Practice Circle on Mindfulness2018-05-15T11:37:34+00:00

Practice Circle on Mindfulness

Hinduism

Praise to your coming and your going, Breath,
Praise to your rising and your settling, Breath!
Praise to you, Breath of Life,
For both breathing in and out!
For turning to this side and to that,
Praise to all of you, everywhere!
Breath of Life, grant your blessed form
To us that we may live!
Give us your healing power!

— Atharva Veda XI, 4:1-10, 14, 26

In this step of ISM, we are focussing on Mindfulness.  Why? Mindfulness enables us to calm our stress, heal emotional causes of illness, improve our relationships, still and focus our minds so that we might enter into profound and transformative states of meditation where we can achieve Wisdom to truly help others.

But the reality for most of us is that we are just not always mindful!  Therefore, we turn to the great exemplars to show us the way and to inspire us to generate mindfulness and enjoy its benefits.  Our Mindfulness meditation is greatly enhanced by the first four steps of ISM for they help prepare our minds to become calm and focussed.

Please write about Mindfulness in your weekly journal.  Why is it important for you to cultivate Mindfulness?  Who are the teachers and what are the resources that are most helpful to you?  What method of Mindfulness meditation works best for you: breath, sound, movement, image or silence?

Please share a summary of your present meditative insights on the step in the practice circle below. Condense your journal writing (into 2,000 characters or less) and post it in a comment box below. Your personal experiences with this step of the meditation will be gifts to everyone.  Please don’t be shy about sharing.

6 Comments

  1. Ed Bastian April 15, 2018 at 4:30 pm

    Please share your meditative insights on this step in the comment boxes below.

  2. awolfe May 23, 2018 at 9:20 pm

    The Spy

    Breathe in,
    Breathe out
    May I be happy and healthy –
    Breath is life
    A source of health
    Breathe in,
    Breathe out
    May I be grateful
    Gratefulness leads to happiness
    Breathe in,
    Breathe out
    May I be transformed
    To be all that I was created to be,
    To embody wisdom
    and love and compassion
    Breathe in,
    Breathe out
    May I be loving and compassionate
    There it is again –
    A noble and worthwhile goal
    Breathe in,
    Breathe out
    May I be mindful through breathing
    Ok, be really still now
    Be calm,
    Don’t think,
    Breathe in,
    Breathe out
    This is nice,
    Off to a good start,
    Breathe in,
    Breathe out
    I’ve got this tonight: Yes!
    Breathe in,
    Breathe out,
    Why is that water
    dripping in the bathroom?
    It always drips!
    BUSTED, says the spy –
    You are thinking –
    Yes, you’re right,
    Breathe in,
    Breathe out
    There we go,
    Breathe in,
    Breathe out
    Tiny thoughts dancing
    Go away! orders the spy –
    Breathe in,
    Breathe out
    Gotta do the laundry –
    WHAT? SERIOUSLY?
    says the spy –
    You went there?
    Sorry, let’s try again –
    Breathe in,
    Breathe out
    Let it all go=
    Wait – even that is a thought!
    Onward we go
    Breathe in,
    breathe out,
    Breathe in,
    breathe out,
    Breathe in,
    Breathe out
    Ahhh – that’s a little better
    Wait – am I still thinking?
    Spy says “I bet Arun could
    do this better –
    Hmmm – I wonder what time it
    is in India?
    STOP, says the spy
    Go to mantra –
    “Come Lord Jesus”
    Breathe in,
    Breathe out
    Feeling calm
    Breathe in,
    Breathe out
    Wait! What? says the spy
    Now you are thinking about
    your upcoming trip?
    Stop!
    Let me be patient
    with myself
    I bet Margaret could do this better –
    Stop comparing and judging
    That is not even like you, says the spy’
    Ok, shhhhh, let’s go
    Breathe in,
    Breathe out
    Breathe in,
    Breathe out
    Breathe in,
    Breathe out
    Ahhhhhh……
    May I be wise through meditation
    Yes!
    I will work on this more
    next week –
    Breathe in,
    Breathe out
    May I be of service to all –
    a formidable goal,
    but so worthwhile
    May I be the bridge,
    May I be the path,
    May I be the healing
    Thank you spy,
    for keeping me on track,
    and showing me the way,
    and so it is

    • nancy.bray@yahoo.com May 26, 2018 at 6:59 pm

      Thank you, Anna 🙂 🙂

  3. susiej@jetbroadband.com May 27, 2018 at 6:31 am

    Again I listened to the video conference from last week and have a couple of observations to add. One of the participants asked a question that indicated she was confused about the interconnectivity and sequence of the different steps (I hope I got that right). I liked the response from Ed which emphasized that the steps are all intertwined and don’t follow a strict, set progression–but at the same time I feel breaking it down into the most essential components is very helpful as a framework to give our practice structure. From my experience it seems that a spiritual practice involves study/practice/reading/contemplation of the different qualities and intentions over time and then returning to the different components in a cyclic pattern again and again. I think of development through a consistent practice as a spiral, in that we keep revisiting the same basic points but each time, as our development progresses, it is on a little higher level. I also like the ISM emphasis on leaving room for individual interpretation and stylistic preference. I expect that comes from my Unitarian background, which embraces the value that finding an authentic spiritual belief system and practice should reflect what resonates with the individual, rather than being set in a dogmatic ideology from an outside source.

    Regarding the samatha practice of watching our breath to stabilize the mind, it is very frustrating at first but I’ve found that over time, as long as I follow a consistent practice, I gradually start to see benefits. I’ve only been practicing insight (vipassana) meditation for about 12 years, but for 27 years I followed a rigorous martial arts practice, which is essentially moving meditation. My teachers would say, “Just keep training and the truth will come to you.” And I see the same dynamic in my meditation practice. One aspect of my meditation practice that I find really encouraging is that even though I may often feel that I’m not doing it very well, as long as I just “keep on truckin” I see the benefits accrue.

  4. nancy.bray@yahoo.com May 28, 2018 at 1:57 pm

    “Just keep training and the truth will come to you” I love that quote from above. I am in training. I know it and this class and the details in Ed’s book reinforce this truth. I cannot read or hear this enough. I believe understanding this will help me to continue in building a daily devotional practice, hopefully for the rest of my life.

    I had an incredible experience in one of my recent meditations. Keeping in mind the caution of not qualifying one more profound than another and not measuring my meditation experiences but to just take my experiences as they come. I love what is said about how there are no
    words for our experience of oneness and connectedness with Source. This rings true for me and there is something great about this being stated.

    That said, I would love to share what happened in my meditation. I was as if a beautiful, young and bright tulip or softer petaled flower. I was playful, secure and content and loved greeting the world with my being. The sky and all around me kept getting brighter emanating rays from the sun until sections of the rays became white light, reaching out toward me and the world. It was so bright and warm that I, in awe, bowed to its omnipresence. My bow it itself was beautiful, a loving bow and one of complete humility. Humility at its purest and I was so grateful to experience this humility. It was this experience of total, complete and loving humility that was so beautiful. As if I had only experienced this level of beauty at this time. Here it is that the words humility and beautiful pale as a description of the experience.

    I have a lot of work to do in developing in my devotional practice and I am sad that we are already at step 6 in our course. That said, I trust the future and the multitude of options that lay before me. I am grateful.

  5. pahutton May 28, 2018 at 3:40 pm

    While focusing on my breath and breathing, I experience spaces and moments of peace and tranquility, although they are short and fleeting.

    I am reminded of the power of the Serenity Prayer to encourage me to “let go”…accept what is..try not to manipulate truth and reality into my own preferences. Let go of what I want to be true and accept what is true and real.

    St. Benedict in his Rule 1500 years ago, told us to “see with the eyes of the heart” and listen with the ears of the heart. Doing that changes my perspective…as does “May I be loving and compassionate”. It results in seeing and experiencing life’s circumstances through a new and different lens. It is a different way of seeing. One that can be cultivated, but is also a gift of the process. That new way of seeing leads to a new way of being.

    “May I be wise” I know that my life’s learnings, lessons and experiences—are the soil from which new shoots of life grow…The seeds are being planted…

    Be still…and let them grow.

    Meditation can be the container in which alchemy can happen. “Flowers can shatter stone”.

    Be available…be open…welcome the new and let go (do not to cling) to old attachments. That’s the process.

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