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How to practice Mindfulness

What is Mindfulness?

“Mindfulness is the awareness that emerges through paying attention on purpose and non-judgmentally to the unfolding of moment to moment experience. We train in mindfulness by establishing an embodied presence and learning to see clearly and feel fully the changing flow of sensations, feelings (pleasantness and unpleasantness), emotions and sounds.

Imagine your awareness as a great wheel. At the hub of the wheel is mindful presence, and from this hub, an infinite number of spokes extend out to the rim. Your attention is conditioned to leave presence, move out along the spokes and affix itself to one part of the rim after another. Plans for dinner segue into a disturbing conversation, a self judgment, a song on the radio, a backache, the feeling of fear. Or your attention gets lost in obsessive thinking circling endlessly around the stories and feelings about what is wrong. If you aren’t connected to the hub, if your attention is trapped out on the rim, you are cut off from your wholeness and living in a trance.

We can never obtain peace in the outer world until we make peace with ourselves.”
Dalai Lama

Training in mindfulness allows us to return to the hub and live our moments with full awareness. It’s through the practice of coming back that we notice when we’ve drifted; become lost in thought, and we bring our attention back to a sensory based presence (the breath meditation) back to the present moment.”  From Tara Brach’s booklet on Meditation

Two wings of  mindfulness:

Two wings of mindfulness leads to liberation...

Just as a bird needs two wings to fly so we also need to learn the two wings to mindfulness in order to free ourselves from suffering. The two wings are are Awareness (clearly seeing what is true in the present moment without judgment) and Compassion/Love (embracing that which is seen with tenderness and acceptance). Compassion and awareness includes acceptance.

Here’s a beautiful poem that illustrates the flow of Mindfulness:

In the tug and pull of desire’s grip
I unravel
Tattered shreds of a once regal robe fall away
Nothing comes….nothing
I ride out the battle
with time and breath
time and breath
time and breath

Acceptance breezes in (crafty sage that she is)
Wraps this heart in sumptuous golden silk
Warms this heart to a trusting stillness, then

Leaves a knowing kiss upon this slowly smoothing brow.

Donna Sherman, “Acceptance”

Why practice Mindfulness?

  • Learn to cultivate clear, stable and nonjudgmental awareness so that you can clearly see what is really happening in the present moment.
  • Pain x Resistance = Suffering.  In life there is pain and then there are the stories, thoughts, opinions, reactions etc. (arrows) that we add to the pain. Learn to notice when you are resisting and adding (2nd, 3rd, 4th, etc. arrows) to the pain that is a natural part of life.
  • To become aware how we are reacting to life instead of responding.
  • To Learn how to be more compassionate towards our  own suffering
  • Heal trauma from the past.
  • Be fully present so that we can tap into the joy and aliveness that live inside of us and in the world.

How do we practice Mindfulness?

Formal Sitting Practice:

Set a time – Morning is often preferred because the mind may be calmer than it is later in the day. However this is not set in stone. The most important thing is that you set a time that you can realistically commit to on a regular basis. Initially for this week you want to start by sitting for 20 minutes. (podcast of the breath meditation is attached to the email)

Set an intention…

Set an intention to stay present (i.e. noticing when you are getting distracted and lost in thoughts, triggered and in reaction mode or defensive, re-hashing the past or worrying about the future) when you get distracted bring your attention back to the breath, body sensations, remember what matters most to you, what draws you to meditation.

Set your posture:

You want to be relaxed with an alert spine. Sitting on a cushion or in a chair is fine; make sure you are comfortable but not so relaxed that you fall asleep. Also important is to bring a sense of openness and receptivity; being open to your experience during meditation without having a set expectation.

Relax and let go…

It’s important that you take time to relax your body by doing a body scan and relaxing any obvious areas of tension that you can soften. On the inhale noticing areas of tension and on the exhale softening those areas. Consciously releasing body tension will help you be open to whatever rises to the surface of your mind during meditation.

Choose a primary anchor…

Develop an anchor that will act as a home base to bring you back to the present moment. Anchors help you quiet and collect the mind and deepen embodied presence. For this week the anchor we’ll be using is the breath.

Using the breath as a primary anchor…

  • Become aware of the breath where it enters and leaves your body
  • Be aware of other physical changes during breathing (i.e. the rise and fall of the chest, the abdomen, the feel of the breath on the upper lip)

Informal practice:

Take moments throughout the day to practice being with the breath, bring calmness to the body and awareness to what’s present (i.e. feelings, reactivity, sensations, stories, etc.) If there’s judgment present, reactivity is also present and the formation of a story going on. The stories are usually about sensing that there is something is wrong, something wrong with me, with the other person, with the situation. So it’s not that you stop making decisions, it’s that you first look at what’s happening, notice If you are judging yourself, notice if there is resistance present (I should be able to handle this, I should be a better person). Bring compassion into the space to ease your suffering (an example of bringing compassion towards yourself is how would you soothe a child that is feeling alone, sad, angry) Once you take these steps notice how you feel and then choose how you want to respond…it won’t be a knee jerk reaction. You’ll have practiced self-care which means you won’t feel as if you were just beat up by yourself or a victim to life.

Most Important to remember…

Mindfulness is about “arriving back home” and getting distracted is natural as our minds are wired to generate thoughts. The practice of mindfulness is learning how to train the mind to stay in the present moment so that you can be aware of everything that is happening in the here and now and then choose the healthiest way to respond to life’s joys and challenges.

Most of all please be patient, be patient, be patient… This is not about doing it perfectly it’s learning how to let go of striving and just be with what is happening in the moment just as it is…

May you be free from suffering


May you touch peace

May you be joyful

Please let me know if you have questions.

Speak Your Mind


1500 Gateway Blvd, Suite 220
Boynton Beach, FL 33426
(954) 793-6442

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