During the month of February, challenge yourself to participate in MMC’s 28-day meditation program. It’s simple: Commit to meditating each day and connect online to share experiences – pleasant, difficult or otherwise. We will follow the meditation program outlined in Sharon Salzberg’s book, “Real Happiness.” This blog will be your guide, including links to helpful Web sites and guided meditations. Meditation can help with overall wellness, pain, stress, anxiety, sleep and concentration. This is your opportunity to start a new practice to enhance your wellbeing or to continue your practice in the company of your fellow Griffins.

Sign up with the form below and to the right and check back here often.

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Wrapping up Week 2

Congratulations, you've now been practicing meditation for two weeks. Before we move into Week 3, when you will add a fifth day of practice, a few last thoughts on the body techniques learned last week.

Focusing awareness on our bodies last week helped us begin to notice the stuff we "add on" to our direct experience -- our preoccupation with the past, the future, our worries and the long-held assumptions through which we see the world. In choosing to consciously practice mindfulness and come into the present moment, even fleetingly, we begin to shift the balance. We start to be able to gather our attention more frequently and get lost in our automatic-responses less frequently.

Progress is the result of frequency of practice. And, as you've no doubt realized, setting aside 20 minutes for daily practice is one tough habit to develop. As you work on that, it will help to also remember to try to incorporate moments of mindfulness throughout your day. Set the daily intention to be more mindful and you will begin to have flashes throughout your day when you notice you've been lost in thought, arrived at your destination without even realizing you were travelling, suddenly tuned into a conversation you had been oblivious to. Notice that those when you wake up are moments of mindfulness. The second you recognize you had checked out from your own experience is the moment you have checked back in. And that is mindfulness practice: noticing and beginning again.

Here are a couple other things to try:

  • A few times throughout the day, stop what you're doing and become aware of your body. I do this sometimes when I'm waiting for the train. I feel my feet on the platform, my posture, my bag on my shoulder, the air around me, the smells, the sounds, the sights, and maybe notice whether I am having a reaction of some kind - thoughts, feelings?  And that's it, a moment of mindfulness.
  • Drinking your coffee or tea or double mocha frappa-latte or whatever. Tune into the feel of the cup in your hands, use your senses. Notice the intention to lift the cup to your mouth, the feel of the liquid entering your mouth. Feel the sensations of the liquid in your mouth, maybe holding it there briefly before swallowing and noticing what your tongue or lips or throat are doing. Then as you swallow, feeling the liquid moving into your stomach, and maybe noticing the rising of the intention to lift the cup back to your mouth.
  • Choose any everyday activity and bring your full awareness to it. Try slowing it down and noticing it that way. Whatever thought or emotion that arises from paying attention to something so automatic, notice that too. Meet those thoughts and feelings with a gentle acknowledgement: This is what's happening right now, and it's perfectly OK. 

 Today begins Week 3 which will focus on emotions. To the right, in the Real Happiness link, you will find Salzberg's intro to Mindfulness of Emotions and also a guided meditation. These can help you in your practice.

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