Mindfulness Month, Day 29: Walking Meditation

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Today’s mindfulness exercise is to bring focus to your walk. Be sure to go where you can concentrate and take it slow. (It can help to do your workout of choice earlier in the day so you are more relaxed to do this meditation.)

  • Go somewhere beautiful, if possible. Being in nature has a way of of fostering calm and happiness. If going outside is not possible (or feels impossible because it’s ridiculously hot), simply walk inside your home. Slowly. Again the point isn’t to work hard. It’s to be present and notice.
  • As usual, focus on your breathing first. As you begin walking, inhale slowly, then exhale slowly, with your exhale at least as long as your inhale.
  • Allow your shoulders to lower, your neck to relax, and your back to ease. Notice anywhere you’re holding tension and try to let that go.
  • As you walk, bring your awareness to what’s going on internally. Are you stressed? Worried? Going into a thinking loop? If possible, try to let that go, but if that does not feel possible, just notice it.
  • Now look around you. What do you see? Allow yourself to just notice what’s around without necessarily evaluating it.
  • Be conscious of your attention. Walk for as long as you’d like, and as you do, allow your awareness to variously settle on your breath, your internal state, what’s around you. At least a couple times, see if you can hold all that awareness at once.

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Mindfulness Month, Days 26 through Day 28: Choose Your Own

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For the next few days, choose one (or a more) of the six simple mindfulness exercises from this list. Here’s one:

Think of something that happens every day more than once, something you take for granted, like opening a door for example. At the very moment you touch the door knob to open the door, allow yourself to be completely mindful of where you are, how you feel and what you are doing. Similarly, the moment you open your computer to start work, take a moment to appreciate the hands that let you do this, and the brain that will help you use the computer.

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Mindfulness Month, Days 20 Through 25: Alternate Nostril Breathing

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Alternate nostril breathing fosters balance, and if you’re feeling stressed, it definitely helps. Click here to learn how to do it and for a far more detailed explanation.

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Gatsby’s Smile

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Detail from the original cover of The Great Gatsby.

Speaking of beautiful writing

“It was one of those rare smiles with a quality of eternal reassurance in it, that you may come across four or five times in life. It faced—or seemed to face—the whole external world for an instant, and then concentrated on you with an irresistible prejudice in your favor. It understood you just as far as you wanted to be understood, believed in you as you would like to believe in yourself, and assured you that it had precisely the impression of you that, at your best, you hoped to convey. Precisely at that point it vanished—and I was looking at an elegant young roughneck, a year or two over thirty, whose elaborate formality of speech just missed being absurd.”

Related: Beautiful, Strange Passage from Hard-Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World

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Mindfulness Month, Days 16 Through 19: Read Your Favorite Beautiful Writing

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For the next few days, the meditation is to read one or several pieces of your favorite beautiful writing as an act of meditation. The writing can be anything you find soothing, the only guideline is that you read it will full attention. In case you’re at a loss for where to start, I offer the poem below from The Essential Rumi.

ONLY BREATH

Not Christian or Jew or Muslim, not Hindu,
Buddhist, sufi, or zen. Not any religion

or cultural system. I am not from the East
or the West, not out of the ocean or up

from the ground, not natural or ethereal, not
composed of elements at all. I do not exist,

am not an entity in this world or the next,
did not descend from Adam and Eve or any

origin story. My place is placeless, a trace
of the traceless. Neither body or soul.

I belong to the beloved, have seen the two
worlds as one and that one call to and know,

first, last, outer, inner, only that
breath breathing human being.

***

There is a way between voice and presence
where information flows.
In disciplined silence it opens.
With wandering talk it closes.

-Rumi

 
Hope you have a great rest of your week and weekend!

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Mindfulness Month, Day 15: Dignity

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Tonight’s meditation comes from Wherever You Go, There You Are.

Dignity

When we describe the sitting posture, the word that feels the most appropriate is “dignity”….Perhaps we just need little reminders from time to time that we are already dignified, deserving, worthy….So, when we take our seat in meditation and remind ourselves to sit with dignity, we are coming back to our original worthiness.

Try: Sitting with dignity for thirty seconds. Note how you feel. Try it standing with dignity. Where are your shoulders? How is your spine, your head? What would it mean to walk with dignity?

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Mindfulness Month, Day 14: Lake Meditation

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Tonight’s meditation comes verbatim (page 208) from 1,001 Pearls of Yoga Wisdom, a little book that’s packed with illuminating and calming information on yoga, quotations from various works of literature and spiritual texts, meditation, poses, and so on.

Lake Meditation

  • Sit comfortably with your spine upright and close your eyes.
  • Visualize your mind as a deep lake, and view passing thoughts as ripples on the surface of the water.
  • Now dip beneath the surface, to the depths where the water is calm.
  • Breathe in the peace and stillness of these depths.
  • Then open your eyes, in the knowledge that this still place is always inside.

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