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Tuesday, November 24, 2020

Mindfulness, Compassion, Nonviolence - Series 7


What is the initial step in starting Mindfulness Meditation?

  We learn to become mindful of the present moment by concentrating on the breath and  using it as an anchor to come back to every time we recognize that our mind has wandered off. We focus on the breath because breath is our constant companion. That is why all methods of yoga and meditation start with breath. But the difference in mindfulness is that we breath naturally, as we normally do. There is no special technique to master. The main idea is being aware of that breathing while we breathe naturally. By being aware of the breathing, we bring the body and mind to the same place at the same time.

Observe the breath as it occurs naturally. I hope you used the links on aids to counting breaths in my earlier post. 

There are many methods to learn this first step. One is to count 1-2-3 as we take the in-breath and count 1-2-3 as we breath out. By counting the duration of the breath, the mind is more likely to stay with the breath. Another method is to place your hands over the abdomen and feel them as they move in and out during each breath. Yet another method is to feel the cool air entering the nose as the breath goes in and feel the warm air as it comes out.

The mind will wander, particularly in the beginning. Do not give up. Just stay with it. Do not be too critical of yourself. Do not react to the mind going away and judge yourself. Every time you recognize that the mind has moved away, just recognize that and get back to the breath and counting the breath.

Mindfulness of breathing brings about concentration of the mind. This focused attention helps reduce distraction and helps us focus on the present moment. This means that the mind is not living in and ruminating about the past and it is not  living in the future with fear, anxiety and worries.

Mindfulness is being here and now enjoying the present moment for what it is, with gratitude for this life and for the blessings we have.

To understand all this please see the video by Rev. Thich Naht Hahn. Sounds so simple and so easy. But please stay with it for 17 minutes.  It is deceptively simple, but profound.

(Before you leave this post, please let me have some feedback on the links I have been providing for sites with useful information on mindful living and also guided meditation techniques)

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