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Friday, December 18, 2020

Mindfulness, Compassion and Nonviolence - Series 11


Let us get started.

Here is a link to guided meditation on Breathing by Rev. Thich Naht Hanh.  Please just follow the instructions. The mind will tend to wander. Please recognize the “mind wandering” and get right back to the breath.

What if you are under stress right now and you are not able to work through the concerns and distractions?  Please try this link. It may help you to get back to breathing.

 Meditationfor Working with Difficulities | UCLA Mindful Awareness Research Center -YouTube

Ideally, you should assign a specific time of the day. If you cannot, it should be possible to pause several times a day for just one minute, stop what you are doing, take a breath or two mindfully and bring yourself to the present moment. That is what some physicians learn to do, just before they enter a patient’s room.

Finally, what if you are not able to sit for a few minutes but some sensation such as itching or slight pain in one of part of the body makes it difficult to focus on the breath? Please use that as an opportunity not to respond immediately. In other words, if there is an itch, just observe it for a few seconds at least. Use that opportunity to learn the difference between the sensation itself and the way our habit energy makes us respond to it immediately by scratching. You will be amazed to find, just as I was, that the itching will go away in a few more seconds or in a  minute or two.

That leads to another learning opportunity. Various sensations we experience and various emotions we experience are transient. They come and go, if only we learn how to observe them for what they are and not make them worse. This will also help us learn how to use mindful meditation to relax muscles and deal with physical pain. 

Intention, Attention, Attitude

Neuroscientists who are studying meditation have found three components to mindfulness . They are Intention, Attention and Attitude. These stages are clearly correlated with changes in the brain as demonstrated in several imaging studies. The following two links will open relevant articles on this topic. (Please open the video at the beginning of this article) 

Neuroscientists have noted that there are three stages to the meditation process. They are intention to practice which determines how well you develop a routine and stick with it and how you prepare your body and mind for this practice;  how well you focus your attention on breath (or sound or mantra) and avoid distraction; and how you develop and maintain an attitude conducive to the practice. Amazingly, there are distinct changes in the areas of the brain and their interconnections which get activated during each of these stages. Here are some links to articles and videos.

ShaunaShapiro: Mindfulness Meditation and the Brain - YouTube

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