Search Results for 'mindfulness'

Dzogchen Mindfulness Meditation

 This meditation is taught in a number of traditions in Tibetan Buddhism. Like Zazen, the practise is essentially very simple indeed, but, as you will discover if you do it consistently in the right spirit for some time, this is actually a very powerful meditation technique. It is said that this technique helps develop self-awareness, non-attachment and a feel for what Buddhists call 'Mind'.

Note that after you have done this meditation a few times, you can do it looking directly ahead or you can even do it during every moment when you are active in some activity or activities during the day.

 

Sit in a posture that feels comfortable, with a reasonably straight back. (See Posture.) Your hands should rest on your knees, with your fingers drooping down over your kneecaps. Keep your eyes open, and look at a spot in front of you: your eyes should look downwards at an angle of around 45 degrees.

As a way into the meditation, concentrate on your breathing. Allow it to become naturally deep and regular, feeling each breath as it passes into and out of your body, energising the whole system.

Let your thoughts subside. Let your feelings be calm. You are looking at one spot in particular, but you don't need to analyse what you it is that you are seeing. On the other hand, try not to let your eyes go 'fuzzy': just let them rest on that one place without effort.

When you find yourself thinking, following one thought to the next in the way that we normally do, then don't repress the thought, and don't indulge it. Just gently bring yourself back to being centred somehow in what might be called 'the observer' in you, that part of you that is able to stand back from your thoughts, and watch as they happen.

When you find yourself experiencing feelings, following one feeling to the next in the way that we normally do, then don't repress any of those feelings, and don't indulge them either. Gently bring yourself back to being centred somehow in 'the observer', so that you can stand back from your feelings, and watch them happening.

What we are aiming to do here is reserve certain amounts of the 'energy of our awareness' for different things. So when you find your awareness temporarily taken over by thoughts, or by feelings, or by sensory input from your eyes and so on, then gently 'bring it back' trying not to let more than 25% of your 'awareness-energy' be used up in this way. Reserve 25% of your awareness-energy for 'the observer'. The remaining 50% of the energy of your consciousness should be used to maintain, if possible, a sense of the void that, according to Mahayana Buddhist philosophy, underlies all apparent phenomena: the void from which all apparent phenomena arise, and into which all apparent phenomena subside from moment to moment. All things change in the long term, and all things change even in the short term. Nothing has any real substance. Thoughts, feelings, sense-perceptions and even the sense of 'I' that we all have are illusory. At base, there is sunyata, or voidness.

It's also important to remember at this time that we don't want to get too attached to the idea of 'the observer': 25% is about right: the fact that we reserve 50% of our consciousness for some kind of awareness of sunyata should underline the fact that even the perspective gained from observing ourselves closely can be limited insofar as it may be a limited, or dualistic, perspective.

Be fully present in the moment, here and now.

If a thought arises, you could say 'there is a thought'. If a feeling arises, you could say 'there is a feeling'. If looking arises, you could say 'there is looking'. If hearing arises, you could say 'there is hearing'. And gently bring yourself back.

You are sense-perceptions, thoughts and feelings, and you are the observer. You are also the ground of being, the Buddha-mind in which all these things have their basis. Be aware of the gaps between your thoughts, the gaps between your feelings, the gaps between different sense-perceptions.

Remain in this state of mindfulness.

When you are ready, prepare to come out of the meditation.

Make an 'intention', explicit to yourself, by way of sealing the energy of this meditation in your being, so that it can be used in ways that you feel good about. (See Opening And Closing A Meditation.)

In your own time, come out of the meditation.

by Richard Ebbs

Link: Meditation

Category: Meditations and reflections

Tradition: Buddhism

· meditation · Dzogchen · daily · spiritual practice · Richard Ebbs · mindfulness

Every breath we take, every step we make, can be filled with peace, joy, and serenity. We need only to be awake, alive in the present moment.

~ Thich Nhat Hanh

Category: Quotations

Tradition: Buddhism

· peace · joy · serenity · Buddhist · mindfulness · living in the moment

We who have touched war have a duty to bring the truth about war to those who have not had a direct experience of it. We are the light at the tip of the candle. It is really hot, but it has the power of shining and illuminating. If we practice mindfulness, we will know how to look deeply into the nature of war and, with our insight, wake people up so that together we can avoid repeating the same horrors again and again. 

~ Thich Nhat Hanh

Link: GoodReads

Category: Quotations

Tradition: Buddhism

· peace · truth · mindfulness

When you open yourself to the continually changing, impermanent, dynamic nature of your own being and of reality, you increase your capacity to love and care about other people and your capacity to not be afraid. You're able to keep your eyes open, your heart open, and your mind open. And you notice when you get caught up in prejudice, bias, and aggression. You develop an enthusiasm for no longer watering those negative seeds, from now until the day you die. And, you begin to think of your life as offering endless opportunities to start to do things differently. 

~ Pema Ch?dr?n

Link: GoodReads

Category: Quotations

Tradition: Buddhism

· life · change · awareness · mindfulness

Loving kindness meditation

Many Buddhist traditions practice Metta Bhavana, or loving kindness meditation. (Metta means loving-kindness.) The meditation is in several stages (the classic version has five). At each stage, silently recite a mantra, linked to the breath. The first line is said on the inbreath, the second on the outbreath, and so on.

Link: Read more about Loving Kindness Meditation

Category: Spiritual practices

Tradition: Buddhism

· Metta Bhavana · meditation · mindfulness · loving kindness · relaxation

Mindfulness

Walk in the woods or any quiet place and focus on noticing everything that is coming to you through all of your senses. Notice the sights, sounds, and smells you encounter as you walk along. Feel the air on your skin and your feet on the ground. When you notice your attention has shifted to something outside of the present moment, gently bring it back. Be present in your daily chores. For example, do the washing up while focusing on nothing but the dishes, the water, the soap and your actions. Do art, such as drawing or painting. Be present to this activity and, if you notice your mind wandering, gently bring your thoughts back to the present moment and what you are doing.

Category: Spiritual practices

Tradition: Buddhism

· meditation · daily · spiritual practice · mindfulness

Haiku writing

The haiku is a Japanese form of poetry which evolved out of the philosophy of Zen Buddhism. Traditional Japanese haiku have 17 syllables, but it has been suggested that English haiku should have more syllables, because English is a more long-winded language than Japanese, and you can pack a lot more concepts into 17 Japanese syllables than you can into 17 English syllables.

However, I tend to stick to the 17 syllable structure, divided into 3 lines of 5, 7 and 5 syllables. Haiku also traditionally include a kireji, a ‘cutting word’. The cutting word divides the poem into two contrasting sections with imagery that adds a surprising twist or contrast to each other. It’s difficult to find ‘cutting words’ in English, so haiku writers in English use a dash to separate the two sections of the poem.

Haiku are essentially poems about Nature, so Japanese haiku also have a season word, to indicate in what season the action of the poem takes place. The season word does not have to be the name of the season; it can be something that is obviously associated with that season – for example, plum blossom would indicate that the poem was describing spring. The imagery of a haiku is simple and unpretentious, and generally does not use similes to achieve its effects. The natural phenomena described may very well be metaphors for something else, but the haiku may also be enjoyed for the images of natural beauty, and the human response to it, that it conjures up.

Haiku poets would often gather together to compose haiku on the spot. One poet would begin, and then another poet would respond with a haiku of their own, and in this way a series of linked haiku (known as haikai-renga) would be composed by the group.

Sometimes haiku would be combined with travel writing or other prose. The most famous example of this form is The Narrow Road to the Deep North by Matsuo Basho, which describes Basho’s travels to the far north of Japan. The combined haiku and prose form is known as haibun.

Writing haiku teaches one to strip things back to the bare essentials, to distil experience into its pure form, and to observe Nature closely. It is a very satisfying process, because haiku are so short, and so complete in themselves.

 

by Yvonne Aburrow

Link: UK Spirituality blog

Category: Spiritual practices

Tradition: Buddhism

· Buddhist · everyday spirituality · haiku · Matsuo Basho · mindfulness · poetry · spiritual practices · Zen

A life is either all spiritual or not spiritual at all. No man can serve two masters. Your life is shaped by the end you live for. You are made in the image of what you desire.

~ Thomas Merton

Category: Quotations

Tradition: Christianity

· spirituality · mindfulness

Yoga

Provides a comprehensive guide to yoga. Find information related to the ancient art and science of yoga.

Link: Yoga

Category: Recommended websites

Tradition: Hinduism

· yoga · spiritual practices · body · awareness · mindfulness · exercise

Gratitude

Keep a gratitude journal: At the end of each day, list three to five things for which you are grateful. This practice of gratitude will help you find more joy in the small everyday happenings of life. Whether or not you send it, write a letter to a someone who has had a positive effect on your life describing what they did and thanking them for it.

Category: Spiritual practices

Tradition: Multiple traditions

· gratitude · journal · journalling · mindfulness · awareness

Journalling

Keep a journal of what you have noticed each day. There are many ways to do this, but the important thing is to notice your thoughts and feelings. At the end of each day, record at least one thing that surprised, moved, or inspired you. This will help you find greater meaning in everyday life.

Category: Spiritual practices

Tradition: Multiple traditions

· journal · journalling · mindfulness · awareness

Generosity

Give to others regularly - it brings joy and satisfaction. Our giving need not be of material things - our time and attention are among the most precious gifts we have to give.

Category: Spiritual practices

Tradition: Multiple traditions

· generosity · mindfulness · connection

A nice cup of tea and a sit down

The Japanese tea ceremony is the ultimate form of this spiritual practice; in it each movement is choreographed, and the tea is prepared and served mindfully and gracefully. The ritual has deep meaning and resonance for the participants.

However, the preparation and drinking of tea has a restorative effect on many people. The fragrance of the tea, the effect of drinking it, and the relaxation of sitting and being focused on the pleasure of tea, is all good for you. Its even better if it is accompanied by conversation with a friend.

The title of this article is taken from the excellent website entitled "A nice cup of tea and a sit down" which extols the pleasures of this activity, or should I say inactivity?

Details on the Japanese Tea Ceremony can be viewed here

by Yvonne Aburrow

Link: UK Spirituality blog

Category: Spiritual practices

Tradition: Multiple traditions

· a nice cup of tea and a sit down · Buddhist · everyday spirituality · mindfulness · spiritual practices · tea ceremony · Zen ·

Meditative walking

There are several different types of meditative walking, from various different spiritual traditions.

The theologian St Augustine famously wrote “Solvitur ambulando” (It is solved by walking), by which he presumably meant that as you walk, the problems that were at the forefront of your mind are put on the back burner and there solved. I have experienced this process myself.

Walking is also more environmentally friendly than other means of locomotion.

Eastern Orthodox Christians practice the prayer walk, which is a form of processional walking, with stops for prayers at various intervals.

The practice of walking labyrinths is a very ancient practice dating from pre-Christian times, but also used by Christians in labyrinths such as the famous one at Chartres. In a Chartres-style labyrinth, you never know quite how near or far you are from the centre, so as you twist and turn through the labyrinth, walking slowly and meditatively, you are reminded of the twists and turns of life, and sometimes solutions to problems come to mind as you walk.

Buddhists practice the walking meditation, which is where you walk slowly and mindfully, place one foot in front of the other in a slow and deliberate way, silently reciting a mantra as you walk.

Another way of walking mindfully is to walk in a garden, and walk towards the first thing – perhaps a plant, perhaps a stone, or a leaf on the ground – that attracts your attention, and then really look at it. What colour is it? What is its texture? How is it structured? Is it growing or decaying? Smell it, touch it. Does it make a sound? Follow the patterns on its surface. When you have really observed it with all of your senses, thank it and move on to the next thing that attracts your attention. At the end of your walk, you might like to draw what you have seen, or write a poem (perhaps haiku) about the experience.

by Yvonne Aburrow

Link: UK Spirituality blog

Category: Spiritual practices

Tradition: Multiple traditions

· everyday spirituality · meditation · spiritual practices · walking · ancient paganism · Christian · Buddhist · mindfulness

A small group of thoughtful people could change the world. Indeed, it's the only thing that ever has.

~ Margaret Mead

Category: Quotations

Tradition: None

· change · action · mindfulness

If the sight of the blue skies fills you with joy, if a blade of grass springing up in the fields has power to move you, if the simple things of nature have a message that you understand, rejoice, for your soul is alive.

~ Eleonora Duse

Category: Quotations

Tradition: None

· life · attitude · gratitude · mindfulness

The personal life deeply lived always expands into truths beyond itself.

~ Anais Nin

Category: Quotations

Tradition: None

· spirituality · mindfulness

 It's hard to know when to respond to the seductiveness of the world and when to respond to its challenge. If the world were merely seductive, that would be easy. If it were merely challenging, that would be no problem. But I rise in the morning torn between the desire to improve the world and a desire to enjoy the world. This makes it hard to plan the day.

~ E B White

Link: Ms Kitty's Saloon and Roadshow

Category: Quotations

Tradition: None

· change · action · mindfulness

Spirituality and Practice

A website created by Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat, devoted to resources for spiritual journeys. The site's name reflects a basic understanding: spirituality and practice are the two places where all the world's religions and spiritual paths come together. With respect for the differences among them, we celebrate what they have in common.

by Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat

Link: Spirituality and Practice

Category: Recommended websites

Tradition: None

· spirituality · spiritual practices · mindfulness · poetry · article · Frederic Brussat · Mary Ann Brussat

Stone Cutters

During the Middle Ages, a traveler once came upon a place in France where a great deal of building work was going on. He began talking with the stone cutters and asking them about their work.
He approached the first worker and asked, "What are you doing?"

The man, very disgruntled, and obviously unhappy in his hard toil, replied, "I'm cutting these huge boulders with the simplest of tools and putting them together in the way I've been told to do. I'm sweating in this heat and my back is hurting. What's more, I'm totally bored, and I wish I didn't have to do this hard and meaningless job."

The traveler moved on quickly to interview a second worker. He asked the same question: "What are you doing?"

The worker replied, "Well, I have a wife and children at home, so I come here every morning and I work these boulders into regular shapes, as I'm told to do. It gets repetitive sometimes, but it helps to feed my family, and that's all I want."

Somewhat encouraged, the traveller went on to a third worker. "And what are you doing?" he asked.

The third worker responded, with shining eyes, as he pointed up to the heavens, "I'm building a cathedral!"

Category: Stories

Tradition: None

· stories · folktales · fairytales · legends · myth · myths · mythology · Christian · attitude · mindfulness

            Next 20 results »