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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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Mindfulness meditation

Walking Meditation

Sean Fargo leads a guided Walking Meditation. Walking meditation gives a different experience of awareness with visual feelings and movement ...
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Nature of Awareness

The Problem With Being a Good Meditator

James Baraz talks about the problem with being a good meditator. The conceit, anxiety and restlessness clings and hides through ...
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Mortality and the Poignancy of Life

Mortality and the Poignancy of Life

Matthew Brensilver says that if we are unafraid of death, life would be more open. Further, he reflects on 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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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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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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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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Gentle Mindful Yoga

Gentle Mindful Yoga

Gentle Mindful Yoga begins with the centering, followed by a series of postures and movements, and concludes with a relaxation ...
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Teachings On Nature

Limits of Technique

Matthew Brensilver talks about Limits of Technique. So much of Dharma is improvisation. Techniques are there to facilitate understanding, but ...
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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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Guided meditation

Guided Meditation

Joseph Goldstein leads a Guided Meditation to mindfulness. Feel relaxed and aware at the same time, breathing in and out, ...
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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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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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1 Minute Meditation

12 Intentions of Gratitude

See if you can take an inventory of the things for which you're grateful. This meditation samples 12 intentions of ...
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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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Lesson from Nature, Increasing Intelligence

Increasing Intelligence (Binaural Beat)

Binaural Beat for Increasing Intelligence. Binaural beats are auditory illusion perceived by the brain when two different tones are played ...
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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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Mindfulness for holiday stress, generosity, surrendering to life

Surrendering to Life

Many people try to find the answer to the suffering of human life. In parallel, the entire Buddha's teaching deals ...
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Mindfulness

Everybody’s Crazy

Listen to Ajahn Sumedho as he talks about grasping and non-grasping of emotional habits in Everybody's Crazy. There's so much ...
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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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mindfulness exercises guided meditation 7

Guided Loving Kindness Meditation

Sharon Salzberg leads a guided loving-kindness meditation. She urges to feel loving, care and acceptance of self. To grasp happiness ...
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Forty Five Minute Meditation

Forty Five Minute Meditation – Just Bells 15 Minute Intervals

Available for download, audible media of 45-minute meditation with just bells. The 15-minute intervals are good for parts of relaxation ...
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Gratitude

Day 7 Gratitude

Allow yourself to feel benefited from the gift of gratitude. Allow yourself to feel appreciation. This is Day 7 gratitude ...
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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 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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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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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 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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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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Affectionate Breathing

Affectionate Breathing

In this guided meditation, Kristin Neff walks us through the practice of affectionate breathing as a means of developing compassion ...
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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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Lesson from Nature, Euphoria and Relaxation

Euphoria & Relaxation (Binaural Beat)

Binaural Beat for Euphoria and Relaxation. Binaural beats are auditory illusion perceived by the brain when two different tones are ...
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Mood and Mindfulness

Mood and Mindfulness

Phillip Moffitt explains mood and attitude are the hidden aspects that many fail to realize mindfulness. Mindfulness is defined and ...
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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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Dharmette by Gil Fronsdal

Resolution to Present Details

Gil Fronsdal leads a Guided Meditation Dharmette: Resolution to Present Details. In Mindfulness, to be resolved, to be present attentively ...
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Gil Fronsdal Guided Anapanasati Meditations

Guided Anapanasati: Cultivating Well Being

Gil Fronsdal leads an Anapanasati Cultivating Well Being. Take a moment to really know & feel. Your body is always ...
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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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Working With Your Inner Critic

Working With Your Inner Critic

Mark Coleman leads a meditation- Working with your Inner Critic. It's unusual because in this meditation he allows inviting a ...
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Serenity: A Guided Meditation

Serenity: A Guided Meditation

Jack Kornfield leads Serenity: A Guided Meditation. First, orienting the participants on spirt rock's programs. This meditation is best for ...
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Lessons from Nature, Radical Acceptance

Radical Acceptance

Radical acceptance can help us move towards mindfulness, awareness, and compassion. Listen to Tara Brach talks about Radical Acceptance ...
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important thing enjoy your life

The Most Important Thing

Mark Coleman talks about The Most Important Thing on the Buddhist Path. Compassion and Loving-kindness enable us to be present ...
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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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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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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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Equanimity and Faith

Equanimity and Faith

Sharon Salzberg talks about Equanimity and Faith. Equanimity is the evenness of mind, especially in difficult circumstances. Develop a mind ...
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Teachings on the Calligraphy

Teachings on the Calligraphy of Thich Nat Hanh

Mark Coleman talks about the Calligraphy of Thich Nat Hanh. "I have arrived, I am home." This is the profound ...
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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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Mindfulness for holiday stress

The Attitude In Awareness

Relax, observe, and allow. These 3 are the guidelines for the proper attitude in awareness meditation. Guy teaches to strike ...
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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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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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