The fear was so intense that he could feel his heart beating in his throat. Moments before he had been enjoying the company of his two older female cousins (16 and 18 years old). It had become a normal Sunday practice to play with them after escaping from visiting next door with the adults. They were engaged in their weekly naughty behavior of playing poker, sipping wine, and smoking his aunt's non-filtered cigarettes.
We need to avoid dwelling on any judgments, decisions, or internal commentary that may arise based upon the feelings we are observing. We must be careful not to identify with the feelings and consider them "ours". The following contemplations support the arising of insight into the nature of feelings and the ways in which we react to those feelings....
We can travel a long way and do many different things, but our deepest happiness is not born from accumulating new experiences. It is born from letting go of what is unnecessary, and knowing ourselves to be always at home. True happiness may not be at all far away, but it requires a radical change of view as to where to find it.
The Buddha's teaching of simple mindfulness or awareness as a way to enlightenment is particularly suitable for people today. The whole secret of mindfulness can be summed up in the two words: "Remember" and "Awareness."
It takes some training to equate complete letting go with comfort. But in fact, 'nothing to hold on to' is the root of happiness. There's a sense of freedom when we accept that we're not in control. By not knowing, not hoping to know, and not acting like we know what's happening, we begin to access our inner strength.
Waking up to the first faint suggestion of light, I don’t want to leave my bed. And so I don’t. I just let myself lie there under the warmth of the thick covers and turn my attention to my breath. I become aware of it. I start feeling it. I start letting go to it.
One of the most difficult and rewarding things you will ever learn is how to live in the moment. Quite simply, if you are to have power to create the reality you want you must learn how to live in the moment.
The soul often whispers to us through synchronistic events. A synchronistic event occurs when we recognize that two or more causally unrelated events resemble each other and catch our attention. When we don't pay attention, the message has to be more powerful, perhaps in the form of an accident.
When purpose and pleasure are brought together work becomes play. Every bit of work done in this spirit strengthens the man who does it. It is recreative as well as creative.
When you look at a painting, whether the Mona Lisa, the Birth of Venus or anything you find beautiful, where is the beauty coming from? Where is the source of the beauty? It is obviously not coming out of the painting, or everyone would agree that one painting is beautiful and another is ugly...
We experience a state of physical and mental clarity whenever we stop to simply breathe for a few moments. This state of being is mindfulness, reached by quieting the booming voice of the ego to listen to the true voice of our soul as it interacts with the wisdom of the Earth.
If you were to observe yourselves very carefully and observe the choices that you allow yourselves to make in your existence, you would observe the limits to which you yourselves choose to impose on the joy of your existence. You would observe the degree to which you limit your joy of existence.
Just a brief introduction to mindfulness helps people deal with physical pain and negative emotions, according to a new study.
From 1984 to 2018, the number of journal articles published annually on mindfulness jumped from two to 842, according to the American Mindfulness Research Association.
The concept of wholeheartedness is a lot like love; it’s a feeling that comes and goes. We may work hard to be wholehearted, and, as with any other kind of fitness, the more one works at it, the better one gets.
As we open to the full range of experiences within ourselves, we become aware of what we perceive in each moment, no longer denying some feelings while clinging to others. By coming to know our own pain, we build a bridge to the pain of others. Knowing that someone will suffer if we perform a harmful action or say a hurtful word, we find we do these things less and less.
Of course, we are each of us in charge of our own lives. But more to the point, gaps we identify at work, whatever our job, often relate to gaps we experience at home, in relationships, as parents, and so on. Gaps of pain and possibility exist in every realm, and sometimes, when we recognize a gap in one area, it can open up a flood of recognition that goes far beyond our original focus.
Our minds tend to chatter away, describing all manner of disastrous possibilities and outcomes, particularly when faced with difficult tasks or decisions. Barraged by complaints, criticisms, and doomsaying, it is no wonder that we can become paralyzed and unwilling or unable to take any action at all.
Unlearning habits and establishing new ones is no more difficult than learning them in the ﬁrst place. Here are some guidelines for freeing yourself from the automatic nature of your old-perception habits...
It seems like "not having enough time" is a recurring theme... We spend our waking hours doing things on our list of "things to do" and not having (or taking) the time to do the things that would nurture our spirit and that would please us best.
Mindfulness could reduce blood pressure, a new study finds. As the leading cause of death in both the United States and the world, heart disease claims nearly 18 million lives every year, according to the World Health Organization.
Twenty ways to become more present including getting enough sleep, listening to your body, and more.
This exercise is designed for very deep relaxation. The instructions given here will help you achieve a balanced and effective relaxation response in a minimum of time.
So often we do not have our minds on what we are doing -- our bodies are doing one thing and our minds are on a totally different tack, which creates disharmony. In order to turn off our “automatic pilot”, we need to develop more awareness of what we are doing...
Mindfulness techniques and methadone may reduce cravings and pain among people experiencing opioid addiction and chronic pain, research finds.
When we practise Mindfulness, we get to know ourselves better; and in particular we get to know more about our habitual patterns of thought and behaviour. It is a bit like turning a dimmer switch up in a room. In a similar way, Mindfulness increases our inner awareness and this starts to reveal more and more of what is in the room of our mind.
The elements of awareness encompass conscious knowing, the ability to read hearts, to be a healing, loving, compassionate presence, situated in the Now. They also encompass practical wisdom in every situation, the ability to enlarge perspective, to affirm others and promote dialogue and mutual..
The present is what is happening when you strip away all the resentments of your past and all the worries you have about your future. To live in the present is to live as if the past never existed and as if the future were irrelevant. Living in the present is a vision for life that is achievable in any...
Our perceptions are based on our beliefs, and those beliefs influence how we see the world, which dictates our sense of reality. If we're open minded, we'll see the world through a much clearer and wider lens, and be more accepting, tolerant and compassionate. But if we're closed off or small minded, we're not going to be as tolerant, and can make snap judgments before we even give something or someone a chance.
People who tried a new mindfulness app reported smoking fewer cigarettes a day, according to a new study.
Anything that is worth doing, is worth doing with a whole heart. And mind. And body. I saw a romantic greeting card which showed a couple kissing in the front seat of a car. The message said, "If you can kiss while driving safely, you are not giving the kiss the attention it deserves."
The problem with thoughts is not that we have so many of them but that we identify ourselves so closely with them. Thoughts come and go. Some are clearly more interesting than others. But regardless of their content, we take the emergence of thought seriously because we tend to believe that...
Elliott Jaffa, Ed.D., a behavioral psychologist who conducts "active listening" seminars for businesses and other groups, says, "In reality, very few people really know how to listen. There's more to active listening than sitting back and letting your eardrum collect vibrations. When done properly, it's actually hard work..."
There is a lovely teaching (or ‘Sutra’) of the Buddha that clearly illustrates the importance of acceptance. It is called the “Sutra of the Arrows” and it relates how even the good and the wise are regularly struck by the first arrow, which is that of the unavoidable pain of life.
Once upon a time, a boy named Alexander was living on an island in the middle of the ocean. He was joined by a special mentor who had become quite close to him there. This mentor was a peculiar sort in that he appeared and disappeared at will, and the boy never knew when these visits might occur.
Silence is not particularly my thing. I remember, many years ago, when my closest and dearest friend shared with me that she was attending an eight day "silent retreat" -- just the thought put me in a twitter. Yet, now that I'm in my fifth decade, I'm beginning to appreciate at least a measure of silence...
The first spiritual law of success is the Law of Pure Potentiality. This law is based on the fact that we are, in our essential state, pure consciousness. Pure consciousness is pure potentiality; it is the field of all possibilities and infinite creativity. Other attributes of consciousness are...
Thich Nhat Hanh, the monk who popularized mindfulness in the West, has returned home to Vietnam to enjoy the rest of his life.
It is important to understand that to develop awareness in daily life we do not need to go around with an empty mind. Rather, we strive to be awake and centered in the present, clearly knowing at each moment what we are doing.
The present is the only time we can choose between love and fear. When we fret about the past or worry about what to do in the future, we accomplish nothing. And yet, our mental habit of reliving the past and rehearsing what is to come generates various forms of pain.
The more you observe, the more you allow yourself to experience the infinite field of energy swirling in you and around you, the more you will discover that orderly patterns exist everywhere in Nature. Then it will probably dawn on you—if it hasn't already—that not only is the Universe intelligently organized, the Universe Itself is Intelligent!
I had a strong feeling that if I see it, it is my responsibility. I began wondering what would happen if I started responding to everything that caught my eye. So I began an around-the-clock practice that went like this: anything that entered my awareness became my responsibility, anything that was my responsibility I would attend to, and anything I attended to I would complete.
The world of distraction spins around and around, while moving continuously to keep itself amused and entertained. It transports us to a world of fantasy, or a world of controversy, or competition, or of just about anything other than the one true existence that is right before us. Distraction keeps...
Most of us have heard the word mindfulness, which we instinctively recognize as something beneficial for us and our children, but what is it, really? And how can it possibly help, especially in the midst of the daily grind of ensuring that homework is completed, devices are turned off, and drama is kept to a minimum?
‘We are drowning in information, while starving for wisdom.’ Those were the words of the American biologist E O Wilson at the turn of the century.
When you are living in the present, you know what's important for you, and you act on that knowing. You are able to see the big picture and the smallest detail all at the same time. Your sense of timing and your instincts become sharp. Great athletes show us just how true this is.
Social allergies are a lot like seasonal allergies. They’re annoying, exhausting and hard to avoid. They’re also especially common around the holidays. That’s because the holidays put you at a high risk of exposure.
We live in a generation that has many distractions. Even when we try to be focused on the day—today—we’re affected by CPA—not certified public accounting but a syndrome I call “continuous partial attention.” We pay continuous partial attention in an effort not to miss anything—multitasking, surfing the Web, answering our cell phones—yet in the end, we gain nothing.
Have you ever suddenly and inexplicably felt depressed or irritable when just moments before you'd felt fine? That happens to all of us from time to time. The next time it happens, take a moment to remember what occurred just prior to your shift in emotions. What did you tell yourself about the comment or situation that made you feel bad?
Breath is the foundation of everything, and everything begins with breath. Breath is the true barometer by which to measure your mental, physical, and emotional states: levels of anxiety, fitness, tightness, ease, or stress. The quality of your breath indicates how balanced and aligned the different systems of your body are at any given time.
Are you stressed? Are you so busy getting to the future that the present is reduced to a means of getting there? Stress is caused by being "here" but wanting to be "there," or being in the present but wanting to be in the future. It's a split that tears you apart inside.
There is a huge tendency to have way too much going on inside our minds, at the same time. Hundreds of thoughts and decisions about various things are all vying for our attention. There's also memory...
The biggest trap in the world to fall into is that of making careless and cruel comments about others. It is difficult not to jump in and fan the fire with our own critical take on another. It is equally as difficult to ...
A little stress around exam time can be a good thing, as it motivates you to put in the work. But sometimes stress levels can get out of hand, particularly at the end of an academic year.
In the 1950s, scholars worried that, thanks to technological innovations, Americans wouldn’t know what to do with all of their leisure time. However, modern life seems to encourage acceleration for the sake of acceleration – to what end?
In Buddhist practice we must protect our inner Buddha. We must harden ourselves as targets by doing a survey of our vulnerabilities. We must get extremely personal with ourselves and ask some tough questions about our lives. We must find where our weaknesses lie, and identify what and who are threats to them.
The important thing to remember is that our sense of self-awareness is uniquely human, and it allows us to observe our own brain, to have mastery over it, and to exercise and improve it. As with all things, the search for meaning improves with practice, which eventually leads to an even richer and more meaningful life.
Fasting the mind is easier said than done. It requires immense discipline and a transformation of lifestyle. But paradoxically it is not hard at all; it is the easiest thing in the world to accomplish because your true nature is an empty liberated mind. This ancient art of healing brings you back to the present moment, where you’ve always been in reality...
We may think we have learned to tell time, but actually we are allowing what we have made of time to tell us how to lead our lives. The next time someone asks you, 'Do you have the time?' consider it a profoundly important question. Don't look at your wrist. Look into your heart and mind and translate the question to 'Are you paying attention to your life?'
A constant complaint in our unpredictable world is that we live in an age of distraction. I am quick to label students who stare at their phones in my class distracted...
When observing our mind, we may notice that much time is spent thinking about the past and the future. Thoughts and emotions twirl around, seemingly of their own accord, but sometimes we must admit to churning them up or at least not making the effort to counteract them. What do we...
Most of us have heard about male and female energy, and how we all have a bit of both within us. In truth, these energies are one, inseparable and incapable of existence as singular entities. However, the functions of our creative life force are characterized along masculine and feminine lines.
Do you have a favorite coffee mug and get a bit miffed if a guest inadvertently uses it? Do you have 'your' side of the bed? We all have an affinity with repetition and habit, often when there's no good reason for it. It's just familiarity, our comfort zone.
You will never be Jesus or Mother Teresa or Buddha or Pema Chodron or Buckminster Fuller or Eckhart Tolle (to name a few great teachers at random). You can only be yourself every moment. Discover who you are, and you find your own unique path along the way.
Mindfulness meditation apps can reduce the body’s response to biological stress, new research suggests.
You’ve probably heard of mindfulness. These days, it’s everywhere, like many ideas and practices drawn from Buddhist texts that have become part of mainstream Western culture.
Remember then: there is only one time that is important – Now! It is the most important time because it is the only time when we have any power. This quote by Leo Tolstoy in What Men Live By and Other Tales is valuable wisdom and...
In my piano service business, I worked many seven-day weeks, and some fourteen- to sixteen-hour days. Once, when I had a particularly long day ahead of me, I decided I would put all my effort into deliberately working slowly. I couldn’t get a day off, so going slowly for at least one day seemed rather appealing.
Breathing is the bridge between our external and internal environments. The exhalation is linked to relaxation and the sense of well-being. It’s understood in expressions such as, “breathing a sigh of relief” and “breathing easy.”
If your mind is always racing, then you're probably overwhelmed with activities, which are over-stimulating your mind. Your commitments take up every minute of your day; from the time you wake up, until the time you go to bed. Your mind never gets a rest, not even when you sleep.
We know that mindfulness can transform the life of an individual. But did you know it could also change the world? We need to develop new social practices and encourage a broader cultural shift towards more sustainable living and climate action.
Choose one or two ways you can apply mindfulness in your daily life in the coming week. The more specific you are in choosing the activities, the more likely you are to follow through. You might choose washing the dishes on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday to begin your mindfulness experiment...
Excessive thinking is rarely creative thinking. More commonly it is driven by craving (or desire) and aversion (or fear), and is often aggressive or defensive in nature. Excessive thinking loves to “attack” problems and anything or anyone that...
Mindfulness courses have less effect on the attitudes and emotions of men than on those of women, new research suggests.
Many of us are obsessed with certain things such as food, sex, gambling or work, or with certain people or emotions. When it comes to these obsessions we are out of control. But all of us have one obsession that we tend to ignore: we are obsessed with thinking.
Mindful eating is increasingly being promoted as a solution to being overweight. Mindful eating, we are promised, will help us eat less, transform our relationship with food and end our battle with weight once and for all.
Taking time for your personal development isn't indulgent, selfish, or self-serving. Rather, it is necessary and vital to be good to yourself, if you wish to do good for others. What happens when you become more aware of yourself is that you'll be able to let go of...
When you hear health messages—such as quit smoking or get more exercise—do you feel motivated or ashamed? A new study suggests how we react may depend on how mindful we are.
Our lives are a series of “moments” that flow together. We tend to extract one frame here, another one there, and fabricate stories about them. Stories breed with each other. One triggers another.
I fear losing the stillness I gained. But I take comfort in knowing that the abbey is there, that the monks are singing the hours, and that there is silence in between.
Many of us would like to have a peaceful ride, enjoy the present moment, yet we can’t help but make future plans so we feel secure, or we spend time digging on past hurts. But... the true experience of being alive is beyond those plans, and “happens” to us.
To come to the beginning of ourselves is to cease to be victims of circumstances, the actions of others, or even our own mistakes. The true story of who we really are begins now. We are no longer tossed willy-nilly from one desire, thought, or worry to another in a futile process of trying...
When we learn to respond more healthily to the emotions and feelings that arise, we can radically change the quality of our lives. One of the greatest disappointments I felt in growing up was that no one ever gave me help in dealing with emotions. The experience must be extremely widespread, because...
Practicing mindfulness can help you recognize habits and replace them with newer and better ones. This is a core element of mindfulness, and indeed why mindfulness is itself called a “practice.”
With the release of the latest Apple Watch this month came a new Breathe app which promises to “help you better manage everyday stress”. Giving mindful breathing a place beside the alarm clock and weather app seems to prove mindfulness has truly gone mainstream.
One day Ajahn Chah held up a beautiful Chinese teacup. “To me this cup is already broken. Because I know its fate, I can enjoy it fully here and now. And when it’s gone, it’s gone.” When we understand the truth of uncertainty and relax, we become free.
It is not what we feel or experience that we need fear; it is what remains unconscious that poses the real threat. Parts of our survival psychologies, such as an unconscious need to feel loved and secure by helping others, eventually betray us...
Living in the here and now is the only way to make it safely through life with as much stress-free enjoyment and productivity along the way as possible. Some of us go down the path (life) shining our lights (focus of attention) too far and too frequently behind us...
Mothers-to-be don’t spend their entire 40 weeks of pregnancy glowing radiantly; there can be midnight worries, endless shopping lists, and swollen feet.
I smile to myself as a long awaited opportunity has finally arrived. I say opportunity perhaps inappropriately, but the chronic illness that challenged my life for so many years gifted me with an understanding of life that would help me make sense of the rest of it.
Silence is often the doorway to an ever deepening understanding of this thing called Life and our own true power. Silence is a wonderful place where wonderful things happen... Silence is food for the soul, a gift from the Great Universal Intelligence.
Mindfulness meditation is a wonderful way of turning our attention toward spirit. Mindfulness pays attention to what exists, here and now. It shifts attention away from memory, imagination, ideas and concepts...
In the 17th century, the French philosopher René Descartes came up with the "explanation for it all": I think, therefore I am. This statement was the source of debates in philosophy classes. It was the existential "which came first" dilemma: the chicken or the egg?
The practice of mindfulness entails a careful examination and surgical dissection of what is being presented by reality from what is being projected by us. When we are simply imagining something and we attend with a quiet mind, our projections tend to vanish like mist under a hot sun. On the other hand...
Living amid the busyness of our high-tech and low-touch society takes us away from fully experiencing our day-to-day lives. We often live on autopilot, doing without experiencing. We can be quick to judge, react, resist, run away, or retreat when things don’t...
The brain findings suggest that mindfulness training may have helped the veterans develop more capacity to shift their attention and get themselves out of being 'stuck' in painful cycles of thoughts,
A good way of integrating mindfulness into daily life is to practice while engaging in activities you might usually plow through on auto-pilot. You might find that paying attention to these everyday activities can radically...
There’s evidence that mindfulness meditation can improve how we age and even fight disease. Yet, little is known about the brain changes behind the effects.
Making mindfulness a habit seems paradoxical: habits are things that we do automatically and with little attention, whereas mindfulness is about paying attention to the present moment. Yet we can develop a habit of paying attention to the present.
Your stories about your past, your current circumstances and future only exist in your mind, not in reality. And once you fully get this, you can more confidently release your grasp on the need to think all the time, start to take your mind less seriously and laugh your way to freedom.