Find out more about what presence is and how you can learn to become more present to your life with the practice of mindfulness.
This article was written in honour of the Vietnamese Buddhist monk Thich Nhat Hahn who died on 22nd January 2022, aged 95. Often referred to as “the father of mindfulness”, his simple yet deeply profound teachings have led countless people towards a life of mindfulness, joy, and peace.
The best way to compensate for our negativity bias and build our inner strengths is to regularly take in the good, as described by the psychologist and meditation Rick Hanson. The practice of taking in the good is a systematic approach that allows us to deliberately internalize our positive experiences into implicit memory, so that they can start to have an impact on neural structure in our brain.
“Be a lamp unto yourself, be a refuge to yourself. Take yourself to no external refuge.” – The Buddha
What did he mean? Our ultimate refuge is none other than our own being. There is a light of awareness that shines through each of us and guides us home. We are never separated from this luminous awareness any more than waves are separated from the ocean. Even when we feel most ashamed or lonely, reactive or confused, we are never actually apart from the awakened state of our heart-mind.
This is a wonderful and beautiful teaching. For all of us, this open, loving awareness is our deepest nature. – Tara Brach, True Refuge
Discovering a way to contact positive emotions, and especially a sense of care, strength, stability and safety in the present moment, is a key element in healing.
If we know how to develop an inner refuge where we feel loved and safe, it enables us to reduce the intensity of difficult emotions when they arise during our meditation practice, and in our day-today life. New associations, new inner resources, and new ways of coping and understanding begin to emerge spontaneously.
Most of all, it enables us to grow a sense of trust in ourselves, to know that we have within us whatever is needed to be present with our life.
In this article you will learn how the practice of mindfulness can benefit your whole family, and help you raise happy and resilient children.
Mindfulness includes the capacity to remember, remembering what is happening right now, and also remembering what is skilful and what is unskilful in the mind, so that we are better able to discern what qualities of mind bring about suffering in our lives, for ourselves and others, and what states of mind bring about happiness, peace for ourselves and others, this is the broader meaning of mindfulness. both in our meditation and in our lives.
“Meditation is a deep listening with the body, heart and mind to find graciousness, wisdom and ease amidst all the change around us. We can invite a sense of calm and steadiness with each breath. We can become the loving awareness that is tuning into our heart and listens deeply.” – Jack Kornfield
“There is one thing that, when cultivated and regularly practiced, leads to deep spiritual intention, to peace, to mindfulness and clear comprehension, to vision and knowledge, to a happy life here and now, and to culmination of wisdom and awakening. And what is that one thing? It is mindfulness centered on the body.” – The Buddha
As the American Buddhist nun Pema Chodron says, we meditate “to wake up from the cocoon of our habitual patterns”.
Every day, as we sit in meditation, we have the opportunity to ask ourselves: “As I go into this day, what is the most important thing? What is the best use of this day?”
What is the best use of each day of our lives?
Meditation practice invites us into this reflection: every day, we could be more sane, more compassionate, more tender, more openhearted and more in touch with reality.
Our practice allows us to realize when we are hooked on automatic pilot, so we can pause and to create a gap. With this pause comes choice: we realize that we can choose a different, wiser response, instead of our habitual conditioned reaction.