Mindfulness Just a Breath Away

2 Comments April 23, 2007 / Posted in Breathe

What we are talking about is very practical. Mindfulness practice is simple and completely feasible. And because we are working with the mind that experiences life directly, just by sitting and doing nothing, we are doing a tremendous amount
Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche

A way to calm the mind when it is rushing in many directions is to focus on one’s breath.
“I am breathing in.” I become aware of the breath I am breathing in.
“I am breathing out.” I am aware of my breath as I breathe out.

It’s interesting that while I have only this moment in which to be aware, I find my mind racing from thought to thought; from past to future; from concern to worry; from tasks undone to things to be done. With those thoughts I am no longer in my present moment. My thoughts now control me.

From this moment, from this center, from this breath I can quiet myself. From that quiet space, I can move forward into the next moment. Being present, being in the moment, observing my breath, brings me back to “I am breathing in” as I breathe in; and “I am breathing out” as I breathe out.

For 10 minutes in the morning and 10 minutes in the evening, I am exercising my mind. I am working my mind.

Throughout the day, if I focus on breathe for 30 seconds or 60 seconds. If I focus on my breathe for 4 or 5 cycles of breathing in and breathing out, I can calm my mind. I can become much more aware of what I am doing with intention and attention.

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  1. Randy said on June 20th, 2007 at 8:31 pm

    I’m an avid cyclist and my expressed intention before each morning trip is to be mindful of the presence of God, or the here and now. I often use my breath, or a short phrase or pray to assist in bringing my awarness to the present, which is, I believe, God. On one particular ride I became very aware of the sound of birds on each side of the road as I peddled along. I’m not able to identify various species of birds by their chirps, so I only heard their sounds…each very different from the next of course, but when it comes to identifying birds I can barely recongize the difference between a crow and robbin (I exaggrated a bit there). I endeavoured, on this occasion, to place my mindfulness on these sounds for the entire trip – when my mind wandered I would gently be reminded of here and now, the present, God, by the songs of birds. It was pretty cool. For 19 kms through the mountains of where I live, not once was I unable to hear birds.

    I suspect there are many levels of learning in this mindfulness exercise, my learning that day was centred around the here and now, or God, not as a steady state, but as a dynamic, shifting, fading, peircing, faint, and engaging presence.

  2. Jutta Saanila said on June 23rd, 2007 at 5:36 am

    I am very eager to find this 10 minutes in the morning and evening for exercise. I have three small children, one is a baby-girl, who wakes me up early in the morning. She´s so qute and alive that when I begin my day holding her in my arms those 10 minutes I find something precious. I can´t concentrate on breathing at the same time.
    Sometimes during the day I find it very important to breathe mindfully. When my older daughter is very anxious about what to do next, I get easily angry. Then I use to breathe first some time before saying anything. And often I don´t have to say anything anymore. I accept her feelings and life goes on without me getting angry and her getting sad.

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