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Nature of Awareness

Relaxing the Mind

If you can change your mind, you can change a lot of things in your life. Anam Thubten teaches to ...
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Everything is Spiritual Practice

Everything is Spiritual Practice

Sylvia Boorstein leads a spontaneous meditation and tells that the spiritual practice happens even when in community with others, so ...
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Tension Release, by Vidyamala Burch

Tension Release, by Vidyamala Burch

Stress and tension can cause aches and pains all over the body. This short meditation will release you from suffering ...
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Nature of Awareness, Big Mind Guided Meditation, Loving Humanity, seven factors of awakening

Hatred Never Ceases by Hatred

Hatred does not cease from hatred; hatred ceases by love alone. This is an ancient and eternal law. James Baraz ...
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Big Flower, Small Flower

Big Flower Small Flower

Gil Fronsdal talks about Acharias- women who have become gurus of the Buddhism teachings. He said the path of the ...
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Gil Fronsdal

Guided Body Scan

Gil Fronsdal instructs the alert posture before starting the guided body scan meditation. Taking long slow in-breaths to connect with ...
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Bonus 60-minute Meditation

Bonus 60-minute Meditation

Meditation is the act of improving our brain’s software programming through applied mental training. Listen to this 60-minute meditation from ...
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Nature of Awareness

Mind Like Fungi

A very fascinating talk "A Mind Like Fungi" by Ajahn Amaro takes you into Buddhist perspective. It talks about the ...
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Mindfulness meditation

Emotional Reactions to Pain

Ines Freedman leads a guided body scan meditation about Emotional Reactions to Pain. The meditation brings into awareness certain pains ...
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The Multiplication of Courage

Working With Fear

The topic of working with fear shows the liberating power of the Dharma. Guy Armstrong says fear has haunted human ...
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Forgiveness Practice

Forgiveness Practice

Forgiveness practice can be done in different ways. In cultures, it's an interpersonal practice while in Buddhist practice, it's more ...
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Letting go

Letting Go Of Seriousness

David Gandelman leads a meditation about letting go of seriousness, seriously? Seriousness can be stifling to meditation practice, so, letting ...
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Dharmette by Gil Fronsdal

Dharmette: Noticing

Gil Fronsdal leads a Guided Meditation Dharmette: Noticing. He starts with a story about an extraordinarily ordinary person and how ...
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Connecting with the Earth

Connecting with the Earth

Phillip Moffitt leads a meditation to appreciate the body and connecting with the earth element: it's textures, weight, & firmness ...
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Opening Your Senses

Opening Your Senses

Sean Fargo leads a guided meditation "opening your senses." It allows experiencing visceral sensations with open awareness, seeing, sensing and ...
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Nature of Awareness, Big Mind Guided Meditation, Loving Humanity, seven factors of awakening

Loving Humanity and Melting the Ice

Anam Thubten teaches us to turn our attention into the world, to look into our heart. To love humanity and ...
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Mindfulness as strength

Mindfulness as Strength

Gil Fronsdal talks about Mindfulness as Strength. Being careful and paying attention to what's happening in the present. Otherwise, there's ...
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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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Wishing Ourselves And Others Well

Wishing Ourselves And Others Well

Taking the time to wish ourselves and others well can be a powerful tool for achieving greater peace and serenity ...
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Redemption

Redemption

Jack Kornfield talks about the topic of Redemption. In the practice of loving awareness and compassion, redemption is bestowed by ...
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Nature of Awareness, Big Mind Guided Meditation, Loving Humanity, seven factors of awakening

Seven Factors of Awakening

Gil Fronsdal talks about the seven factors of awakening. They are mindfulness, investigation, energy or engagement, joy, calmness, concentration, and ...
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impermanence as uncertainty

Impermanence As Uncertainty

Why impermanence as uncertainty? Ajahn Amaro teaches Buddhist wisdom discrimination is consciousness, nondiscrimination is wisdom ...
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Mindfulness for holiday stress

The Role of Motivation and Intention

"Everything rests on the tip of one's motivation." Kate Munding urges us to think if we truly live our lives ...
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Gil Fronsdal Guided Anapanasati Meditations

Guided Anapanasati: Exploring Impermanence and Awareness

Gil Fronsdal leads an Anapanasati Exploring Impermanence and Awareness. If you take a long exhale, something special happens at the ...
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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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Thinking

Thinking

Matthew Brensilver talks about the importance of the ways of thinking. There are so many Buddhist teachings, valuable insights which ...
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I Would Have Wanted More, But I Never Wanted Other

I Would Have Wanted More, But I Never Wanted Other

Sylvia Boorstein brainstorms about "I would have wanted more, but I never wanted other." She explains the power of choice ...
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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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Nature of Awareness

Heart Practices for Awakening Joy

James Baraz talks about how mindfulness is the tool to awaken the joy in life; how opening the heart lets ...
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Awareness And Intimacy

Awareness And Intimacy

In this mindfulness talk, Jack Kornfield discusses how to navigate intimacy as we develop greater mindfulness and self-awareness ...
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The Magic of Awareness, Poetry Beauty and Art

This Precious Human Life

Kate Munding shares how we can make the little moments in life become a different experience. That preciousness of human ...
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Gil Fronsdal Guided Anapanasati Meditations

Guided Anapanasati: Noticing Absence and Little Cessations

Gil Fronsdal leads an Anapanasati Noticing Absence & Little Cessations. It's always useful to refamiliarize yourself with yourself as if ...
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Sacred body

Strong Back, Soft Front

Frank Ostaseski says to live in this world, we need a strong back and that is not enough. We need ...
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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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Mindfulness meditation

History is Ending Today

Matthew Brensilver talks about History is Ending Today. The mind can easily assume permanence or continuity of things. But then ...
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Hardwiring happiness

Hardwiring Happiness

As people internalize experiences of gratitude, they gradually become less greedy, less driven to prove themselves. Learn to hardwire your ...
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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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Heart centered gratitude

Heart-Centered Gratitude – Meditation

We often take the heart for granted without noticing all of the work it does for us. Connect with your ...
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4 Minute Meditation by Tara Brach, Mindfulness Meditation

4 Minute Meditation

With this guided 4-minute meditation by Tara Brach, you can begin incorporating mindfulness into your life right here and now ...
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mindfulness exercises guided meditation on emotions

Guided Meditation On Emotions

Jack Kornfield leads a guided meditation on emotions. Allow yourself to rest into the space of loving-awareness to acknowledge your ...
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Whole Body Breathing

Whole Body Breathing

Improve your calm by doing this whole body breathing meditation. Close your eyes, feel the weight of your body, sit ...
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Mindfulness for holiday stress

Seven Factors of Enlightenment

Guy Armstrong discusses the 7 factors of enlightenment. These are mindfulness, investigation, energy, rapture, calm, concentration and equanimity ...
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Settle the heart

Settle the Heart First

Gil Fronsdal talks about Settle the Heart First. Rest in the calm of peace first and settle the heart before ...
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mindfulness exercises guided meditation 2

Tranquil Guided Meditation

Ajahn Sumedho leads a tranquil guided meditation about Samadhi which is an intense concentration that increases awareness and mindfulness and ...
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Mindfulness Exercise on Lessons From Nature, Sincerity

Sincerity

Matthew Brensilver talks about Sincerity. Sincerity is the lifeblood of mindfulness practice. All its beauty arises within sincerity ...
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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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Mindfulness

Elevating Your Mood (Binaural Beat)

Binaural Beat for Elevating Mood. Binaural beats are auditory illusion perceived by the brain when two different tones are played ...
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Dharmette by Gil Fronsdal

On Knowing Noting and Calm

Gil Fronsdal leads a Guided Meditation Dharmette: Knowing Noting and Calm. Thich Nat Hanh said if challenging sea conditions if ...
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Nature of Awareness, Nature of Aversion

Trust

James Baraz talks about trust in relation to self-discovery. And how it relates to believing, and how it facilitates the ...
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overcome addiction binaural beats

Overcome Addiction (Binaural Beat)

Binaural Beat to Overcome Addiction. Binaural beats are auditory illusion perceived by the brain when two different tones are played ...
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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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