Tips for Mindfulness

A foundational practice in Buddhism is the practice of mindfulness.  You can be mindful of the body, mindful of the mind, mindful of thought formations and the like.  The benefits of this practice is tranquility, peace, clear comprehension and understanding anatta (non-self).

I will not go into a long discussion of the benefits at the moment.  What I want to do is give you some practical tips on practicing mindfulness in daily life.  Ajahn Chah said, “If you can breath, you can meditate.”  The breath is a meditation object we carry with us always.  It can become our most interesting and constant companion.  My first suggestion is to take one or two minutes to pay attention to the breath.  Breath in and breath out…it’s that simple.  How long was your breath?  Was it short or long, quick or slow, was there a pause between the in-breath and out breath?  Don’t control the breath…just notice.

Another helpful tip is to meditate while walking.  For this, I pay attention to the soles of my feet to start.  Try to feel each toe, the ball of the foot, the heel of the foot.  How does the sole of the foot feel when walking?  How does the sole of the foot fall?  What sensation is there while you walk?  I have found walking feels great!  Does your shoe stay tight or is there movement?  Just notice.  And when you are comfortable with that practice, move up the leg bit by bit. 

Standing is another wonderful time to meditate.  At the copier, or while waiting on the elevator notice how it feels to stand.  Are there any sensations in the leg?  How are your arms hanging?  What about your shoulders, and head?  This is not about correcting posture but about being mindful of how your body is.  No judgements!

Being mindful of the mind, like the body, can be done anytime.  What is your mind doing?  Is your mind angry, irritated, at peace, quiet?  This is not about the thoughts, but about the state of the mind.  Seeing the condition of the mind is helpful in correcting our reactions.  But, you can pay attention to the thoughts.  Are they kind, friendly?  Are they lustful, arrogant, fantasy?  Don’t get involved in the thoughts…again, just notice!  The thoughts are uncontrollable.  They come and go.  But just watch them as you would a cloud.

I hope these tips are helpful for you.  I will post another blog about a benefit of this type of meditation: understanding the habits and how to see things as they are.  If you have a particular question, leave me a comment and I will try to cover it.

I hope you are safe and free from danger.  I hope you are well in body and mind.  I hope are you are peaceful.  I hope you are a happy!

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