Mindfulness Activity #101
Three Components of Mindfulness Practice
Good Morning. Today I’d like to focus on three aspects of mindfulness: intention, attention, and attitude. Please watch this very short video that explains these concepts.
What Is Mindfulness?
In mindfulness practice, we set an intention with our instructions. You may also reflect on how the present practice links to where you would like your life to go, or how you would like to be, or why mindfulness could be useful to you. Once we know what the task for a mindfulness practice is, we can fix our attention on that task. In other words, we pay attention to whatever the guide speaking to you or the practice tells us to. This almost always provides an opportunity for us to work on our attitude. Are we impatient with ourselves? Do we give up easily? Do we do a work-around frustration and change the practice (I didn’t mean to do 30 site ups-20 is good?
The interesting thing about practicing is that changing your attitude towards yourself and your practices changes your whole approach to your day. If you practice, you may find your judgment of others goes down. You may find yourself more patient, more curious, or just more connected to experience. This is also how the stress relieving properties of mindfulness kick in.
So, today, I will ask each of you as you breathe and sit tall to consider your intention for practicing. Why are you doing this right now? How do you think this might help you? Try to begin with this in mind.
Now breathe in deeply and out again. Today the task is to choose something to focus on for the duration of practice. It could be your feet, it could be you massage your temples, it could be you pay attention to the feel of your body as you stretch each muscle. The import thing is that you choose a focus and stick with it—do not change mid-practice. Make sure that you continue to breathe as we have practiced deeply until your lungs are filled with a slow exhale the whole time you are paying attention to the thing you decided to focus on. As you inevitably stray for a moment form our focus, be gentle with yourself, and bring yourself back to your focus.
Okay, so now you have chosen your focus for practice and you are sitting straight. You will use this music for your timer. It is 6.5 minutes– a little longer than you might be used to, but it will allow time for most people to get fidgety, bored or distracted. Remember that the point is to stay focused, and to be nonjudgmental when you lose focus, have urges to stop, etc…Adjust your volume so it is soft. Breathe and click this link to start the timer and begin your practice.
What was that like for you? For me longer practices are almost always more challenging, but provide lots of learning opportunities. Hopefully you were able to develop a patient and gentle attitude towards yourself and the practice. If you can, try to have this same gentle, patient, attentive approach to everyone and everything you encounter today. This is the gift that comes from mindfulness practice.
Enjoy the weekend!