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One-word meditations

KeromeKerome Love, love is mysteryThe Continent Veteran

I was just thinking about why I’ve not gotten to grips with the eightfold path, and it suddenly occurred to me that I feel more freedom and satisfaction when I meditate on a single word than when I try to do for example right effort or right mindfulness.

Words I’ve meditated on the past have been “purity” and “attention”, and it generates a pleasant feeling of correctness when I do this. I keep the meditations short, perhaps ten minutes. I’m planning to do a series of these, and take the focus of my practice off the breath for a little while.

It occurs to me that this is a little like meditating with a mantra. A mantra for those who understand the language is also a focus of meaning and purpose, supported by deeply ingrained language patterns. It makes more sense to me than meditating on aum for example.

Have you ever tried working with something like this?



  • federicafederica Seeker of the clear blue sky... Its better to remain silent and be thought a fool, than to speak out and remove all doubt Moderator

    "Simplify" Does it for me.

  • JeffreyJeffrey Veteran Veteran
    edited January 26

    I am experimenting with suggestions from a reading and we use four words and they are more elaborated exercises also if we wish. Things can vary from person to person though so my teacher says that although these are compiled in our sanghas written teachings it may be for a particular person that they find different words to 'get the right touch'.

    But our recommended words are: "wake", "heart", "present", and "space"

  • BunksBunks Veteran Australia Veteran

    The word "Buddho".

    "Bud" on the in breath.

    "dho" on the out breath.

  • KeromeKerome Love, love is mystery The Continent Veteran

    @Bunks said:
    The word "Buddho".

    Thanks @bunks, I’d forgotten about that one!

  • lobsterlobster Veteran Veteran

    It makes more sense to me than meditating on aum for example.

    I am the reverse. I find a sound/mantra without too much language baggage more helpful. I also prefer more than one word. This does not negate your perfectly valid method.

    I do use the single beat reminder in another way. I use a stone, bead, coin or finger pressure to bring me back to mindfulness. The pressure is just enough to cause slight discomfort.

    “Only when you can be extremely pliable and soft can you be extremely hard and strong.”
    – Zen Proverb

  • personperson Don't believe everything you think the void Veteran

    I think I've used a technique along those lines from time to time. I kind of think of it like metta meditation only for other topics. So it doesn't necessarily have to be just one word, the point is to reflect on an idea or repeat a word or phrase to give rise to a feeling associated with it, when it does then switch to a concentration practice on that feeling to let it sort of soak in. When it fades then repeat the process.

  • lobsterlobster Veteran Veteran


    Suddenly realised I do this with every word. Every letter. Every thing reminds me of the four jewels. We never talk about the fourth but she is the unsaid ... ;)

  • VimalajātiVimalajāti Veteran Whitby, Ontario Veteran
    edited February 8

    "The fourth jewel is the suspension of disbelief," he said, disbelieving himself.

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