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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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Pain & recurring thoughts

Pain & Recurring Thoughts

Tara Brach holds a Q&A session about Pain and Recurring Thoughts during meditation. There are times when pain is manifested ...
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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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mindfulness depression

Mindfulness For Depression

Rona Kabatznick leads the guided forgiveness meditation on Mindfulness Depression. Forgiveness of self is to open one's heart and find ...
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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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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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Being Present

Being Present

Sharon Salzberg explores intimacy within the context of how we relate to ourselves in Being Present. How do you relate ...
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Mindfulness & Pain

Mindfulness & Pain 1: Introduction

This is Part 1 of Oren Sofer's guided meditation about Mindfulness and Pain (Introduction). Allow feeling the weight of the ...
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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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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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Evening affirmations of gratitude

Evening Affirmations of Gratitude

Affirmations offer inspiration and support. "I am grateful for the gifts I receive from others" is an example of the ...
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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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Lesson from Nature

Nature: Lazy Summer Day

Nature Sounds Series: Lazy Summer Day. You find yourself enjoying the soft rain as it fell on a warm summer ...
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body scan meditation

Quick Body Scan

You're about to listen to a quick body scan meditation by Tara Brach. This guided meditation is beneficial for increasing ...
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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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helping hands

Life of Service

Mark Coleman talks about Life of Service. How wonderful and inspiring if the life of service we have is filled ...
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Mindfulness meditation, nature of awareness

Nature of Awareness

Guy Armstrong talks about the nature of awareness; mindfulness and consciousness being different properties. What about the word awareness? ...
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Gil Fronsdal

Attention Focused Narrow

Gil Fronsdal leads a Guided Meditation Attention Focused Narrow. There's a saying, in doing mindfulness practice, we look at reality ...
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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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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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Flowering of Compassion

The Flowering of Compassion

Mark Coleman talks about the Flowering of Compassion. Mark explains we live in a world of heartful connectedness. The real ...
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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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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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Relax the eyes

Relax the Eyes

Gil Fronsdal talks about Relaxing the Eyes. One of the important aspects of meditation is to have a relaxed mind ...
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Mindfulness meditation

Failing Well

Matthew Brensilver talks about Failing Well. It's about perfectionism, failure and loving-kindness. In practice, failing is indispensable and important ...
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Gil Fronsdal Guided Anapanasati Meditations

Guided Anapanasati: Impermanence Fading Away and Letting Go

Gil Fronsdal leads an Anapanasati Impermanence Fading Away and Letting Go. Check-in with your body how are you feeling right ...
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loving kindness for the earth

Loving Kindness For The Earth

Einstein said a human being is part of the whole universe. Wes Nisker talks about Loving Kindness for the Earth ...
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Mindfulness meditation

Deep Sleep (Binaural Beat)

Binaural Beat for Deep Sleep. Binaural beats are auditory illusion perceived by the brain when two different tones are played ...
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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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Breathing Space

Breathing Space

Available for download, audible media of 10-minute meditation with just bells. Good for worry-free time-crunched meditation ...
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Secret of contentment

It’s OK

Gil Fronsdal talks about It's OK. In saying OK, you can release the self from a lot of traps. To ...
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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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Just Like Me

Just Like Me

Just like me guided meditation by Sean Fargo focuses on the appreciation of your likeness with others. To feel the ...
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headache relief binaural beats

Headache Relief (Binaural Beat)

Binaural Beat for Headache Relief. Binaural beats are auditory illusion perceived by the brain when two different tones are played ...
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mindfulness exercises guided meditation 20

Working With Emotions In Your Body

This is a soften, soothe and allow meditation- Working with Emotions in your Body by Kristin Neff. Choose a difficult ...
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Mood emotions

Mood & Emotions

Joseph Goldstein talks about Mood & Emotions. Moods are very different from emotions. Emotions are something that arises from experiences ...
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Deep Relaxation For Sleep

Deep Relaxation For Sleep

David Gandelman leads a deep relaxation meditation for sleep. David Gandelman is the founder of Grounded Mind, host of the ...
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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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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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Mindfulness exercise, Judging Mind, no self no problem

Working With The Judging Mind

James Baraz talks about working with the judging mind on meditation practice. Sometimes the best ones who can perform deep ...
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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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Perspective

Perspective

Sharon Salzberg talks about Perspective. That there are so many possibilities for a shift in perspective. She further tells stories ...
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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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Increase Optimism

Going Home

Sharon Salzberg talks about Going Home; to reach the balance in living a life of mindfulness and compassion; to aspire ...
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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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Nature of Awareness

The Force of Harmony

Ajahn explains each of us has a force to contribute to the environment. To do good and let go of ...
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mindfulness exercises guided meditation 23

Mindfulness Of Breathing

Mark Coleman leads the guided mindfulness of breathing, explaining the posture and parameters of the meditation, being relaxed and alert ...
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self compassion

Self-Compassion Break

In this self-compassion break exercise, Kristin Neff teaches us how to take a moment to offer ourselves compassion in the ...
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4 Minute Meditation

Fifteen Minute Meditation

Tara Brach leads a 15-minute guided meditation. This meditation is good in increasing mindful awareness and beneficial for sleep ...
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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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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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