We practice Tranquil Wisdom Insight Meditation (TWIM) as it is taught at Dhamma Sukha Meditation Center (DSMC).. The practice is very effective, pleasant about 95% of the time and developed by Bhante Vimalramsi and Venerable Khanti Khema from the suttas in the Pali canon. The meditation consists of a meditative object (lovingkindness directed towards yourself and then a spiritual friend) and a technique for dealing with distractions (the 6Rs). There are more nuances to the practice, we refer you to The Path to Nibbana by David Johnson or any of the publications at Dhamma Sukha for further information or technical questions.


  • Sit still with your eyes closed and relax.
    • You can sit in a char, you can sit on a meditation cushion, it doesn’t matter. Make sure you are sitting upright and are comfortable.
  • Smile.
    • This is important for two reasons:
    • Smiling helps keep our attention on our object of meditation. An anchor of sorts.
    • It’s a lot easier to be happy when you smile, and that’s the whole goal of this meditation!
  • Generate a feeling of lovingkindness (metta) towards yourself.
    • Lovingkindness is the warm, glowing feeling you get when you are happy and in the moment (i.e. not worried about the past or future).
    • You can use a mental phrase like “may I be happy” or recall someone or something that made you happy in the past.
  • Do this for a good five or ten minutes.
  • Next, switch to a friend and send lovingkindness to them.
    • Pick someone who is alive, you know well and admire for their positive qualities.
    • Don’t pick someone in your family–that’s a complex relationship that you’ll get to later.
    • Don’t pick someone you’re sexually attracted to–you’ll be off in daydream land instead of meditating.
  • Send the friend lovingkindness for the rest of your meditation
    • The feeling of lovingkindness will probably come from the heart/chest, imagine your friend just basking in the warm glow and getting progressively happier.
  • When meditation is done (generally speaking 20-30 minutes is a “normal” sit for beginners, but any meditation is meditation), send a brief feeling of gratitude to yourself and the universe.

Those are the basic instructions and in an ideal world you could just cruise control all the way to enlightment. But we don’t live in an ideal world (well, we live in a world composed of illusions formed from our ignorance), we live in a world with itches, barking dogs and stray thoughts.


  • Recognize that you are distracted.
    • You’re cruising along having a great meditation when suddenly you realize you aren’t smiling. Where did your mind go? Maybe you have a sudden itch, or a pain in your butt, or you remember an embarrasing thing from junior prom, or a fly lands on you and circumnavigates your neck while you’re in the dhamma hall or there are gunshots down the street (I am drawing all of these from personal experience).
    • Oh no! You’re distracted! Fortunately recognizing that you’re distracted is the first step to being undistracted.
  • Relax the tension in your mind/body (pro-tip: they are the same thing)
    • Do a quick scan of your body and mind to see if there’s any tension or tightness. Relax it.
    • Don’t be forceful or overly inquisitive. Just imagine the tension fading away.
  • Release the thought/impulse/whatever.
    • Is this supposed to go before relax? Does the thought come first or the tension (the answer might surprise you!)
    • Anyway, smile at the thought and release it. Don’t fight it or wonder why it came up. Say something like “thank you but that’s not what we’re doing right now.”
  • Re-smile.
    • Put that smile back on your face. It will feel corny the first 25 times then suddenly you’ll notice that when you smile the lovingkindess comes back stronger than ever.
  • Return to your object of meditation.
    • That lovingkindness that just came up when you smiled? Send it to yourself or your spiritual friend, whatever you were doing before you were distracted.
  • Repeat.
    • It’s a meditation practice because you have to do this thousands of times.
    • The goal is to make this process automatic–then when you encounter difficult situations off the mat, you have a reflex for dealing with them skillfully.

Alright that’s basically it. If you have weird, positive stuff happen, cool! Don’t take it personally. If you have weird, negative stuff happen, cool! Don’t take it personally. Have questions? Show up at our weekly group meditation (9AM Sundays at Earthbound Beer, 2724 Cherokee Street, Saint Louis, MO 63118) or email us! Or, for a better answer, contact David or Kirsten at Dhamma Sukha Meditation Center.

Search for a Topic
Posted Recently

This site, like life, is very much a work in progress.