• It’s important to be gentle with the mind-when thoughts and emotions arise in the mind during meditation. Once a thought/emotion enters your mind, observe it-making a mental note of it, then gently return to the breath. Practicing ‘basic’ Mindfulness Meditation: Find a quiet and comfortable place. Sit in a chair or on a cusion on the floor with your head, neck and back straight but not stiff. Put aside all thoughts of the past and the future and stay in the present moment. Become aware of your breathing, focusing on the sensation of air moving in and out of your body as you breathe. Feel your belly rise and fall, the air enter your nostrils and leave your mouth. Pay attention to the way each breath changes and is different. Watch every thought come and go, whether it be a worry, fear, anxiety or hope. In mindfulness meditation one is ‘an observer’ of thoughts that arise in the mind during meditation. These thoughts are neither analyzed nor harshly judged but are recognized as they simply are: thoughts and feelings. They are not to be clinged to, for clinging causes suffering. We use the breath as an anchor. What does this mean? When a thought/feeling arises in the mind, we observe it-making a mental note of it, then gently return to the breath. This practice of mindfulness meditation requires patience and through daily practice – patience is cultivated and wisdom is gained. Remember not to be hard on yourself when your thoughts wander; be gentle with the mind, and simply return to the breath.

    Here are two books which may be helpful in your meditation practices:

    *”Mindfulness in Plain English” By: Henepola Gunaratana is an excellent step by step, nuts and bolts, how to manuel on the practice of Mindfulness Meditation. ‘Mindfulness in Plain English’ covers what meditation is, what it isn’t, attitude, the practice, what to do with your body, what to do with your mind, structuring your meditation, set-up exercises, dealing with problems, dealing with distractions, sati or mindfulness, mindfulness vs. concentration and mindfulness in everyday life.

    Here is the website containing the book ‘Mindfulness in Plain English’: http://www.vipassana.com/meditation/

    *Andrew Weiss, who is ordained in both Thich Nhat Hanh’s Order of Interbeing and the White Plum Lineage of the Japanese Soto Zen Tradition has an excellent book on the practice of Mindfulness Meditation called “Beginning Mindfulness: Learning The Way of Awareness” which teaches Mindfulness of Breathing, Walking Meditation, Mindfulness Meditation, Loving-kindness Meditation, Tonglin: The Art of Practicing Compassion, and Mindfulness in Everyday Life.

    ”Mindfulness in Plain English’ and ‘Beginning Mindfulness: Learning the Way of Awareness’ are definately some of the best beginner’s books to use when starting to learn and practice mindfulness meditation.

    As mentioned by P’ang-locating a Buddhist Temple-to find a meditation teacher in your area can also be quite helpful. http://www.buddhanet.net/ can assist you in locating a temple in your area: http://www.buddhanet.info/wbd/

    Metta to all.

  • There are many different Buddhist meditation techniques, but few of them involve achieving a particular state of mind, such as a mind with no thoughts.

    Rather, most techniques direct us to become acquainted with what the mind is actually doing, right now, in this very moment.

    If you don’t have a direct relationship with a teacher, you might consider establishing such a relationship and asking for his/her guidance on this and other matters. There’s no substitute for guidance from someone who has themselves worked through these issues.

    Best wishes on your path!

  • What works for me: it’s called Vipisanna, not that the name matters. I call it “flow-through”. You sit or lay quietly, of course, focus on breathing, then forget about clearing your mind. If you try to close it, you might miss a message you need to hear. What you do is simply pay attention to your thoughts as they arise, welcome them, and let them “flow through” (my term).
    My foot itches “thanks for dropping by”
    I wish I had some apple pie “thanks for dropping by”
    Will it rain tomorrow? “thanks for dropping by”.
    See what I mean? Let the thoughts/images come, thank them, let them go. Over time, you may develop more ability to focus on things you want and less on trivia, but the human mind loves trivia, so do not worry if you don’t. Just be at peace.

  • Think of one thing only, but if you fail, think of it as failure being the stepping stones to success

  • Focus on the rhythm of your breathing, that should keep your mind from having idle thoughts

  • If you find your mind is wandering, try not to scold or beat up on yourself about it. Wandering restlessly is the normal state of the conditioned mind. This is the first lesson many people learn in meditation and it is a valuable one. Simply, gently, invite your attention back to your breath, remembering that you’ve just had a small but precious “awakening.” Becoming aware of your wandering mind is a success, not a failure.

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