Introduction to Mindful Awareness P4

Daniel Vinograd

Mindfulness also includes other aspects; curiosity, openness, this willingness to be with what is. You’re going to see the different elements. Often, mindfulness is connected to kindness, compassion, care. There are certain skills that we develop that involve present-time awareness, and you’ll see how mindfulness is deeply connected to them. Yes?

 

SPEAKER: How does what you’re talking about differ from Buddhist insight meditation?

 

DIANA: How does this differ from Buddhist insight meditation. Buddhist insight meditation is a big influence on the mindfulness movement, and mindfulness is in many ways derived from that, but it also includes other aspects of things. We can look at mindfulness, seeing what’s present of mindfulness in different other religious traditions, in poetry, in philosophy. In the mindfulness movement, we draw from science. So mindfulness is very much linked to Buddhist insight meditation, but it’s certainly a secularization and drawing from other aspects of things. Yes?

 

SPEAKER: If you practice it during the daytime, do you get any benefit of better sleep?

 

DIANA: Who has sleep problems here? Yeah. It’s such a common thing in the culture. People report that mindfulness can help with sleep. We’re actually doing a study right now at UCLA – it’s going to be starting in May, on mindfulness and sleep. There’s been a few studies linking it to improved sleep. Actually, they’re going to be looking for volunteers for that study, so if you’re interested, I’ll give you all the information about our center at the end. You can look into that. Okay, last one.

 

SPEAKER: I recently started to practice mindfulness, only in the last month or so. The greatest improvement I’ve seen so far is that a long history of insomnia is no more.

 

DIANA: So here’s living proof right here. The end of her insomnia from a month of practicing mindfulness. How wonderful. Thank you for saying that. Okay, enough talk. Let’s do it. Let’s practice it.

 

We’re going to do a basic meditation that is the foundational practice of mindfulness, that is something that if you decide you want to go back and do more of, that you would do what we’re doing right now. Just a really simple breath meditation. I’ll teach it to you, I’ll guide you through it. This is the basics of mindfulness to get started.

 

I just invite you to settle back on your chair. If you’re comfortable, close your eyes. You do not have to meditate with your eyes closed, but it can be quite helpful. If it doesn’t feel comfortable, then leave them open, but have them looking downward with a soft gaze. Your feet should be on the floor; your back upright as much as possible in these chairs, but at the same time being comfortable. So not too rigid, not too tight. Just comfortable. Your hands can be resting wherever is comfortable; on your legs, on the arms of the chair, in your lap. I like to put my tongue on the roof of my mouth, but really whatever is comfortable for you.

 

Let’s begin by noticing our body present on the chair. This is the first step of being mindful, just bringing our attention into our body, right here, right now. You can notice your feet on the floor, and what that feels like to have your feet on the floor. There’s weight and contact with the floor, vibration and touch and movement. Then notice your legs in the position that they’re in, and then notice where your legs touch the chair. There’s heaviness, pressure, vibration.

 

As you’re doing this, you’re bringing your mind inside your body, into the present moment. Our bodies are always in the present moment, so can we bring our minds there too? You can notice your back against the chair and what that feels like. Bring your attention into your stomach area, and see if your stomach is tight or tense. If it is, allow it to soften a little bit. You can breathe more deeply into your stomach area. Then notice your hands; are your hands tense or tight? You can allow them to soften. How about your arms and shoulders? Notice them and let them be relaxed. Then notice your jaw and throat and face. Soften your jaw, soften your facial muscles.

 

Now begin to notice that your body is breathing. Without you having to do anything at all, your body is naturally breathing. See if you can find your breath in your body, and let the breath be natural. Don’t try to elongate or shorten it. You might notice your abdomen area. Can you feel your breath in your abdomen? There’s a rising, falling sensation. Expansion and contraction. How about in your chest area? Can you feel your chest moving up and down? Expanding, contracting, rising, falling. Now notice if you can feel your breath at your nostrils. There’s coolness, heat, tingling. Flow of sensations.

 

If there’s sound, just let sound be in the background, and try to focus on your breath.

 

Finding your breath in one of these spots: abdomen, chest, or nostrils. Letting your attention come to rest, choose one. It doesn’t really matter which one you choose. Choose the one that is the most obvious to you or the easiest. Most compelling. See if you can feel one breath at a time. One breath after the next.

 

As you do this, it’s likely your mind will start to wander. Perhaps all sorts of things will come into your mind, and if that’s the case, you’re not doing anything wrong; it’s actually quite normal. When you notice your mind is wandering, you can say “thinking” or “wandering,” and then very gently bring your attention back to your breathing. So you’re with your breath; you get lost in thought; you might say “thinking,” and come back to your breath. And you get lost in thought again; you notice it, say “thinking,” and then gently come back to your breath.

 

If you notice you’re sleepy, that’s fine; so if you can be aware of being sleepy. If you’re feeling restless, notice that. Whatever takes you away from your breath, become aware of it, and then come back to the breath.

 

We’re going to practice this on our own for a few minutes. I’ll be quiet, and you give it a try, with your breath; getting lost, coming back.

 

No matter how many times your mind gets lost, no matter how many times it goes away from the present moment, you always can start again. Just bring it right back; come back to the breathing.

 

 
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Phone: 619-630-7174    •    Dr. Vinograd, DDS, is a Dentist in San Diego, CA, offering services as a periodontist, and providing teeth whitening, dental crowns, invisalign, implants, lumineers, dentures, root canals, holistic, family and cosmetic dentistry.


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