The Miracle of Mindfulness and the Benefits of Meditation

What is Mindfulness?
• Mindfulness has a profound relevance for our present day lives.
• Mindfulness has everything to do with waking up and living in harmony with oneself and with the world.
• Mindfulness has to do with examining who we are, with questioning our view of the world, and    our place in it, and with cultivating some appreciation for the fullness of each moment
we are alive.
• Most of all it has to do with being in touch.

Our ordinary waking state of consciousness is seen as beingseverely limited and limiting, resembling in many respects anextended dream rather than wakefulness.

• The habit of ignoring our present moments in favor of others yet to come leads directly to a pervasive lack of awareness of the web of life in which we are embedded. This includes a lack of
awareness and understanding of our own mind and how it influences our perceptions and our actions.
• Mindfulness means paying attention in a particular way: on purpose, in the present moment, and nonjudgmental. This kind of attention nurtures greater awareness, clarity, and acceptance of present-moment reality.
• It wakes us up to the fact that our lives unfold only in moments.
• If we are not fully present for many of those moments, we may not only miss what is most valuable in our lives, but also fail to realize the richness and the depth of our possibilities for growth and transformation.
• A diminished awareness of the present moment inevitably creates other problems for us as well through our unconscious and automatic actions and behaviors, often driven by deepest fears and insecurities.

Mindfulness is Simple but Not Easy
• While it may be simple to practice mindfulness, it is not necessarily easy. Mindfulness requires effort and discipline for the simple reason that the forces that work against our being mindful, namely, our habitual unawareness and automaticity, are exceedingly tenacious.
• We tend to be particularly unaware that we are thinking virtually all the time. The incessant stream of thoughts flowing through our minds leaves us very little respite from inner quiet.
• We get caught up in the torrent and it winds up submerging our lives as it carries us to places we may not wish to go and may not even realize we are headed for.
• Meditation means learning how to get out of this current, sit by its bank and listen to it, learn from it, and then use its energies to guide us rather than tyrannize us. More on how to quiet our minds later.

Self Observation is Key
• By being with yourself….by watching yourself in your daily life with alert interest, with the intention to understand rather than to judge, in full acceptance of whatever may emerge, because it is there, you encourage the deep to come to the surface and enrich your life and
consciousness with its captive energies.
• This is the great work of awareness; it removes obstacles and releases energies by understanding the nature of life and mind. Intelligence is the door to freedom and alert attention is the mother of intelligence.
• Try asking yourself in this moment, “Am I awake now?”, “Where is mymind right now?”.

How to Meditate
• Sit up straight with your back erect. Open posture. No crossing legs, arms. Take glasses off. Close your eyes.
• Breath deeply a few times. Put your attention on the feeling of your breath going in and out. Now breathe normally but keep your attention on the feeling of your breath.
• Whenever your monkey mind interferes, don’t resist, put your attention back on the feeling of the breath. Monkey mind cannot function if your attention is on your breath.
Bonus: To go deeper in mediation, put your gaze on the third eye.

Monkey Mind: Barrier to Effective Meditation
• It means "unsettled; restless; capricious; whimsical; fanciful; inconstant; confused; indecisive; uncontrollable".
• The term " monkey mind ." The monkey " refers to how our primate relatives were able to swing from one branch to another with awe inspiring skills. Similarly, our minds bounce from one idea to another, but rather than inspire awe, the activity often fills us with anxiety.
• Our objective in meditation is to attain mindfulness, so we can have peace, improve our health and alertness, and live happy lives.

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