Mindfulness is a way of being, focusing attention on the here and now. With roots in a Buddhism, it is a practice of intentionally bringing awareness to the present moment with an attitude of trust, kindness and curiosity.* One of the easiest ways to ‘hook in’ is by noticing your breath, without forcing or controlling it.
Before seated or walking meditation (or almost anything in life) it’s good to get in touch with your intention – understanding the reason for being and doing, and bring them together. Ask why you are here, what you are doing, and for whom you are doing it. Take time to breathe, set your pace, and connect with the work, relationships, and the environment. Deterine the proper orientation, perhaps pre-visualize possible outcomes yet allow the experience to unfold and relish in the journey.
Consider your attitude and the initial urges that come with that feeling. Name the emotion and examine it’s causes, but don’t judge or forcably change your state and allow your unique and personal experience to manifest. Start with the breath, but expand to include all of your awareness. Close your eyes and go inward or open yourself to all the senses and expand outward. How is the experience shaped and shared by the environment, people, objects, and activity that surround you?
The Three Keys of Mindfulness *
Intention (focus & clarity)
Why am I here? For who am I doing this? How much time do I have? What is my direction and desire? “The most important thing.. . is to remember the most important thing.”
How are you feeling? Honor your emotions and allow them to manifest. Don’t judge, be gentle, and begin with an attitude that bridges your intention with your present state of mind.
Awareness (inner & outer)
Open to all of your experience equally. Shift between the senses and allow for the unexpected. Breath deeply, connect with the environment, materials, and people joined in the experience.
Suggested guidelines for a meditative practice:
- Prepare yourself and your environment. Consider your posture, connection to the earth, and surroundings.
- Slowly bring your awareness to your breath without judgment or control.
- Recognize what is here, Allow & accept it, Investigate with intimate attention, and try Not to identify with it.
- Rest in the ambiguity. Allow spaciousness for no-thing-ness where possibility arises.
- See, hear, smell, touch, and taste. Feel for yourself. Just listen.
- Your experience is your teacher. It’s not about clearing the mind completely or attaining anything.
- If your mind wanders.. . gently bring yourself back to your breath, the moment, your aliveness, the intention.
- Mindfulness is possible in every moment. It’s good to have a daily practice and cultivate it through the day.
- Recognize who you already are and the beauty that is already you.
* Based on the work of Jon Kabat-Zinn and Shauna Shapiro. Compiled by Lars Howlett. See also Pema Chodron, Eckhart Tolle and Thich Nhat Hanh.