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Mindfulness exercise for the day

Kerome

Kerome

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I just wanted to share this mindfulness exercise which came to me today, which I practiced for about 20 minutes and which did me a lot of good.

I was listening to Osho's lecture series The Art of Dying #8, where he talks about "moving your consciousness into the container" and that he was like a book where all he was had moved into the book, and the content was gone. This inspired me to try the following.

I laid back on my couch, while still listening to the lecture, and moved myself out to the skin of my body, the edges of my senses. I usually have very good awareness of the inside of my body, and this time I did the exact opposite, vacating the centre and moving to the edges, and then expanded myself as much as possible.

It was beautiful, a very peaceful sensation came over me. I kept the focus on my outside, and a whole range of funny sensations I'd been having over the last few days just disappeared.
 
Gajolene

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Excellent thread idea, I find when my therapists go through these mindfullness exercises with me I get all gung ho about it and keep it up a few weeks then things just get in the way and I forget or don't disipline myself enough to keep up with it, or I get bored with doing the same exercise over and over again. This thread can serve as a good reminder to keep up with the exercises and to keep feeling the benefits from them, and give us new things to try Thanks Kerome:)
 
Kerome

Kerome

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Here is a classic exercise for today: Check your watch and note the time. For the next 60 seconds your task is to focus all your attention on your breathing. Watch your breath going in, and then going out. It’s just for one minute, but it can seem like an eternity. Leave your eyes open just a little and breathe normally. Be ready to catch your mind from wandering off (because it will) and just return your attention to your breath when you become aware it has wandered.

This mindfulness exercise is far more powerful than most people give it credit for. It takes some people many years of practice before they are able to complete a single minute of alert, clear attention.

Keep in mind that this mindfulness exercise is not a contest or a personal challenge. You can’t fail at this exercise, you can only experience it.
 
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fair&square75

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Ty Kerome �� I am trying mindfulness so this is very helpful
 
Kerome

Kerome

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I thought I'd share an exercise today called mindful observation. This requires something to observe, so maybe during a walk today you could pick a small plant - something with a stem, a few leaves and maybe a few flowers.

When you get home, prepare your space, maybe placing a cushion so you can sit with your back to the wall. Take a few moments to reach inner silence. Then sit with your eyes open, and observe the plant silently for a minute. Try and take in as many individual features of the plant as you can - how many branches come off its stem? Are there little knobs at the branches? Examine each leaf, each flower. Note the colours and how they change across the leaves and stem. Turn it in your hand and observe it from each direction. Is it translucent anywhere? Try and let the plant have your full attention for a minute.

The nice thing about this exercise is it can be done as many times as you like with different plants over a number of days, which helps keep the attention and avoid boredom. As a memory exercise afterwards you can try to write down as many individual facts about the plant as you can remember.
 
Kerome

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I haven't posted these daily, it's more turning into an "occasional mindfulness exercise" thread, but I don't think it matters as long as people continue to enjoy them.

Today lets try a body awareness exercise. This is best done lieing down, so make yourself comfortable maybe on the sofa or on a bed. Take a few moments to steady your breathing and come to rest. Then gently start moving your awareness around your body. Your face, your neck, your left shoulder, your chest. Feel each part in turn, trying not to leave anything out. At each location, feel the sensations coming from there - perhaps a sore shoulder, or a cramping muscle, or just a general happiness, all is well kind of feeling. Leave nothing out, each sensation is deserving. The goal is awareness, taking each sensation in turn, feeling it and then letting it pass, and moving on.

Many people find this exercise very relaxing, so beware of the attention wandering as you do it. It is also often done before sleep, as a way of preparing for the nights rest.
 
Kerome

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For today, I thought we'd try something a little more advanced, which I'd call gently holding the senses. It's a little different from the other exercises, because it doesn't have a sharp focus, like for example the mindful observation exercise. We are going to do sight and sound.

This is best done sitting up, so grab your cushion or clear space on the couch. Sit, relax, take a few moments to gather yourself and clear your mind. Now become aware of your eyes, and your sight. Feel the tension in the focus of your eyes, between sharp focus and looking at an area. Try to be aware of seeing as much as possible. Now bring your awareness to your ears, and listen to the dominant sounds, and the sounds that are hiding behind them. Try to hold onto that heightened awareness. Then, try to be aware of sight and sound together. Gently hold that awareness for a minute and become conscious of your jumping attention shifting your focus. Feel each jump, slowly note it, and move on, staying relaxed.

You can do similar exercises with your other senses, like trying combining taste and touch, or smell and hearing. They vary a little in difficulty, some people find some things more difficult, but generally "richer" senses like hearing are more tricky to bring to full awareness, while smell is easier.
 

cpuusage

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"Do you have the patience to wait
Till the mud settles and the water is clear?
Can you remain unmoving
Till the right action arises by itself?"

- Tao Te Ching
 
Kerome

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I thought I'd share a small trick I learned a few days ago, which has to do with mindfully moving and holding the attention. I call it finding silence in the body, and it should be especially useful for those who regularly deal with noise in the senses, like twitches, shakes or gravel like sensations or tinnitus.

Again this is best done as a sitting exercise, so find a cushion and put it so you can sit comfortably with your back straight against a wall, or even just make room on the sofa. Take a few seconds to focus on your breathing and let the mind clear itself. Then gently feel your body, and feel where your body is busy, often the face, the hair, the chest, the feet. Note the rushing of blood, little twitches, pulses and so on. Then look at where your body is quiet, often the hands for instance. Really feel how quiet that part of the body is, appreciate the silence. Try to hold onto that feeling for a minute, watching for the mind to wander, then bringing it back again.

Most of our senses contain some noise, and it can be very refreshing and reassuring to find a point of silence. You can look through your other senses to see if you can find other places of quiet, like feeling the hands.
 
Kerome

Kerome

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Today we're doing an exercise called feeling the air. It's really simple, you can do it anywhere, although it's best if you have some exposed skin, perhaps wearing short sleeves.

This exercise is best done sitting, so perhaps find a spot where you can sit comfortably, in the summer it works well outside if there is a bit of a breeze. Take a few seconds to focus on your breathing and come to rest within yourself, let your mind slow down and clear itself. Then focus your attention on your exposed skin. Feel the current of the air moving across your skin, allow your attention to track it. Stay there, gently observing the play of the air on your skin. Observe as your mind wanders, bring it back to the sensation of the air on your skin.

This exercise can be vaguely hypnotic, so that is something to be aware of. A light trance state is not an impediment to mindfulness, but what we are striving for is a clean, clear awareness which has a fluid quality of alertness and being in the moment, not being sunk in a trance. If you find yourself in a trance, move your point of attention until you feel alert again.
 
Kerome

Kerome

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It's interesting all the things people use mindfulness for, it seems to have become a kind of "meditation lite" for the masses, without the spiritual baggage that the word "meditation" brings. In a way I find it a good thing that a lot of these techniques from places like Buddhism are making their way into the mainstream, after all it is about knowing your own body and mind, which is every humans' birthright.

What is mindfulness?

Mindfulness is the act of being intensely aware of what you're sensing and feeling at every moment — without interpretation or judgment.

Spending too much time planning, problem-solving, daydreaming, or thinking negative or random thoughts can be draining. It can also make you more likely to experience stress, anxiety and symptoms of depression. Practicing mindfulness exercises, on the other hand, can help you direct your attention away from this kind of thinking and engage with the world around you.

What are the benefits of mindfulness exercises?

Practicing mindfulness exercises can have many possible benefits, including:

Reduced stress, anxiety and depression
Less negative thinking and distraction
Improved mood
 
Kerome

Kerome

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Today we're going to do something called the "I exercise", which isn't strictly speaking a sensory mindfulness exercise, but it's an interesting one for becoming a little more aware of how the mind works.

This is an exercise which you do throughout the day, so there is no need for a cushion or sitting today. The idea is to set up a little alarm bell in your mind, which is going to ring every time you say or think 'I'. Just come to a stop for a moment each time it rings and take note. The idea is to become aware of how self centred we are, by noting how much we focus on ourselves. It may take a little practice, and you may find it hard to do consistently at first, but with a certain loosely held focus you will find it becoming easier as you go through the day. It will come and go in waves, don't worry about that, and don't try to force it.

You may find yourself surprised how self centred you are... Or not, as the case may be. Self centredness is generally a sign of a more ego-based nature, while getting a little distance from your ego will allow you to more easily build qualities such as empathy and compassion.
 
Kerome

Kerome

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For today I've found something called the "melting exercise" which is an imagination-led exercise. I've seen it called mindfulness, although personally I think it straddles the line with other forms of meditation because it isn't only about awareness. It can be pretty interesting though, and can give some very distinct sensations.

This exercise is best done while lying down, so perhaps you could lie on your bed or on the sofa. You close your eyes, and start looking through your body for places that feel hard or tight. Start with the head. When you find such a place, imagine that it is slowly melting into a warm, sloppy goo. It may soften or lighten, and when it does so, move on to the next place. Slowly work your way through the body, addressing all places of hardness, tightness or irritation. Pay attention to your emotions as you proceed. You should start to feel very light and mellow. Just stay in that space for a while, enjoying it.

Some people have reported a feeling of oneness with the universe while doing this exercise, others have difficulty with just getting one piece of hardness to "melt". It's a good exercise to do before going to sleep, as well.
 
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