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Doubt mindfulness

Dealing With Doubt

Sharon Salzberg talks about Dealing with Doubt. Doubt can be intentionally cultivated and serve as an exploration of truth ...
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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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Mindfulness Exercise on Lessons From Nature

Mindfulness of Depression 3/5

Rona Kabatznick leads Part 3 of the guided forgiveness meditation on Mindfulness Depression. Forgiveness of self is to open one's ...
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Keys to a long retreat

Keys To A Long Retreat

"Refrain from violence and work to end hatred" is a good way to reflect on during the long retreat. Attitude ...
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Coming To Your Senses

Coming To Your Senses

This "coming to your senses" guided meditation by Sean Fargo is the intermediate level of open awareness practice. This meditation ...
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Remembering Motivation

Remembering Motivation

Improve your motivation and look deep into your self, access the place of your accomplishments. Sean Fargo leads a guided ...
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Developing Meditation Techniques

Developing Meditation Techniques

Ajahn Sumedho talks about developing meditation techniques. Keep concentrating on the breath and stop the wandering mind and bring about ...
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Lesson from Nature

Nature: Jungle Adventure

Nature Sounds: Jungle Adventure. Just outside your tent, you find yourself listening to birds and creatures of the forest. Sunlight ...
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Making Room for Gratitude – Meditation

Making Room for Gratitude – Meditation

How does it feel to be grateful? Throughout our busy lives, we often lose the chance to find stillness. Do ...
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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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Listening To The Sound Of Silence

Listening To The Sound Of Silence

Ajahn Sumedho talks about Listening to the Sound of Silence. In meditation, we establish awareness. This awareness contemplates on the ...
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surrender

The Art of Surrender

Frank Ostaseski talks about the experience of surrender in The Art of Surrender. Listen to what he says about dying ...
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Nature of Awareness

Sacred Fertilizer

Sacred Fertilizer- sometimes we need a powerful dose of challenges, tribulations, crisis such as loss of loved ones or unbearable ...
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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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Tending Yourself, Tending The World

Tending Yourself, Tending The World

Jack Kornfield tells about tending to yourself and the world by caring for each other. He tells a story about ...
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Meditation: Tonglen

Meditation: Tonglen

Tara Brach leads a guided Meditation: Tonglen. The natural suffering we encounter is the gateway to compassion. Let loving awareness ...
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Transforming the Jaudgmental Mind

Transforming the Judgmental Mind

The judgmental mind works in a very selective manner. Donald Rothberg explores the nature of the judgmental mind and gives ...
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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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Flowering of Compassion

You Are Not Your Fault

Wes Nisker talks about the topic You Are Not Your Fault. Wes explains that our existence is no accident, that ...
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Lessons from Nature

Nature: Tropical Beach at Sunset

Nature Sounds: Tropical Beach Sunset. You calmly watch the sunset as the waves started to recede. The inland wind carries ...
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Mindfulness Exercise on Lessons From Nature

Mindfulness of Depression 2/5

Rona Kabatznick leads Part 2 of the guided forgiveness meditation on Mindfulness Depression. Forgiveness of self is to open one's ...
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Increase Optimism

How To Increase Optimism

Sean Fargo leads a guided meditation on How to Increase Optimism. Envision yourself feeling healthy. Envision yourself to have forgiven ...
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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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Empathy

Empathy: Its Nature, What Makes It Hard, and How to Develop It

Donald Rothberg talks about empathy: its nature, what makes it hard and how to develop it. Empathy is the ability ...
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Mindfulness exercise

H.E.A.L. Steps to Happiness

Rick Hanson talks about HEAL Steps to Happiness. Taking in the good have 4 fundamental steps: Have, Enrich, Absorb, and ...
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Increase Loving Kindness

The Practice of Metta – Loving Kindness

Sharon Salzberg talks about Metta- the Practice of Loving Kindness. The kind of loving kindness that does not select but ...
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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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Practicing with Anger

Practicing with Anger

Practicing anger is a crucial theme in practice. There are many reasons for anger being quite confusing and yet being ...
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Lesson from Nature

Nature: Dusk at the Oasis

The orange sky reflects the setting sun. You find yourself peacefully listening at Nature: Dusk at the Oasis. Soothing winds ...
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Commitment

Commitment, Attachment & Love

Jack Kornfield talks about Commitment, Attachment, and Love. Love takes off the masks that we fear we cannot live without ...
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Generosity and Gratitude

Generosity and Gratitude

Donald Rothberg talks about the relationship between Generosity and Gratitude. It's the spirit of giving is based on the feeling ...
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Coming back

Coming Back

Tara Brach leads a guided meditation about Coming Back. In the coming back, the key piece is the quality or ...
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Creative Landscape Design With Beautiful Design

Mindfulness of Depression 5/5

Rona Kabatznick leads Part 5 of the guided forgiveness meditation on Mindfulness Depression. Forgiveness of self is to open one's ...
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Mindfulness meditation

Developing Compassion

Jack Kornfield talks about Developing Compassion. The Buddha said the freedom of the heart is love. Compassion is the quivering ...
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Gil Fronsdal

Be Still and Gaze Upon Everything Kindly

Gil Fronsdal leads a Guided Meditation Be Still & Gaze Upon Everything Kindly. Buddha represents being still, tranquil in body ...
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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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Mindfulness for holiday stress

Introduction to Drawing Yourself

Marcia Rose introduces the "drawing yourself" exercise. First is to draw a part of yourself, either the hand or the ...
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Body Scan

Body Scan

Body scan is a guided meditation by Sean Fargo that helps to promote calmness. This offers an opportunity to release ...
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Ten Minute Meditation With Just Bells

Ten Minute Meditation With Just Bells

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

Guided Meditation on Breath

Gil Fronsdal leads a guided meditation on the breath as a fundamental practice for mindfulness and to familiarize the self ...
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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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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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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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Mindfulness for holiday stress

Introduction to Seeing Drawing

Marcia Rose gives an exercise: introduction to seeing drawing as a form of meditative activity. "When we start to draw ...
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The inner committee

The Inner Committee

Ajahn teaches Buddhist wisdom about different personas, roles, and characters. The so-called "Inner Committee" we listen to every day ...
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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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Working with fear

Working With Fear

Joseph Goldstein talks about Working With Fear. Fear of change, unknown or death, it's possible to relax at the edge ...
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Mindfulness meditation - knowing and not knowing

Knowing and Not Knowing

Matthew Brensilver talks about Knowing and Not Knowing. Mindfulness is very much about knowing things as they are. At the ...
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Forgiving Ourselves & Others

Forgiving Ourselves & Others

Tara Brach leads a guided meditation on Forgiving Ourselves and Others as part of Metta, and loving-kindness. Sometimes the body ...
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Mindfulness for holiday stress

On Death – Questions and Answers

This audible is a recording of the questions and answers about the topic of death. Ajahn gives answers in the ...
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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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