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Mindfulness Exercises For Buddhists

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Deepen your Buddhist practice with our free mindfulness exercises, guided meditations, mindfulness worksheets and more. 

Open Awareness

Open Awareness

Sean Fargo invites us to do open awareness meditation practice. This meditation is suitable for beginners, as it teaches the basics of open awareness ...
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Establishing Safety

Establishing Safety

This practice promotes a sense of safety that allows our mental resources to stop fending off outer threats & instead focus on our inner wellbeing ...
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Tracking Your Mood

Tracking Your Mood

Tracking of your moods in a log can help you reflect on the factors and situations that affect your emotions. Do this a few times a day ...
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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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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 we begin to see." ...
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Matthew Brensilver

Mindfulness in Close Relationships [Audio]

Mindfulness in Close Relationships by Matthew Brensilver:It’s sweet, that, sometimes, when you teach at a place for the first time, there’s like a little – out process that happens, but ...
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Sylvia Boorstein

Cultivating The Heart of Inclusivity [Audio]

Cultivating The Heart of Inclusivity by Sylvia Boorstein:So, here’s a story. Sometime in the last decade, at the time of ___, I came home and there was a message in my ...
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The Source Of All Trust by Eckhart Tolle

The Source Of All Trust

In his talk on how to regain trust, Eckhart Tolle emphasizes the importance of awakening to our depths and coming home to the now, being connected & home ...
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My Favorite New Mindfulness Books

My Favorite New Mindfulness Books

Each book has something special to teach you about the practice of mindfulness. Check out my favorite new mindfulness books to discover something new ...
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How To Work With Painful Emotions

How To Work With Painful Emotions

Are you feeling hurt right now? Learn how to deal with painful emotions with this meditation class. Experience freedom from painful emotions today ...
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Oren J. Sofer

Increasing Mindfulness [Audio]

Guided Mindfulness Meditation by Oren J. Sofer:So, as we begin a period of meditation, I often find it helpful just to tune in to the space around the body, disconnecting with ...
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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 aware of just being here without any need to worry ...
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Mindfulness: The Path to the Deathless

Mindfulness: The Path to the Deathless

Mindfulness is the path to the deathless, heedlessness is the path to death. The mindful do not die, but the heedless are as if dead already - Dhammapada 21 ...
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Meditation Living Presence by Tara Brach

Meditation: Living Presence [Audio]

Tara Brach leads a guided meditation: Living Presence. Noticing the quality of presence with each breath, inflow, and outflow, relaxing and awake ...
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Joseph Goldstein Foundations of Mindfulness Practice

Foundations of Mindfulness Practice

Audio talk on the foundations of Mindfulness Practice by Joseph Goldstein, which aspires to help listeners take a closer step towards enlightenment ...
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Flying Through the Clouds a Spoken Meditation [Video]

Flying Through the Clouds, a Spoken Meditation [Video]

Designed for sleep and relaxation, this spoken meditation by Jason Stephenson will help you let go of stress and tension before falling asleep ...
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Reducing Depression With Someone Else's Love

Reducing Depression With Someone Else’s Love

Reducing Depression with Someone Else's Love. This meditation makes use of visualizing a person of with great love for you to help you alleviate depression ...
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Success in 3D [Video]

Success in 3D [Video]

Combine the 3 dimensions (3D) of professional life – task (it), relationships (we), and self (I) – and chart your course towards success in 3D (dimensions) ...
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Getting Rid of Stress in 60 Seconds

How to Get Rid of Stress in 60 Seconds

Get rid of stress in 60 seconds by allowing your mind to be silent, focusing intently on your breathing, and questioning whether your thoughts are true ...
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Who Is Pulling The Strings?

Who Is Pulling The Strings?

Read "Who Is Pulling The Strings?" as it elaborates the fourth of the Brahma-vihāras - upekkhā or equanimity to explain why things happen as they do ...
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Selves and Not Self The Buddhist Teaching on Anatta

Self & Not-Self: The Buddhist Teaching on YOU

Selves & Not-self: The Buddhist Teaching on Anatta deals with the mystifying teaching on "not-self" crucial to understanding the spiritual path ...
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Clarity of the mind

Emptying the Mind

Gil Fronsdal leads a guided meditation on Emptying the Mind. He explains the power of here. Here is the present. Here is awareness. Here is stillness ...
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Morning Meditation Hike

Morning Meditation Hike

Morning Meditation with Garth Stevenson. A montage of musician Garth Stevenson’s ethereal morning meditation hike at Wanderlust Festival in Lake Tahoe 2011 ...
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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 called to help. Compassion compels us ...
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The Five Hindrances

The Five Hindrances

Joseph Goldstein holds a Q&A session about the 5 hindrances. The 5 hindrances are sensory desire, ill will, sloth, restlessness, and doubt ...
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Gratitude Exercise: The Can of Heinz Beans

Gratitude Exercise: The Can of Heinz Beans

This simple Gratitude Exercise, to be conducted once a week, uses a can of Heinz beans to help you appreciate the food you eat on a daily basis ...
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Get Some Headspace by Andy Puddicombe

Get Some Headspace

Create a happier mindset by making meditation part of your daily routine. Listen to Andy Puddicombe about the practice of meditation styles to try out ...
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knowing the consequences of your behavior

Knowing the Consequences of Your Behavior

To begin this Mindfulness Exercise on Consequences, please bring kind awareness to- why you chose this topic- how your belly, chest, and head each feel when you reflect on this topic- the emotions that ...
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Overcoming Challenges Through Mindfulness At Work

Overcoming Challenges Through Mindfulness At Work

Challenges in life are a given--it is how you deal with those challenges that determines how successful you are, especially in your professional life. One important factor in overcoming a ...
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mindfulness meditation videos, monopoly of life

The Monopoly of Life

Life is like a game of monopoly – none of the things we acquire is really ours. It all goes back in the box, this video reminds us of the ...
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Guided Meditation: Equanimity

Guided Meditation: Equanimity [Audio]

This equanimity meditation by Steve Armstrong is an essential aspect of the spiritual path. It can increase ones ability to feel and respond.Guided Meditation: Equanimity, by Steve Armstrong:About Steve Armstrong:My ...
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Why Modern Workers Need Mindfulness & Richard Fernandez

Why Modern Workers Need Mindfulness – Richard Fernandez

Richard Fernandez explains how mindfulness can increase attention and engagement at work–precious resources in our fast-paced, ever-expanding world ...
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Self-Love Meditation

Self-Love Meditation

Self-Love Meditation. A powerful practice that can ease a racing mind. By drawing our attention to our innermost self, we find our source of inner peace ...
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Be the Light

Be the Light

Be the light. Become the best version of yourself through the Qoya movement and learn how to become physically being at one with your body. Qoya is based on the ...
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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 of the heart when it touches sorrow ...
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Attitude of Acceptance

Attitude of Acceptance

In order to develop an attitude of acceptance, you must think about your pain or physical limitations and describe to others how it is affecting y ...
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mindful family calendar

Mindful Family Calendar

Explore mindful family calendar with the practices of mindfulness exercises to bring awareness to improve the lifestyle of your family. To begin this Mindfulness Exercise on Mindful Family Calendar, please ...
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Parami by Ajahn Sucitto

Parami

Parami. A way of talking about transcendence, liberation or however you conceive of a spiritual path, is to use the metaphor of ‘crossing the floods.’ ...
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Opening the Third Eye Chakra Music Pineal Gland Activation Awaken With Binaural Beats

Opening the Third Eye Chakra Music: Pineal Gland Activation With Binaural Beats

Open and activate your third eye, otherwise known as the pineal gland, through meditation by listening to this chakra music with binaural beats ...
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How To Take Charge Of Your Life

How To Take Charge Of Your Life

In order to take charge of your life, you need to be a player rather than a victim. Own your choices and claim your personal power through responsibility ...
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Transforming Ill Will

Transforming Ill Will

Through a collection of techniques and gentle reminders, you can change ill will into goodwill. Transform ill will into goodwill with this technique ...
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Body Scan Advanced

Body Scan, Advanced

Body Scan Advanced. This meditation script is a simple guide for leading a body awareness practice. It includes notes on recommended length of pauses ...
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Equanimity Meditation FI

Equanimity Meditation

The equanimity meditation helps us to examine feelings towards people, and correct them when there's a mistake. This leads to a more balanced viewpoint ...
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Free Mindfulness Retreats

Free Mindfulness Retreats

Mindfulness retreats are a unique experience. If you can't visit a meditation center, you can organize your own free mindfulness retreat at home ...
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Guided Compassion Meditation [Audio]

Guided Compassion Meditation [Audio]

Compassion—this capacity to meet what is difficult without following them into despair, overwhelm, or shutdown, or indifference, an open heart ...
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Mindfulness and Buddhism

While mindfulness in and of itself does not require we practice Buddhism, we cannot practice Buddhism without understanding and embodying mindfulness. Buddhism is a religion and philosophy that has stood the test of time, having been founded over 2,500 years ago by Siddhartha Gautama. As a cornerstone of Buddhist philosophy, mindfulness practice has been explored and embodied for centuries. Its presence is so strong and deeply rooted that mindfulness, often referred to as sati, is often considered the first step one takes towards enlightenment.

Understanding Sati

Sati is the first of the Seven Factors of Enlightenment, though it is a component of each and every stage. According to the Buddhist tradition, mindfulness can be defined as, “moment to moment awareness of the present moment.” It is not something we can possess or hold onto; rather, it a process we experience again and again.

Mindfulness, or sati, can also be understood as:

  • Bare attention, or non-conceptual awareness
  • Correct view, or clear seeing
  • Non-judgmental awareness
  • Awareness of reality
  • Remembering, or bearing in mind

Remembering, as it is understood in the Buddhist sense, does not refer to the recollection of past events by the egoic mind; rather, it is a reminder to pay “bare attention” when the mind has wandered, or when we have moved away from the present moment. In this way, mindfulness has the ability to remind us to focus on what is happening right here and now. Not only is mindfulness the art of paying attention, it is also what calls us back when our attention has flittered away.

Mindfulness in the Buddhist Tradition

The Buddhist roots of mindfulness are powerful reminders of what this process or practice is and what it is not. Happiness or relaxation are often falsely associated with mindfulness; meanwhile, Buddhism reminds us that mindfulness is not conditional in any way. In the Buddhist practice of mindfulness, everything is observed without judgment. While what is observed in the mind might be noted as happiness, the presence of this state is not necessary for the practice to be complete or “correct.”

Many modern views of mindfulness focus on the idea of the primary or individual self, harbouring, however unconsciously, the notion of the separate self. Buddhism, on the other hand, views life as a conglomerate of flowing energy that creates our thoughts, our feelings, and our experience. Through movement towards enlightenment, the self is liberated from its sense of separateness.

It is important to note that the separate self does not need to be rejected or judged in any way; rather, it is something that Buddhist mindfulness practice eventually moves us through. Our experience of the separate self can be observed just like anything else. This understanding is a crucial component to the expansion of one’s mindfulness practice. These ancient insights provide us with signposts to help us move past our attachment to our experiences and our stories and our strong sense of the separate self. They encourage us to witness the present moment reality from a clearer, or more absolute, vantage point.

How Buddhism Promotes Mindfulness

Buddhism promotes mindfulness through a variety of techniques and modes of exploration. To better understand the ways in which it is practiced in this tradition, mindfulness can be explored through its four foundations: mindfulness of body, mindfulness of feelings, mindfulness of mind, and mindfulness of dhammas.

1. Mindfulness of body

Including mindfulness of breathing, awareness of the body, contemplation on the reality of the physical body, reflection on the material reality, and awareness of the body’s impermanence

2. Mindfulness of feeling

Different from emotion, feelings in this sense are broken down into awareness of risings that are: pleasant, neutral, and unpleasant; bodily and mental; worldly and unworldly

3. Mindfulness of mind

Involves awareness of mental states such as distraction, concentration, hatred, lust, or retraction

4. Mindfulness of dhammas, or mind objects

  • Awareness of Five Hindrances (desire, anger, sloth, worry, doubt)
  • Awareness of the Five Aggregates of Clinging (form, feeling, perception, mental-formations, consciousness)
  • Awareness of the entry points of consciousness (eyes, ears, nose, tongue, body, and mind)
  • Mindfulness of the Seven Factors of Enlightenment (mindfulness, investigation of dhammas, energy, joy, relaxation, concentration, and equanimity)
  • Mindfulness of the Four Noble Truths (suffering, the origin of suffering, the cessation of suffering, and the path leading to the end of suffering)

These four cornerstones provide a framework through which we can begin to explore mindfulness. Typically, we would explore one at a time, beginning with breath awareness and then moving outwards from there. Eventually, we reach the Four Noble Truths, coming to understand intuitively (rather than intellectually or theoretically) how one can move towards the absence of suffering.

The End of Suffering through Mindfulness

According to Buddhist philosophy, we suffer not because we are inherently “wrong” or “bad” but because we do not understand the reality of nature. Buddhism introduces us to the three marks of existence: impermanence, suffering, and insight. Mindfulness and contemplation of these aspects of our existence help us to move through our suffering as we gain a deeper understanding of the absolute reality of nature.

The Pali word for suffering is dukkha, a term that can be more completely understood as:

  • The physical or mental suffering that comes from the cycle of life (the transition through birth, growth, illness, and death)
  • The emotional aspect of our humanity, including sorrow and grief
  • Attachment to things that, by nature, change constantly
  • Lack of satisfaction or the feeling of expectations not being met

We gain insight into dukkha by increasing mindfulness of the Buddhist understanding of life. As we come to understand and accept the flow of nature and the impermanency of everything (from thoughts to physical possessions), we begin to overcome whatever rests at the root of our suffering. This deeper level of awareness increases our experience of contentment with whatever exists. We find ourselves in greater flow with the cycles of everything life comprises of.

​Buddhist Mindfulness Practices

Mindfulness practice in Buddhism is often believed to be highly associated with meditation, but it much more than this. The practice of being mindful can be carried throughout every aspect of our lives, touching the ways we interact with others, the way we walk, the way we eat, and the way we do just about anything. In studying Buddhism philosophy, it is not uncommon to find ourselves becoming instinctively more mindful of how we tread on this earth on a daily basis and of our interconnectedness to all things.

There are a variety of different ways we can deepen our awareness of the present moment. Countless online resources exist to help guide us into deeper levels of understanding. Three techniques and practices with roots in the Buddhist tradition are listed below.

Breath Awareness

Mindfulness of body is most simply explored through awareness of the breath. To practice, come into a comfortable seated position with the spine straight and the shoulders relaxed. You may sit cross legged on the floor or in a straight-backed chair. Rest your hands in your lap or on your thighs as you come into a state of stillness.

Draw your awareness to your breath without changing it in anyway. Keep your focus on this movement of energy into and out of your body, calling upon mindfulness to help refocus your attention when the mind wanders.

Keep the heart open, remaining compassionate towards whatever you experience. Refrain from judging the present moment in anyway. Continue to breathe mindfully, drawing your attention back to the breath again and again. You may sit here for any period of time that suits your needs.

Loving Kindness Meditation

Within the Buddhist tradition, Loving Kindness meditation, or Metta meditation, is a practice that helps to keep the heart open and compassionate. It supports insights as through this practice, we come to realize our interconnectedness on a more profound level.

To practice, come to a seated position with your back straight and shoulders relaxed. Take a few moments to settle into the space and then draw your attention to the center of your chest. Breathe through this space.

Once you feel grounded, bring yourself to mind. With eyes closed, observe the presence of yourself in your mind’s eye exactly as you are. Open your heart to this individual and when you are ready, softly repeat the words:

May you be loved, may you be safe, may you be happy, may you be at peace.
May you be loved, may you be safe, may you be happy, may you be at peace.

Take your time with this, allowing yourself to be completely present with these words as they permeate the image of your own being. Sit with this moment for as long as you need.

When you are ready, repeat the practice with three more people:

  • Someone you are close to
  • Someone you feel neutral towards
  • Someone you have a challenging relationship with

With each of these individuals, take your time to bring their image and essence to mind, repeating the same blessings to them.

May you be loved, may you be safe, may you be happy, may you be at peace.
May you be loved, may you be safe, may you be happy, may you be at peace.

Finally, repeat the same kind words to the Universe at large, holding the entire world in your awareness. Imagine all beings being blessed with light, love, and peace.

Allow all images to dissipate as you come back to silence. Focus on your breath for a while observing whatever arises in your field of awareness. When you are ready, you may slowly return to the physical world by gently opening your eyes.

Vipassana Meditation

Also known as Insight Meditation, Vipassana is a meditation technique that dates back to the earliest days of Buddhism. With roots in India, Gotama Buddha came upon the practice over 2500 years ago. It offers insight into the three marks of existence and moves us towards liberation from suffering. Vipassana is taught in 10-day retreats as the entire practice is considered to be a mental training.

The practice helps us to see things as they are and guides its students to pay focused attention to the sensations of the physical body. It is based on open observation and helps to connect the gap between mind and body.

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