What is mindfulness how do I do it and why does it work
1. Don't have any expectations Don't expect that you will become relaxed; don't expect that you will slow and quieten your thoughts. Mindfulness meditation is about being open to change and being aware of it if and when it happens, but don't expect change. Expecting will limit possibilities and sets oneself up for disappointment. 2. … Continue reading The five essential elements of mindfulness meditation and relaxation
Mindfulness is, in essence, nothing more complicated that relaxing the mind. But first, take a moment now to relax a part of the body, maybe an arm or a leg. What was the process you went through to do that? Initially, I imagine you turned your attention towards your arm or leg; you then, perhaps, … Continue reading Mindfulness, relaxation and mental t’ai chi
During a mindfulness meditation we bring our attention to a variety of things: thoughts, sounds, the breath, sensations in the body, emotions. We hold these things in the foreground of our awareness. It is important during mindfulness practise to not create a tension between what we are holding in the foreground of our attention and … Continue reading The foreground and the background of mindfulness
One of the most commonly expressed frustrations when practising mindfulness meditation is that 'I couldn't control my thoughts'. Thoughts are not the problem; our thoughts only feel like a problem when we are in a non-relaxed state of being. When we do enter into a state of mindfulness our thoughts don't disappear, nor do we … Continue reading Don’t make your thoughts the enemy
The most important thing to remember during a mindfulness meditation is to not try to change your thoughts in anyway. The next important thing to remember is not to think that having thoughts is in any way a sign of failure. There are four main things we can choose to be mindful of: thoughts, sounds, … Continue reading A guide to guided meditation
"When you understand what attention is, not only during waking hours but also during sleep, then the whole of the mind is totally awake." J Krisnamurti I periodically have lucid dreams where I can become aware that I am in a dream and I can therefore take control of the experience and choose what to … Continue reading Mindfulness meditation and lucid dreaming
The autonomic nervous system in the body is responsible for all the automatic functions of the body such as the beating of the heart and the process of digestion. We don't have to make these things happen, they just happen automatically and regulate themselves depending on various internal and external factors. Breathing is another example … Continue reading Autonomic Thoughts
Just as the body has autonomic functions - processes, such as our heartbeat and our breathing, that occur automatically independently of our conscious will - we can see our thoughts in a similar way; this was discussed in a previous post. What about our emotions? How often would you say you consciously choose your emotions … Continue reading Autonomic Emotions
Of course your mind doesn't really have a size because it's not a physical thing. However we can assume a size for the mind, and that assumption can affect our experience. There is a tendency to equate the mind with the brain and our thoughts with activity in the brain. There is of course a … Continue reading How big is your mind?
If you have ever tried meditating, you will probably be familiar with the experience of battling with your thoughts. If there is one thing above all else that seems to stand between us and our desired meditation experience it is our lack of ability to control our thoughts. When we try to control our thoughts … Continue reading Why trying to stop your thoughts doesn’t work
Don't wait until you have the time and space to sit down to practise mindfulness; there are innumerable opportunities available everyday to experience mindful moments. A mindful moment is simply spending a few seconds at any point during the day to consciously connect with the present through one or more of your senses. When sitting … Continue reading Taking opportunities for everyday mindful moments
The experience of pure being can be very elusive. There is an inherent contradiction in having to make effort to change from our day to day consciousness of doing, striving and coping into a state of effortless-changeless being. Mindfulness meditation and relaxation is the process of undoing and letting go of this perpetual motion of … Continue reading Catching a moment of pure being
Time, timelessness and eternity are often portrayed as mysterious and ambiguous concepts, experientially unattainable or even illusory. This post is my attempt to remove this mystique and provide a very matter of fact account of time and the experience of timelessness, an often sought after goal of the meditator. I was once confused but simultaneously … Continue reading Demystifying eternity
Mindfulness sounds easy, really easy. It's quite hard to say what mindfulness is without it sounding rather simplistic; it almost sounds as if you are not really describing anything at all. Yet it is near impossible to actually do perfectly, to be 100% present and aware in each moment. But why should it be so … Continue reading Why isn’t mindfulness easy?
One of the reasons I am drawn to mindfulness is that I never really found visualisation that useful. I struggled with seeing clear internal images, wouldn't be necessarily interested in the scenarios offered by guided visualisations, and had no enthusiasm for creating my own. I feel much more at home simply connecting to the actual … Continue reading To visualise or not to visualise: can visualisation meditation be seen as a mindfulness practise?
When you have reached a relaxed state of mindful presence in your meditation ... 1 Add the thought that 'Now, anything can happen'. 2 Don't give the content of your thoughts ANY importance whatsoever. Don't assume your thoughts have any truth to them at all. 3 Ponder the unified nature of the present moment; when … Continue reading Deepening your meditation
There can be an assumption that a mindful mind is a mind of simple, minimal, quiet, slow and low impact activity; this need not be the case at all. Mindfulness brings great space, freedom and energy to the mind so that mental activity can become intensified, maximised, energised and optimised in new, positive, creative and … Continue reading Maximising mindful mental activity
Mindfulness is often described as not doing but being, about awareness not action. But then it is also described as not being about stopping your actions such as your thoughts nor blocking out any of your senses. So it is not about stopping your thoughts from doing whatever they are doing nor about stopping anything … Continue reading Neither this nor that
1. Be present with your immediate internal environment. Connect with how you feel - physically, mentally and emotionally - right now, without analysis, naming nor judgement. Welcome and appreciate how you feel, accept it all unconditionally within your awareness. 2. Be present with your immediate external environment. Connect with your five senses and be aware … Continue reading Three levels of presence
Don't try to fit in to a practice, method, group or teaching. Discover what works for you and do that. Inform your discovery and decisions with evidence garnered from your own direct experience. Learn from others, but in the end trust yourself. Don't try and fit yourself into a system, that would be a violent … Continue reading Don’t try to fit in
There is a contradiction inherent at the heart of mindfulness: it is, by design, a practice of meditation that has been deliberately stripped of all theology and religious trappings (except the bells, for some reason mindfulness wasn't able to let go of the bells), and yet the actual experience of mindfulness is the exact same … Continue reading The mindfulness contradiction
Having spent a long time over the years paying close attention to my thoughts during many hours of mindfulness practice, I have noticed that it is possible to be aware of thoughts on a level before they are expressed as word-like thoughts, that is before they manifest as an inner dialogue of sentences. Awareness of … Continue reading Whole concept thinking
What we think of as the present moment, isn't really that at all. When we practise mindfulness and become aware of our thoughts and feelings, sensations in the body and the breath, aware of the environment around through our senses, we assume we are perceivnging the present moment. But actually what we are experiencing is … Continue reading The illusion of now