Cultivating an attitude of letting go or non-attachment is fundamental to the practice of mindfulness.
Thai forest Buddhist teacher Ajahn Chah reflected: “If you let go a little, you ‘ll have a little peace, if you let go a lot, you’ll find a lot of peace, if you let go completely, you’ll find absolute peace and tranquility”
Mindfulness is about meeting our experience fresh, in the moment. Being completely open in our meditation. Today I invite you to practice bringing this quality of freshness and not knowing to each moment.
“Gratitude, gladness, and related feelings like appreciation are easy to dismiss, but studies in fact show that cultivating them has lasting and important benefits, including lifting your mood, increasing satisfaction with life, and building resilience.” – Rick Hanson, Ph.D. In this practice, you will learn to cultivate appreciation for the life that is right here and now.
The basic meditation instructions to practice the body scan are to be mindful of the changing stream of sensations without trying to hold on to any of them, change them or resist them. It does not mean standing apart or observing from a distance but rather directly experiencing what is happening in the body. The two questions “what is happening inside me?” and “can I be with this?” help to bring a profound presence with the body.
Whenever you feel tense, give yourself permission to pause and practice a short body scan to help release the tensions in the body and the mind.
This practice uses the four steps of RAIN – Recognising, Allowing, Investigating, and Nurturing – as a guide to explore our present moment experience and to connect with self-care.
Take a moment to pause in the midst of your activities to come back into presence and nurture yourself, communicating in any way that feels natural “I’m here and I care”
For many of us, the idea of loving ourselves may seem out of reach, it is a process that evolves over time, as we learn to let go of self-criticism and self-judgment, and of the internalised negative voices from parents, siblings, teachers, and others. It becomes what Tara Brach calls a spiritual reparenting, learning to relate to ourselves with kindness. Our capacity to love ourselves is often awakened in us through having received love from others. So this practice starts by evoking a benefactor to help us remember what it’s like to love someone, and to awaken our loving heart. If we know how to love someone else, it means that we have what it takes to love ourselves.
This is a meditation on compassion using our breath and our heart. The foundation of this practice is to breathe in pain and suffering and to breathe out compassion. For this we begin to imagine ourselves as a “flow through”: the breath comes in, we breathe in the suffering into our heart, and then our heart becomes a transformer of sorrows. As we breathe out compassion, we imagine the suffering moving out into a larger space that can hold it all.
As we practice, we start to develop what the Tibetans call the “Lion’s roar”, which is a sense of confidence that we can handle the suffering of this life. It’s the sense that whatever happens, there is room in our heart for it.
We can use the four steps of the acronym RAIN, – Recognizing, Allowing, Investigating and Nurturing, – as a guide to explore our present moment experience. This practice can help you to gently come back into presence and grow in self-awareness, when you are functioning on auto-pilot.