Get started with a daily practice
"Waking up this morning I smile.
24 brand new hours before me.
I vow to live fully each moment and
to look at all beings with eyes of compassion." Quote from Thich Nhat Hahn
Mindfulness is the energy of being aware and awake to the present moment. It is the continuous practice of touching life deeply in every moment of life. To be mindful is to be truly alive, present and at one with those around you and with what you are doing. We bring our body and mind into harmony while we wash the dishes, drive the car or take our morning shower. Thich Nhat Hahn.
Before getting out of bed, take three slow calm breaths and then scan through your body.
Just register how you feel, start from the top of the head, and slowly wander down the face, neck, shoulders, arms, trunk of your body, legs and feet.
Then gently wriggle your fingers and toes and become aware of the room and open your eyes.
Perhaps you like to light a candle and some incense. It can be good to set a timer so you don’t need to worry about time. If you have a mobile phone you can download meditation timers, with nice bells ringing to end the meditation.
Start with short sittings, 5-15 minutes as your concentration improves you can sit longer if you like. But remember it is more beneficial to sit for a regular and a short time, then sitting form a longer time rarely. Just like all practices.
Find a comfortable sitting position, on a chair on the floor on a cushion, and gently close your eyes. And focus on your breath. Just notice the gentle expansion in your body when you breath in, and the relaxation when you breathe out.
You can say to yourself – I am breathing in, I know I am breathing
I am breathing out, I know I am breathing out.
Do that a couple of times, and then just say
- in – when you breathe in
- out – when you breathe out
If you drift off with thoughts, gently bring back your attention to the breath again.
Congratulate yourself for becoming aware that you realize that you were lost in thoughts.
The mind is powerful and has strong habits, be patient with yourself with time the mind will calm down and become quieter.
During the day
If you start feeling stress and overwhelmed by strong emotions, try with three calming breaths, take 3 slow controlled breaths and try to let go of the out-breaths of thoughts and tension in the mind and body.
Moving mindfully, bring awareness of how you move through the day when it's possible to slow down and do one thing at a time and try to bring joy to the task at hand. Bring a gentle smile to your face and relax. Say quietly to yourself - this a moment of peace and joy.
Wherever we walk, we can practice meditation. This means that we know that we are walking. We walk just for walking. We walk with freedom and solidity, no longer in a hurry. We are present with each step. Each step is nourishing and healing. As we walk, imprint our gratitude and our love on the earth.
We may like to use a gatha/poem as we walk. Taking two or three steps for each in-breath and each out-breath,
- Breathing in “I have arrived”; Breathing out “I am home”
- Breathing in “In the here”; Breathing out “In the now”
- Breathing in “I am solid”; Breathing out “I am free”
- Breathing in “In the ultimate”; Breathing out “I dwell”
You can get support from other people, come to a meditation group, spend time with spiritual friends and support each other in mindful speaking and listening.
Some simple rules to follow
I am aware of the suffering that can be caused by unmindful speech and the inability to listen to others, I am committed to cultivating kind speech and compassionate listening in order to relieve suffering and to promote reconciliation and peace in myself and among other people.
Knowing that words can create happiness or suffering, I am committed to speaking truthfully using words that inspire confidence, joy, and hope.
When anger is manifesting in me, I am determined not to speak. I will practice mindful breathing and walking in order to recognize and to look deeply into my anger. I know that the roots of anger can be found in my wrong perceptions and lack of understanding of the suffering in myself and in the other person.
I will speak and listen in a way that can help myself and the other person to transform suffering and see the way out of difficult situations. From The five mindfulness training
For more inspiration, you can look on youtube for guided meditation and talks from meditation teachers.
Or you can download apps to your mobile phone or tablets.
Dharma seeds have recorded talks from different Buddhist teachers.
Also, see the book list for more inspiration for your practice.