Practicing mindfulness has become a popular practice in the West with many organisations jumping on board the mindfulness train in the hope that teaching it to their employees will reduce stress levels and increase productivity. The Buddha also taught mindfulness to his followers with the aim of achieving peace in their minds; however, his goal was to help them reach an everlasting peace and freedom sustained by a mind full of compassion and wisdom.
In this video I briefly explain how the Four Foundations of Mindfulness makes up the practice of Right Mindfulness. In particular, I explore the practical benefits of practicing Right Mindfulness and how it helps us to develop freedom from our thoughts and feelings, to perceive reality with a more open and observant mind and how it is invaluable for increasing meditative concentration which leads to ultimate freedom and liberation. (more…)
In August last year I was invited to be part of a panel of mindfulness experts discussing the topic of mindfulness and intention. The event was organized by The Chopra Well and hosted by Mallika Chopra (daughter of the well-known spiritual teacher, Deepak Chopra). The panel was conducted via Google+ Hangouts. (more…)
When our minds are mindful and aware it can dramatically change the nature of our day and transform our relationship with ourselves, others and the world. Practicing mindfulness helps us reconnect and remove barriers that prevent us from enjoying each moment. Mindfulness brings us back to the present moment, to discover the joy that is already here; we were just too busy to notice it. Below are 10 mindfulness exercises that you can try to bring a touch of mindfulness to your day. These are sure-fire ways of developing mindfulness so you can quickly experience its great benefits. (more…)
As our lives get busier and more frantic, eating has become an activity that we usually do alongside other activities. Be it watching TV, working, answering emails, or thinking about what we need to do next; rarely do we eat our meals with mindfulness and enjoy the flavors of the food. It’s almost as though we don’t consider eating interesting enough that we need to create further excitement by reading the news, checking Twitter or texting. I’m sure we have all experienced getting to the end of the meal and wondering where it all went, or we wish we could have just one more bite to enjoy the flavor of the food.
Another aspect of mindless eating that we are usually guilty of, is looking forward to the next bite instead of savoring the mouthful that is already in our mouth. We’re thinking about how good the next spoonful will be, or worst still, we’re thinking about the delicious dessert we plan to eat after our delicious meal. And this is something we all experience. Our mind always seems to be looking forward to something better in the future, even if the future is just a spoonful of food away.
Eating without mindfulness is what most of us are doing on a daily basis. We ‘hoover’ in the food to satisfy the hunger pains so we can move onto life’s more important tasks. But the practice of mindfulness teaches us that there is nothing more precious than the present moment, so even eating becomes an activity that is worthy of our undivided attention. (more…)
This is an ancient technique that works wonders in our modern world. Not only does it help us to relax, but it brings clarity to our busy mind. The two breathing exercises shown in this video are what are commonly taught when people come to learn meditation as a tool for increasing mindfulness. Mindfulness is a hot topic at the moment and is being taught everywhere from schools to businesses, it’s no longer a practice exclusive to monasteries and temples. People are deriving the great benefits of mindfulness, specifically by practicing mindfulness meditation.
Mindfulness meditation, more commonly known in Buddhism as Shamatha or Calm Abiding Meditation, is a technique practiced across all schools of Buddhism, though it is more favored in the Theravada Buddhist tradition. Regardless of your religion or beliefs, this simple meditation technique focuses entirely on one’s breath and can therefore be practiced by everyone. (more…)
Usually, when we are suffering in some way, we habitually grasp towards things that we know have previously made us feel good. For some of us, the pick-me-up might be eating chocolate, talking to a friend or watching TV. We basically look for anything that will distract us from the unpleasantness that we are experiencing. Many times these techniques can often lift us out of our depression and we can feel mentally balanced, enough to meekly dip our toes back into the world again. However, there are also many times when we continue to feel dissatisfied. Although our chosen forms of escapism may prove effective most of the time, we can see that our ‘infallible pick-me-ups’ aren’t so reliable all of the time.
The reason for this is because objects or activities in themselves have no concrete qualities that are reliable all of the time. For instance, if we are physically sick with a cold and we have an argument with our mother, then grabbing the closest block of chocolate probably won’t send you into bliss, but into wretchedness instead. This is because the chocolate doesn’t have any inherent qualities that make it permanently wonderful. In fact, for dogs, chocolate can be poisonous!
We have to look at what is inside us that makes us want to escape the unpleasant experiences of life? Why are we so afraid to look at the situation, or even challenge it to cause us greater pain? Without having voiced it out loud, we all have a strong inner belief that life should be pleasant, and if it isn’t, then there is something wrong and we need to fix it. However, the Buddha taught in the First Noble Truth, that life is a mixture of pleasant and unpleasant experiences, and that dissatisfaction and unsatisfactory experiences are simply a part of life. So we shouldn’t feel like we’ve failed if things aren’t going so wonderfully. That is just the nature of life. (more…)