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Finding Possibility in All That Arises and Passes

Finding Possibility in All That Arises and Passes

Phillip Moffitt leads a themed meditation finding possibility in all that arises and (vanishes) passes. The breath, thoughts, feelings, anger ...
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Mindfulness exercise

Being For Yourself

Rick Hanson talks about Being For Yourself. To learn how to do this, we apply the wisdom from Buddhism and ...
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Flowering of Compassion

It’s About Time

Wes Nisker does a little time travel (a talk on it's about time). It's about living in the moment, the ...
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Mindfulness for holiday stress, metta

Listening Deeply

Kate Munding talks about the 5 precepts- a commitment to non-harming. Learn how listening deeply with compassion is a form ...
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Patience and Perseverence

Patience and Perseverence

In this talk, Phillip Moffitt focuses on patience and determination. Patience is the willingness to start over while determination is ...
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How To Increase Optimism

How To Feel Balanced

Sharon Salzberg talks about How to Feel Balanced. It's the truth that liberates, not the efforts to be free. The ...
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Increase Loving Kindness

The Practice of Metta – Loving Kindness

Sharon Salzberg talks about Metta- the Practice of Loving Kindness. The kind of loving kindness that does not select but ...
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Gil Fronsdal

Journey of 3 Breaths

Gil Fronsdal leads a Guided Meditation Journey of 3 Breaths. Sometimes it's useful to be very modest with your meditation ...
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Bonus 45-minute Meditation

Bonus 45-minute Meditation

Meditation is the act of improving our brain’s software programming through applied mental training. Listen to this 45-minute meditation from ...
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Welcome Your Body Home

Welcome Your Body Home

Spring Washam talks about the topic Welcome Your Body Home. It's about the benefits of meditation, how the mind can ...
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Gil Fronsdal

Choosing the Long Path of Practice

Gil Fronsdal leads a Guided Meditation Choosing the Long Path of Practice. The idea of a fast way to enlightenment ...
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Awakening Joy For Kids

Awakening Joy for Kids

Are you a parent who’s looking to pass on to the next generation, mindfulness? James Baraz offers this mindfulness talk ...
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Filling Your Cup – Meditation

Filling Your Cup – Meditation

Do you think you feel empty and forgotten to appreciate things in your life? You can always come to this ...
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The Multiplication of Courage

The Multiplication of Courage

James Baraz talks about the power of community. There is a kind with creativity or collective intelligence, and sometimes multiplication ...
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Nature of Awareness, Nature of Aversion

Sex, Violence And The State Of Grace

Ajahn Amaro explains about spiritual discipline in fighting addiction. How sex, violence and the state of grace are intricately related ...
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Mindfulness meditation

Walking Meditation

Matthew Brensilver leads a guided Walking Meditation. Walking meditation gives a different experience of awareness with visual feelings and movement ...
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Lessons from Nature

Nature: Tropical Storm

Nature Sounds: Tropical Storm. Thunder rumbles the sky as the heavy rain pours down. The rain is cooling down the ...
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Stress, Relaxation & Freedom

Stress, Relaxation & Freedom

Tara Brach talks about Stress, Relaxation, and Freedom. To be free is to be without the anxiety of imperfection. Stress ...
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Mindfulness, Addiction & Recovery

Mindfulness, Addiction & Recovery 5/5

This is Part 5 of Kevin Griffin's talk about Mindfulness Addiction and Recovery. He explores the recovery processes from addiction ...
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mindfulness exercises guided meditation 22

Understanding Feelings

Kevin Griffin leads a guided meditation- Understanding Feelings. Kevin urges to be kind to yourself, to lose judgment and understand ...
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Nature of Awareness

Mindfulness With Attitude

James Baraz shares that the first day of the retreat is a detox process. You will feel the resistance of ...
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Empathy

Empathy: Its Nature, What Makes It Hard, and How to Develop It

Donald Rothberg talks about empathy: its nature, what makes it hard and how to develop it. Empathy is the ability ...
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Mindfulness exercise

Just One Thing

Rick Hanson talks about the topic Just One Thing. The basic idea is to focus on just one thing each ...
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Nature of Awareness

The Light & The Darkness

James Baraz talks about light and darkness. Greed, hatred, and delusion is the source of human despair and has gained ...
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Mindfulness meditation

The Tall Poppy and the Shrinking Violet

James Baraz describes the characteristics of the tall poppy and shrinking violet to oppression and benevolence. The mind can be ...
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Mindfulness for holiday stress, metta

Metta: Near and Far Enemies

The practice of Metta is an exploration. How Metta is relevant in the unfolding of the Dharma? How the heart ...
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Practicing with Darkness and Light at the Winter Solstice

Practicing with Darkness and Light at the Winter Solstice

In this meditation practice, Donald Rothberg talks about embracing the darkness and inviting in the light especially in this time ...
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Refreshing

Refreshing

In mindfulness practice, you learn to train and work with this tool in an intentional, focused way. Listen to this ...
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Increasing creativity

Increasing Creativity (Binaural Beat)

Binaural Beat for Increasing Creativity. Binaural beats are auditory illusion perceived by the brain when two different tones are played ...
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Contentment

Contentment

Gil Fronsdal talks about Contentment. There's absolutely a lot of things in life to be content with. In mindfulness, contentment ...
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Body Appreciation – Meditation

Body Appreciation – Meditation

Inspire gratitude by helping the body connect in unity with the mind. Offer thanks to your unique body as you ...
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Nature of Awareness

Being a Sacred Warrior in These Tough Times

"I decided to stick with love, hate is too great a burden to bear!" said Martin Luther King. James Baraz ...
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Sunshine through forest

What’s Up With Change?

Mark Coleman talks about What's Up with Change. Nobody gets away with it, whether it's a change in health, getting ...
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Starting the Day with Gratitude – Meditation

Starting the Day with Gratitude – Meditation

Before your mind wakes up completely every morning, create a blank canvas. Clear your mind starting the day with a ...
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Seeing anew

Seeing Anew

Jack Kornfield talks about seeing things in a fresh way or seeing anew. Perfect for beginners who are contemplating for ...
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The Fierce

The Fierce Heart

Spring Washam talks about compassion- The Fierce Heart. There is a lot of suffering in the world, and all are ...
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Experience gratitude

Experience Gratitude

Has gratitude been unrecognized or forgotten? Your experience with gratitude can help to recognize where it has been present and ...
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The Joy of Virtue

The Joy of Virtue

Jack Kornfield talks about Joy of Virtue or Happiness of Integrity. Relating virtue to morality without harming any form of ...
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Mindfulness exercise

Self-Compassion Practice

Rick Hanson talks about Self-compassion Practice. It is easy to feel compassion towards others than to yourself simply because we ...
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Practice as a Path of Happiness

Practice as a Path of Happiness

James Baraz talks about how practice leads us to a path of happiness. By which the purpose of life is ...
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Nature of Awareness

Melting Into Love

Anam Thubten urges us to melt into love. Our mind is like water. Its nature is to flow and pristine, ...
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Working with fear

Working With Fear

Joseph Goldstein talks about Working With Fear. Fear of change, unknown or death, it's possible to relax at the edge ...
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Gil Fronsdal Guided Anapanasati Meditations

Guided Anapanasati: Exploring the Breath

Gil Fronsdal leads an Anapanasati Exploring the Breath. What is your relationship with your breathing? Very broadly, is it a ...
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Mindfulness meditation

Developing Compassion

Jack Kornfield talks about Developing Compassion. The Buddha said the freedom of the heart is love. Compassion is the quivering ...
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Gil Fronsdal Guided Anapanasati Meditations

Guided Anapanasati: Noticing Ease and Effortlessness

Gil Fronsdal leads an Anapanasati Noticing Ease and Effortlessness. Settle in your body, put it at ease. Put your mind ...
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Nature of Awareness, Big Mind Guided Meditation, Loving Humanity, seven factors of awakening

Letting In The Love

James Baraz explains that the relations we have, our connections are channels of positive energies that make us feel alive ...
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Clarity of the mind

Emptying the Mind

Gil Fronsdal leads a guided meditation on Emptying the Mind. He explains the power of here. Here is the present ...
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Lesson from Nature, Soulmate Attraction

Soulmate Attraction (Binaural Beat)

Attracting your soulmate is possible with mindfulness. This binaural beat will help you reach the grounded, fully present state necessary ...
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Nature of Awareness, Big Mind Guided Meditation, Loving Humanity, seven factors of awakening

Big Mind Guided Meditation

Guy Armstrong leads a big mind guided meditation. Good for calmness and relaxation, enforcing mindfulness and liberating consciousness ...
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Mindfulness exercise, Judging Mind, no self no problem

No Self, No Problem

Anam Thubten talks about No Self No Problem. No self is an old concept in the Buddhist sutras. To Anam, ...
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The Power of Mindfulness Exercises

Though the term mindfulness might sometimes feel to be a relatively new term to arrive in collective consciousness, it is a practice that has been understood for centuries in other countries and communities of the world. While Western society as a collective is only just beginning to scratch the surface of what mindfulness really is and the widespread implications it has, Buddhists and Hindus have understood its powers for thousands of years, seeing mindfulness as a potent tool for transformation and deeper life understanding. For reasons that are quite understandable, more and more people are starting to explore this powerful practice as the fast-paced and highly interconnected world is leaving us feeling more disconnected from ourselves and from the world around us. As we begin to tap into our own personal mindfulness practice, we begin to intuitively understand how and why this teaching has held strong throughout millennia.

Observing the Nature of Reality

Mindfulness calls us to take a closer look at the present moment – exactly as it is. Through our direct experience, with preconditioned beliefs and ideas set aside, we expand our field of awareness by observing whatever we can sense in this very moment. Some of the ways we can tune into the present moment mindfully include basic techniques such as:

  • Drawing awareness to the breath
  • Witnessing thoughts and emotions without attachment
  • Observing bodily sensations, both surface and visceral
  • Tuning into each of our five senses without judgment and without seeking anything in particular
  • Compassionately and non-judgmentally interacting with whatever is present in the moment

Though it might at first seem simple, the truth is that it is and it isn’t. Much of the world, and the majority of the Western world specifically, has not been raised to interact with the world in a mindful way. It is a concept and a way of being that has not yet influenced most societies on a major scale. Learning to tune into the world mindfully is therefore a big step for many people and as such, it is a slow and continually evolving process. Mindfulness is a completely different way of being than most of us are used to and this is what can make it appear challenging.

However, with that said, it is a simple practice that once explored in a meaningful way has countless benefits, extending outwards from the core of our being like a ripple in water. Not only does everything in one’s immediate life change, so too does the surrounding environment. By quietly beginning to observe the stories we tell ourselves and tune into the assumptions we make about the world around us, we start to gain power over our thoughts, unveiling the true potential of mindfulness.

The Power of the Mind

While it might be commonly thought that our thoughts are a product of who we are, the assumption deserves deeper exploration. In mainstream Western culture, we often don’t probe our thoughts, leaving them to direct the show of our lives. We take them on as if they are our own, allowing them to speak for who we are. These unexamined thoughts influence our beliefs and our actions and the external world reflects back whatever energy we are radiating outwards. 

Mindfulness practice helps us to observe the opposite – to understand that our thoughts are not, in fact, an expression of who we truly are. Instead, our thoughts are viewed as separate energy bodies that do not belong to us. Though they are largely formulated by residue from our personal history and from the culture of our human and societal collective at large, our thoughts are not ultimately fixed and they are not “true” in any absolute sense.

When left unchecked, the conditioned and habitual mind makes all of our executive decisions. Through mindful observation of these mental movements, we begin to take some of that power back. When thoughts arise suggesting words to be said and actions to be taken, mindfulness intervenes as our ability to quietly observe the rest of that experience. At any moment, we might silently, compassionately, and non-judgmentally inquire:

  • What is arising in the silence?
  • What sort of energy is observable in the mind?
  • How does the physical body feel right now?
  • Is there movement towards or away from something?
  • What feelings or emotions are present within me right now and where?

Without seeking clear answers, mindfulness provides space for pure awareness of the present moment to arise. When we are mindful, we might pick up on subtle energies and deeper insights that the mind might not normally wish to address, such as:

  • Unhealthy decisions made based on cravings
  • Avoidance of opportunities for growth based on fear
  • Repressed emotions influencing our actions and decisions
  • Attachment patterns resulting from fear of being alone
  • Judgment of others to avoid looking within
  • Fear of being unloved, unaccepted, or rejected

These are only just a few of the infinite insights that can arise from mindfulness practice. While we might also be able to witness some of these ideas or notions without practicing mindfulness consistently, they resonate on a deeper level when we observe them from the heart space rather than from the mind. When we are quiet and approach whatever is present without rationalization, fear, or judgment, the power these observations hold is exponentially greater than when deduced from mental analysis. What we then come to know holds true power to transform our lives.

The Healing Powers of Mindfulness Exercises

Once we have tapped into mindful exploration of the self, mindfulness has the power to heal on numerous levels. As a human collective, we are beginning to understand how interconnected the mind and body really are, making mindfulness practices incredibly beneficial for physical ailments. On the level of the human body, mindfulness has countless positive benefits, including:

  • Reduction of one’s experience of pain, nausea, and fatigue
  • Lowered levels of the stress hormone, cortisol
  • Increased levels of GABA (gamma-aminobutyric acid), a calming brain neurotransmitter
  • Increased gray matter density in brain regions associated with emotional regulation, learning, memory, and perspective
  • Improved sleep habits and reduction of insomnia
  • Improved immune system functioning
  • Reduced blood pressure and lowered risk of heart disease

On a mental and emotional level, the potential for mindfulness to transform is just as powerful. As we start to observe the habitual patterns of the mind, we gain greater awareness and subsequent control over our thoughts and our responses to life. This heightened awareness, paired with the effects that mindfulness has on the physical body (such as reducing stress hormones and influencing the brain), is a large part of what leads to transformation of mind. Regularly observed effects of mindfulness practice include:

  • Greater capacity for focus and attention
  • Greater acceptance for the present moment
  • Deeper insights and powerful realizations
  • Deeper sense of connection to self and to the world around
  • Greater overall experience of peace and harmony

Mindfulness touches each individual in a different way. Where there is authentic willingness to open ourselves up to whatever exists in the present moment, there is great potential for transformation. Insights and growth cannot be forced, however; rather, when we surrender to whatever exists, wisdom unveils itself.

“Vulnerability is the birthplace of innovation, creativity and change.”
Brené Brown

The Path of Presence

In her poem ‘When Death Comes’, Mary Oliver writes:

When it’s over, I want to say: all my life
I was a bride married to amazement.
I was the bridegroom, taking the world into my arms.

Mindfulness is, in essence, this sort of movement through, or interaction with, life. It is a wholehearted acceptance of whatever exists; it is a path of presence. As we learn to become more mindful in our everyday lives, not solely when in moments of meditation, we start to understand what it means to live in the present moment. Though feelings, thoughts, and emotions will continue to arise, our relationship to them changes. We become more curious about everything that exists in the present moment. Tendencies to judge, suppress, or reject things we ‘don’t like’ or deem to be ‘bad’ begin to lessen; instead, we practice the art of quietly sitting with whatever appears to be happening.

​Exploring the Power of Mindfulness

We can explore the power of mindfulness is numerous ways. From sitting meditations to written, reflective free mindfulness exercises, the paths of transformation through mindfulness are numerous and intertwining. Here are a few ways to explore the power of this practice.

1. Mindful Self-Inquiry

Even though mindfulness is commonly associated with meditation, mindful reflection on our observations can help to enhance our understanding of the mind and the ultimate nature of reality. To practice, take some quiet time to sit with these questions or to write down your answers. Let whatever comes come with judgment or analysis. Inquire:

  • What do you believe about yourself? Why do you believe these things, and would you label them as “truth”? Are these beliefs fixed or fluid?
  • What exists within your body right now? As you draw your attention to a particular sensation, does the sensation change at all? If you draw your attention away from this area, does the sensation change at all?
  • If you were to wipe the slate of your personal story clean, what would remain? What can you observe in the silent space created when all stories, beliefs, and ideas falls away?

2. Emotional Awareness and Acceptance

When difficult emotions rise to the surface, we often struggle to accept them. Part of the freedom that arises from mindfulness comes when we learn to accept whatever exists – “good” or “bad.” When emotions arise, practice:

  • Taking a step away from the outside world but sitting comfortably in an upright position and tuning into whatever is present. Note any stories or plot lines weaving themselves through your direct experience; tune into the raw sensation instead.
  • Note the emotions that are arising by simply labelling them, “anger,” “grief,” “irritation,” or whatever may be applicable. Refrain from attaching the I-self to these energies.
  • Draw your attention to the heart space, opening yourself up compassionately to whatever your experience is. Mindfully ease any judgment that arises and simply allow yourself to be right where you are without attaching to the energy that is there.

3. Become the Observer

We spend countless hours thinking – thinking about what we want to do next in life, thinking about ourselves, others, and the world, and thinking about everything we pass by in our lives. Left unchecked, thinking runs our lives.

  • Practice becoming the observer of your thinking by watching your thoughts as if they were weather patterns. Like the weather, thoughts move constantly, and as we begin to become more aware of their impermanence, they loosen their grip on our beliefs and our actions. When thoughts arise, simply acknowledge them by silently whispering, “I see you,” and then letting them go. Acknowledge and release. Acknowledge and release.

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