What is the 6R meditation, and how to practice this?
This is a meditation practice that is based on Loving-kindness, using Right Effort, which is part the Buddha’s Noble Eightfold Path. Basically speaking, it teaches how to radiate Loving-kindness to both yourself and others. Whenever you get distracted, you apply the 6R’s to gently let go of the hindrance.
Below you will find information on how to practice.
You don’t need to be a Buddhist, nor do you need to become one. You can be religious, or not at all.
Please, do not mix it up with other meditation practices. It’s essential follow these instructions precisely, without adding, changing or skipping something.
These are the 6R’s:
- Recognize there is a distraction (which is always unwholesome), no matter if it’s a pleasant or unpleasant distraction. You don’t really do this step; it either happens – you become aware you were distracted – or it doesn’t and then you are not meditating anymore, but thinking.
- Release the distraction; don’t put your attention on it, let it go, allow it to be there – without taking it personally, so without fighting against it – because this is the truth in this present moment. You can’t fight the truth. In other words, you develop your equanimity to it. It might disappear, it might stay. Keeping your eye on a hindrance will make it bigger, because then you’re feeding the hindrance.
- Relax (soften, tranquilize) the tension caused by that distraction, in the head and mind. If the tightness doesn’t go away, never mind, you will be able to let it go while on the meditation object (your home base).
- Re-smile (return to wholesome state)
- Return to the meditation object (wholesome object)
- Repeat this process, keep the 6R’s rolling
Instead of doing them individually, see them as a flow you want to get in to. It should not take you more than four or five seconds. There is no need to verbalize. Verbalization is slow and can cause tightness or a headache. You don’t have to know which hindrance you’re experiencing.
The 6R’s help you let go of craving
The 6R’S are designed to let go of craving, that’s all. They are not meant to get rid of the hindrances. They are not there to use as a stick to beat things away. Sometimes you’ll forget and the mind will go crazy with one thing or another. That’s fine, there’s no problem with that. It’s just the mind doing these silly, little things. Just let it be. It’s not yours. You didn’t ask things to come up. You don’t control it. It is present, so don’t fight with the truth.
When the mind starts to wander, you just notice it. Thoughts are not your enemy. They are not ‘yours’. You don’t stop them, nor do you push them down. You allow them to be there, but you don’t give them any attention. If thoughts come through, but you’re able to stay with the object of meditation, you can ignore them. They will fade away by themselves. It’s not that you need to 6R every thought that comes through. Only when you get distracted away from the meditation, do you need to 6R them. Some thoughts are observation thoughts; my mind is very clear right now; my back is straight. You don’t need to 6R them, since there is no craving in them. You can 6R, but it’s not necessary.
You don’t need to sit on the floor. You can sit in a chair, alert and with a straight back, but still comfortable enough to keep this position for at least half an hour. Don’t lean heavily into the back rest.
Sit for at least 30 minutes, without moving. At. All. Don’t scratch, don’t rub, don’t change the posture. You can swallow though 😊
Practice at least half an hour per sit. Then your progress will slowly improve. If you practice longer, your progress will be faster.
Choosing a suitable Spiritual Friend
A Spiritual Friend should be someone who will not bring lust up in you of any kind.
- Bhante Vimalaramsi advises to use a person of the same sex.
- They should be alive.
- You do not have to know them personally, nor do they need to live near you. They can be on the other side of the world. However, knowing them personally will make it easier to practice in the beginning.
- Pick a person who you respect.
To start with this practice, the Spiritual Friend
Should not be a family member
Should be alive
Should be human
Should not be a person who is ill or injured, because you might want to take away their pain or help them get cured, and keep thinking about that. (Outside your practice you can send good wishes to them, but not during the time you are trying to develop this practice)
Stays the same; don’t switch from person to person.
- Start by sending loving and kind thoughts to yourself. Smile, a little Buddha smile is enough. Remember a time when you were happy. Think about a time when you felt peaceful, calm or happy. Let a warm, glowing feeling in the center of the chest arise.
Remembering a time when you were happy can be any number of situations when you were young. It can mean having spend time with a parent, having looked into the eyes of a baby, or maybe you played with an adorable animal, like a kitten or puppy. It is not a case of imagining that this happened, it should be an actual memory and you remember how it felt. The feeling is not always the same and there are some people who had a very pleasant cool feeling. It isn’t necessarily always a strong feeling either. Don’t try to make it big, just go with the flow of what happens with it
- Make a wish for yourself (may I be happy, or: may I be peaceful). You need to feel that wish. You put this feeling in your chest and surround yourself with that feeling. And you radiate that feeling to yourself. When that feeling fades, you may use the same or change to another wish, as long as you feel that wish.
- If you become distracted – or when you accidentally start focusing on the breath – use the 6 R’s.
- After 10 minutes visualize your Spiritual Friend and see them smiling. It can be a picture or you can visualize them in words. Put that friend and your wish for them in your heart. This wish must be appropriate for the present moment. You feel these yourself, because you can’t radiate something that you don’t feel in that moment. Don’t repeat the wish over and over like a mantra, just say the wish once and radiate that feeling as long as you can. When that feeling fades, make another wish. It can be the same wish, or a different one.
When the sitting is good, sit longer. Sit as long as you’re comfortable. When the mind says it’s time to get up, sit for another 5 or 10 minutes to find out if that was only restlessness or it really was time to get up.
This acronym might be helpful: DROPSS. Whether it is a physical or a mental pain; Don’t Resist Or Push. Soften your mind and Smile.
Let your mind be like water; water doesn’t resist. It just flows around the obstacle. Allowing it to be, develops equanimity.
Have fun with this practice. Smile. Laugh about that mind that doesn’t get tired coming back to the same stuff over and over and over again. The whole point of smiling is to have a light mind. It makes the practice much easier.