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Emotional Chaos to Clarity

Emotional Chaos to Clarity

Emotional chaos comes to the mind, and what contributes to it is the mind's clinging to what it wants to ...
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Mind Appreciation – Meditation

Mind Appreciation – Meditation

To focus the mind, allow the body to become as relaxed as possible for the sake of delving deeply into ...
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Grounded Silence

Grounded Silence

David Gandelman a meditation expert and an exceptional guide bring you Grounded Silence meditation audio to help you experience mental ...
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Knowing that Attention is Present

Knowing that Attention is Present

Phillip Moffitt leads a meditation to attention mindfulness awareness, to be mindfully aware of the occurring, to know the occurrence ...
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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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Bonus 30-minute Meditation

Bonus 30-minute Meditation

Meditation is the act of improving our brain’s software programming through applied mental training. Listen to this 30-minute meditation from ...
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Embracing Each Moment

From Difficulties To Freedom

In this audible, Ajahn chants Buddhist teaching. It seemingly paves the way to freedom from a life bound of hatred ...
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Mindfulness Exercise on Lessons From Nature

Vision

Matthew Brensilver talks about Vision. Seeing is feeling. Visual feeling is one part of mindfulness that can be very useful, ...
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Mindfulness and Concentration

Lack of Continuity of Mindfulness and Concentration

Kate Munding reminds the importance of stillness in the practice of mindfulness and improves concentration especially in the world where ...
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Insight Practice

Insight Practice

Donald Rothberg teaches advanced meditative technology (just kidding). He talks about the 3 ways of seeing to aid in insight ...
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Bonus 5-minute meditation

Bonus 5-minute Meditation

Meditation is the act of improving our brain’s software programming through applied mental training. Listen to this 5-minute meditation from ...
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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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Cultivation

Love: Cultivation, Concentration & Purification

Matthew Brensilver talks about Love: Cultivation, Concentration & Purification. Love makes our grounds fertile to realize wisdom deeply ...
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Working with Transforming Judgment Mind

Working with Transforming Judgment Mind

Donald Rothberg talks about working with transforming judgment mind. It talks about daily life and limiting factors and sometimes unconscious ...
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Mindfulness exercise

Me and We

Rick Hanson talks about Me and We, Autonomy and Intimacy. Autonomy is the inner strength of independence. It supports Intimacy ...
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Mindfulness meditation

Using the Mind to Change the Brain

Rick Hanson talks about Using the Mind to Change the Brain, how the experiences leave lasting residues behind in the ...
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Lessons from Nature, Fruits of Practice

The Fruits of Practice

Jack Kornfield talks about the Fruits of Meditation Practice. A greater sense of well-being in the body, it comes from ...
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Equanimity, The Sweet Joy Of The Way

Equanimity, The Sweet Joy Of The Way

Spring Washam leads a guided meditation on Equanimity: The Sweet Joy of the Way. Equanimity is the quality of mind ...
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Practice as a Path of Happiness

The Past Is A Closed Book, The Future Is A Complete Mystery

Ajahn explains Buddhist teaching how to live in the present, in the now. That the past is a closed book, ...
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Compassion

Compassion

Sean Fargo leads a walking meditation with compassion as the theme. Find a place to walk that is safe to ...
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mindfulness exercises guided meditation 9, Compassionate Body Scan

Compassionate Body Scan

Kristin Neff leads a meditation called the Compassionate Body Scan. It takes about 20 minutes to complete. Start with getting ...
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Gratitude & Generosity

Gratitude & Generosity

Tara Brach talks about Gratitude & Generosity. Breathing in & out, letting go is one of expressing gratitude to the ...
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Mindfulness for holiday stress, metta

Deep Peace

We all hunger for inner peace. Simple meditation practices can bring about a great depth of peace. Shaila guides you ...
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big sky meditation

Big Sky Meditation

In this free guided meditation, Jack Kornfield helps us achieve a broad state of awareness as vast as the open ...
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loving kindness meditation

Loving Kindness Meditation

This meditation is the loving-kindness meditation by Kristin Neff. It's meant to generate feelings of goodwill and kindness both for ...
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mindfulness exercises

The Magic of Awareness – Talk

Anam Thubten talks about the gift of awareness and the hindrance of the ego. How this awareness can do magic ...
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Patience

Patience

Listen to Guided Meditation on Patience by Marcia Rose. With patience being the most important and necessary quality with mindfulness ...
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Guided Meditation

Guided Meditation

This is an introductory Guided Meditation by Jack Kornfield. As he explains, he welcomes the newcomers to Spirit Rock and ...
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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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Stories People Will Say About Us

Stories That People Will Say About Us

Sylvia Boorstein tells a story that leads to Siddharta, it deals with the spiritual journey of self-discovery. We all have ...
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balance guided meditation

Mindfulness & Pain 5: Balance and Guided Meditation

Discover ways in redirecting the attention as a way of balancing coming out of the pain in Mindfulness & Pain ...
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karma and intention, boredom

Karma and Intention

Gil talks about intention and karma. Part of the core of mindfulness is the appreciation of the present moment with ...
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Gratitude is not in the words

Gratitude Is Not In The Words

Gratitude is not in the words but in the heart, which expresses it. What meaning do you draw from these ...
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Open Awareness

Open Awareness

Sean Fargo invites us to do open awareness meditation practice. This meditation is suitable for beginners, as it teaches the ...
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mindfulness meditations online

Unentangled Knowing

Guy Armstrong says "unentangled" means preventing the tangling from happening. So unentangled knowing is the kind that prevents tangling from ...
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Working with Addiction

Working with Addiction

Tara Brach talks about Working with Addiction. She started with the story of the Hungry Ghosts. Attachments and addictions are ...
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Spiritual Journey

Spiritual Journey

Donald Rothberg leads the spiritual journey meditation towards perfecting mindfulness. To look deeply to oneself takes more courage than the ...
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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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The Foundation for all Abundance

The Foundation for all Abundance

We always want more than what we have, but how about we take the time to actually appreciate it? Through ...
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Beautiful Water Sounds

Beautiful Water Sounds

Peaceful and soothing water sounds can help to relax and quiet the mind during meditation. Enjoy this free recording of ...
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Appreciating the Little Things

Appreciating the Little Things

Begin to take notice and appreciate the little things around you. Even these little things offer us a chance to ...
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Gil Fronsdal

Nothing at Stake

Gil Fronsdal leads a Guided Meditation Nothing at Stake. When you discover what's not needed, maybe you can let go ...
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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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Mindfulness for holiday stress

Mindfulness of the Body

Shaila Catherine leads a guided meditation with an emphasis on the mindfulness of the body. The body is a wonderful ...
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Undoing Mental Knots

Undoing Mental Knots

Anam Thubten explains that we all have the desire to be free from a troubled existence. And undoing of mental ...
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Mindfulness meditation

Finding Ease

Oren Sofer leads a guided meditation Finding Ease. This meditation aims to reduce stress and anxiety. It allows being mindfully ...
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Mindfulness for holiday stress

Investigating Aversion and Anger

We don't need to judge ourselves for being angry. In meditation practice, we see it and investigate it aversion or ...
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Fear and Doubt

Fear and Doubt

Ajahn Sumedho talks about Fear and Doubt. Fear is something that arises from not knowing and uncertainty. Doubt arises from ...
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Miranda July & The Dharma

Miranda July & The Dharma

Matthew Brensilver reflects on the movie where Miranda July was an actress, playing the role of receiving emails from the ...
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Mindfulness meditation

Practicing For Oneself Is Complicated

Matthew Brensilver talks about doing Dharma Practice for Oneself is Complicated. But doing it for the benefit of all beings ...
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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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