Mindfulness Activity #41
Settling into Breath Mindfulness Practice
Today, I thought I would share my practice this morning with you. The practice is to settle into your breath. There are times in your life when you need to shift focus abruptly…you hear a noise and you need to look to see what it was. But for today’s practice, rather than an abrupt shift, we will coax ourselves into mindfulness. Thich Nhat Hanh said, Life is both dreadful and wonderful.” Have you ever noticed though that we pay more attention to the dreadful? So much so that we might miss little pockets of wonderful. Even small moments of wonder and peace restore us so that we can face the dreadful (or just the irritating).
If you are anything like me, mindfulness is often the last thing you feel like doing when you get up. Perhaps you are thinking of the urgency of all you need to do, or perhaps you are worried for someone and that’s the first thing that grips you in your day. Maybe you are having thoughts that tell you the day will be terrible, or there are no solutions for your problems. Perhaps you have just resigned yourself to suffer…the day will be horrible. All of that is referred to in Zen as forgetfulness…It seems like the problem is more like you can’t forget worries or stressors. It’s called forgetfulness because you are forgetting the present…missing it. We can get stuck in feelings about the past or worries about the impending day. In either case, we ensure we will have a painful day. If, on the other hand, you ground yourself in the present—even for five minutes, you increase the likelihood that you will experience some comfort or pleasant feelings, even if your day does prove to be painful or challenging in parts.
Today’s practice is about connecting to the present by settling into your breath in order to “press reset” on negative thoughts or feelings from yesterday or what you assume today will be like. Sitting in the present moment provides energy to face any hurdles you might be confronted with in the day.
Leaders can read… find your space to sit, and remember to practice nonjudgment about the novice video recording skills
Pay attention to your physical state, note aches and pains. Do you have a headache? Any Tension? Notice any unwillingness to practice, any urges to skip it. Just observe those thoughts and any experience of preoccupation, worry, or unwillingness for a few breaths. Then, throw yourself into your breath anyway. Find a pace, like a runner might. Whatever pace is comfortable for you. Focus on sounds and on your breath.
When the clip finishes, Read:
Take one last deep breath. Notice that even when you are distracted or in pain, you can get to that focused place by giving yourself a moment to acknowledge what’s causing you upset and gently shifting your focus towards breath. Take a few breaths to settle into it.
I wish you lots of energy to embrace your day.