The mirror of mindfulness

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This past summer I very much enjoyed reading Sam Harris’ book Waking Up: A Guide to Spirituality Without Religion.

A helpful Redditor extracted and posted all of the meditation instructions from the book, including the following simple eight-point instructions on “How to Meditate.”

  1. Sit comfortably , with your spine erect, either in a chair or cross-legged on a cushion.
  2. Close your eyes, take a few deep breaths, and feel the points of contact between your body and the chair or the floor. Notice the sensations associated with sitting— feelings of pressure, warmth, tingling, vibration, etc.
  3. Gradually become aware of the process of breathing. Pay attention to wherever you feel the breath most distinctly— either at your nostrils or in the rising and falling of your abdomen.
  4. Allow your attention to rest in the mere sensation of breathing. (You don’t have to control your breath. Just let it come and go naturally.)
  5. Every time your mind wanders in thought, gently return it to the breath.
  6. As you focus on the process of breathing, you will also perceive sounds, bodily sensations, or emotions. Simply observe these phenomena as they appear in consciousness and then return to the breath.
  7. The moment you notice that you have been lost in thought, observe the present thought itself as an object of consciousness. Then return your attention to the breath— or to any sounds or sensations arising in the next moment.
  8. Continue in this way until you can merely witness all objects of consciousness— sights, sounds, sensations, emotions, even thoughts themselves— as they arise, change, and pass away.

Those who are new to this practice generally find it useful to hear instructions of this kind spoken aloud during the course of a meditation session.

You can make use of two excellent guided meditations (one shorter, one longer) over at SamHarris.org.

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Random act of lovingkindess

My heart opens when I watch this simple kindness unfold.

It’s when he goes back and gently places the hat on the man’s head that I see it is like the act of a mother caring for her child. One YouTube comment I came across reads ‘this man is surely going to heaven.’ But I think if we are this open and allow our natural innocence be our first response, this earth is heaven.

(via The Telegraph)

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Inspiration through myth

In this engaging podcast, best selling author and teacher Jack Kornfield reads stories from Buddhist texts and explores their meaning by asking simple questions of his audience. The result is a lyrical and thoughtful hour-long teaching, scattered with gems of inspiration and insight for anyone walking the path of awakening to their true nature.

Path on the park“Drawing from Buddhist texts, Jack tells the story of the last year of Buddha’s life, and the teachings he imparted to his followers and future seekers on the path. Guidance for practice, and instructions for building and sustaining wise relationships were the focus of these final offerings. The power of mythology is emphasized in appreciating its capacity to speak to the human imagination.”

You can subscribe directly to Jack Kornfield’s Heart Wisdom podcasts on iTunes. There are new podcasts uploaded 2-3 times a month.

(via MindPod Network)

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It ain’t what you do, it’s the way that you do it

Over at her website, much-loved teacher and author, Tara Brach, has hundreds of dharma talks available to stream or download free! As she sweetly says at the beginning of each episode, they are “offered freely, and your support matters.” I subscribe to her podcast directly through iTunes and enjoy listening while driving, walking the dogs or working out.

In her most recent offering, Three Attitudes that Nourish a Liberating Practice, Tara shares her experience and insights from a recent retreat. She begins with the line of inquiry that lead to her developing the talk: ‘what way of paying attention really wakes us up out of the dream of being a separate self?’ And then, throughout the hour, she answers this question by sharing stories and guiding brief meditations. Spoiler alert: the three special attitudes to bring to your spiritual practice that will yield results (regardless of your particular practice or faith tradition) are 1) relaxation, 2) interest and 3) friendliness.

While I’m at it, if you haven’t read it, Tara Brach’s book, Radical Acceptance: Embracing Your Life with the Heart of a Buddha, is truly wonderful.

Blume

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Mindfulness is a superpower

Another sweetly animated and succinct mindfulness video narrated by Dan Harris, the practically-minded author of the New York Times bestseller 10% Happier.

“Mindfulness is not going to solve all your problems. It’s not going to render your life a non-stop parade of unicorns and rainbows. Nonetheless, this is a superpower. And one that is accessible by you immediately.”

I sure do share Dan’s view on the future of mindfulness and meditation:

“It’s going to join the pantheon of no-brainers like brushing your teeth, eating well and taking the meds your doctor prescribed for you.”

GDS gobblynne post

If you missed it, enjoy Dan’s and animator Katy Davis’s: Meditation 101: A Beginner’s Guide

(via happify.com, video animated by Katy Davis gobblynne.com)

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