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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

Connection to Life

Guy Armstrong talks about connection to life. How the ego puts us into differentiating ourselves making us less connected to ...
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Flowering of Compassion

Spiritual Bypassing

Frank Ostaseski talks about Spiritual Bypassing. True spirituality is not something high or mighty, it's grounded. Frank talks more about ...
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Anxiety and Tranquility

Anxiety and Tranquility

When we experience anxiety, we feel a desire to escape the negative sensation and achieve tranquility. In this talk by ...
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Being Present for Whatever Arises

Being Present for Whatever Arises

Phillip Moffitt leads a meditation to be present for whatever arises or is occurring. To live in the current moment ...
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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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Gil Fronsdal Guided Anapanasati Meditations

Guided Anapanasati: Relaxing the Mental Formation

Gil Fronsdal leads an Anapanasati Relaxing the Mental Formation. Allowing the peripheral awareness, become aware of what's happening in the ...
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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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Embracing Each Moment

Embracing Each Moment – Talk

Anam Thubten talks about how embracing each moment 'as it is' leads to concentration and worry-free living vis a vis ...
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Trusting in the body

Being and Trusting in The Body

Gil Fronsdal talks about Being and Trusting in the Body. If you find yourself trying to solve your life and ...
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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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mindfulness exercises guided meditation 8

Heartfelt Meditation

Joseph Goldstein leads a guided meditation on Metta. Metta is the feeling of kindliness, loving-kindness, and heartfelt. Of friendliness and ...
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Gil Fronsdal Guided Anapanasati Meditations

Guided Anapanasati: Relaxing Mental Formations by Being Present and Letting Go

Gil Fronsdal leads an Anapanasati Relaxing Mental Formations by Being Present and Letting Go. In a very open way just ...
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Equanimity

Equanimity

Donald Rothberg discusses the nature of Equanimity, what are the challenges and difficulties, & why it is important. Equanimity is ...
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Mindfulness

Pain: Local Intensity, Global Spread

Ines Freedman leads a guided meditation about Pain: Local Intensity, Global Spread. It's a body scan meditation that relieves 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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MoMy Life As A Monk

My Life As A Monk

Ajahn shares about his life as a monk. His first contact with meditation in the Buddhist practice, and how that ...
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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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One Minute For Goodness

One Minute For Good

Sean Fargo leads a one-minute guided meditation. This practice is good for a quick morning meditation to relieve you of ...
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Transforming Suffering nature

Transforming Suffering

Learn how to deal with life's circumstances that are challenging in Transforming Suffering. What are the things that are difficult ...
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Freedom

Feeling Free

Joseph Goldstein talks about Feeling Free and the 4th noble truth. The 4th noble truth is the way of practice ...
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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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How To Feel Safe, Content & Connected

How To Feel Safe, Content & Connected

We have 3 overarching needs. Needs that help us be safe by avoiding harms, help us be content by rewards ...
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Lessons from Nature

Nature: Tropical Waves

Nature Sound: Tropical Waves. Hear the rolling waves as the winds of the sky commands its movement. They touch your ...
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Dharmette by Gil Fronsdal

Dharmette: Self Conscious

Gil Fronsdal leads a Guided Meditation Dharmette: A short instruction being mindful, Abide Conscious not Self Conscious. Be Conscious, not ...
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Dharmette by Gil Fronsdal

What’s Not Wrong

Gil Fronsdal leads a Guided Meditation Dharmette: What's Not Wrong. Some people are oriented to noticing what's wrong, searching for ...
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How the Dalai Lama Did Not Say Something New

How the Dalai Lama Did Not Say Something New

Sylvia Boorstein talks about how the Dalai Lama teaches the same old teachings, which is good! Expounds that what's important ...
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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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Nature of Awareness

Guided Heart Meditation

Anam Thubten leads the guided heart meditation, to remind the memories of the heart, compassion, and loving-kindness, and awaken the ...
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Mental Clarity

Mental Clarity (Binaural Beat)

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

Quick Mindfulness Talk: Relating to It

Gil Fronsdal leads a Guided Meditation Dharmette: Relating to It. There're only two things over going on, there's what's happening ...
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Mindfulness of walking

Mindful Walking

Sharon Salzberg leads a guided meditation- Mindful Walking. Before you begin a meditation, find a long room or a quiet ...
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Bringing Wisdom and Love to All Parts of Our Lives

Bringing Wisdom and Love to All Parts of Our Lives

Donald Rothberg talks about a vision of bringing wisdom and love to all parts of our lives. In this meditation, ...
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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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Gratitude

Gratitude

Gil Fronsdal is a world-renowned Buddhist teacher and scholar. In this free mindfulness talk, he discusses the importance of Gratitude ...
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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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