this, you will notice that both “sides” of you are more complex than a first glance. There are dowsides to “good” and upsides to “bad”.
Perhaps you might even learn to embrace and love all of yourself… and all aspects of yourself too.
This technique has the potential to change your life profoundly for the better. It is one of the best antidotes for negativity. It is consistent with his unlimited compassion that the Dalai Lama has shared it with us.
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