Category Archives: Spiritual Practices
(1) From “Zen” from youmeworks reminds us–“Mindfulness meditation is somewhat different. There is no particular focus. It is a process of paying attention to your ongoing experience, whatever it may be at the moment. If you have a pain in your knee and that happens to be prominent in your awareness right now, you pay attention to that — not trying to concentrate, but simply noticing it and letting it be there. You don’t try to make it different. You don’t try to hold onto it. You just notice it as fully as you can, including what is going through your mind about it.”
(2) “How to do Mindfulness Meditation” by Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche includes this:
“In mindfulness, or shamatha, meditation, we are trying to achieve a mind that is stable and calm. What we begin to discover is that this calmness or harmony is a natural aspect of the mind. Through mindfulness practice we are just developing and strengthening it, and eventually we are able to remain peacefully in our mind without struggling. Our mind naturally feels content.”
“Learning to bring one’s attention back to the present moment, including the ever-present process of breathing, over and over again, involves learning to catch oneself entering into habitual patterns that prevent clear awareness of the present moment. With continued practice and increasing development of mindfulness, one becomes increasingly able to notice those habitual reactions – to unwanted and wanted but unhealthy experiences and emotions – that prevent one from responding consciously and constructively.”
“For example, instead of realizing 5-10 minutes later that you’ve been lost in bad memories or fantasies of revenge, you can catch yourself after only 30-60 seconds. Better yet, you can learn to catch yourself in the process of getting lost in a memory or fantasy. In time, you can increasingly observe these habitual responses as they arise, and choose to respond in other, more skillful ways.”
To gain inner peace for greatest stability, do the following visualization to strengthen your intuition. Begin with deep breathing. In a comfortable sitting or standing position, expel the air from deep in your lungs. Repeat the deep breathing several times. When you feel energized, you are ready to begin the exercise.
- Lie down on the floor or on the ground and turn over to lie on your stomach. Brooke Medicine Eagle suggests lying there for 15 minutes while picturing a golden cord running from your belly into the heart of the Earth. Afterward, turn over on your back for the same period of time and experience the wind and sunshine passing through your belly.
- While on your stomach, you may reconnect with the feeling of being supported by the Earth. While on your back, you may recall your relationship to the Eternal. If you practice these on a weekly basis, you will feel a need to recommit to preserving your ecosystem.
- Basic warm-up for getting in touch with your intuition: Sit in a chair with your feet on the floor and with your eyes closed. As you breathe, let all thoughts drop away. Concentrate on your breathing to shut down the mind chatter. Notice how your chest expands as the air flows in and out of your diaphragm. Count the inhaling and the exhaling as one cycle. Notice how the different parts of your body react as you relax and shut down. To keep your mind in the now, practice counting the breaths. If you aren’t relaxed at the end of a goal of 50-100 breaths, make the goal longer each time until you reach your optimum length of breaths.
- The inner pilot: Choose a problem that has been bothering you lately. Choose one that is of a minor nature. Write a simple statement that describes the problem. Choose a room that is quiet and has little direct light or sun. If necessary, lie on a blanket on the floor. Don’t wear anything that might be restrictive such as a watch, eyeglasses, shoes, or socks. Lie face up and shut your eyes. Focus on the problem that you’ve selected.
Run through all the arguments pro and con. Examine them in all their possible dimensions. Consider all the nuances of the problem and mentally follow through the possible consequences of every solution. Go into the basic warm up and allow all directed thought to slip away. Concentrate on your breathing and pay close attention to how you feel as images come into your mind.