For the last week I have continued to 'bump' into discussions/articles/notes around the concept of Mindfulness. I try to be aware of these coincidences.. or synchronicities in my life because I have learnt (finally) that they are usually a sign post to where I should be looking.
The concept of Mindfulness is at the heart of Buddhist meditation practice... the most basic Buddhist sitting meditation is called Mindfulness of Breathing. When we do sitting meditation, we are training ourselves in the conscious practice of mindfulness. We focus our attention on the present moment, we are aware of our inhalation, and our exhalation, when we breath in, we know we are breathing in; when we breath out, we know we are breathing out.
Lama Surya Das explains; "When we talk about mindfulness, we are describing conscious living and alert presence of mind. Mindfulness helps us bring our innate awareness into sharper focus; it helps us pay attention to what we are doing as we are doing it. Paying attention helps us live in, and appreciate, the present moment in all its richness and depth. It helps us see- truly see - what is actually going on."
"Mindfulness helps us slow down and utilize more of our innate intelligence and sensitivity; it helps us savor and experience the full texture and feel of our experience. Mindfulness helps us smell the roses, but first it helps us see the roses."
As we sit, and we slow down, we find the small pauses (the sacred pauses) between the inhalation and the exhalation. And when we focus more deeply we notice more details, the parts of a single breath...the journey from the fine hairs at the nostrils, through the throat into the chest, and down to a softening tummy... do you hear the sound of your breath?
Our experience here is in training ourselves to bring attentive mindfulness to our breath.. you can bring the same mindfulness to your bodies, your emotions, your daily lives.
When we practice mindfulness meditation, its SO easy to notice how much resistance we have to paying attention (to sitting, to stopping, to silence). We want to rush ahead, entertain ourselves, jump around, be aroused...
Mindful living is a wonderful practice.
*Two of my all time, consistent favourite, books are by Lama Surya Das. I was inspired from the first words I read, in my first encounter with his books..and I continue to re-read the books, and read his blog; drawing inspiration from his words. Check out "Awakening To The Sacred" and "Awakening the Buddha Within" both gifts!