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Change and Three Minutes Mindfulness Breathing Space. Skills Notes 13. Breathing Space One of the resources that can be found amongst the audio meditations is the “Three Minute Breathing Space”. The recording is slightly longer which does emphasise the amount of time using this form of 3 minutes short meditation can vary according to what is needed by you and what is sensed from within the situation that is currently being experienced. It is soon discovered that as being Mindful becomes more of a way of life, taken on consciously, moment by moment, not just as an activity of twenty minutes each day, that quick “top-ups” can be helpful. A three-minute Breathing Space, taken three times a day, as and when possible, or needed, will assist in revealing the wisdom in every moment with which we are involved. Therefore, in this package, there is guidance about developing a regular Breathing Space, or three, at least, every day, that will enhance our relationship with all that we are concerned. Being mindful means that we are “aware” and more able to see what is really happening as we turn our focus in a chosen direction. To thread a needle, we focus on the needle, and the thread so that it passes through the eye of the needle. If we are reading a book, then our focus narrows onto the words and the way they connect so that we understand what the communication is meant to convey. We breathe all the time. Most of the time we are not aware of the in and the out. When breathing mindfully we remain aware of the breath, in and out, and we not only know we are alive, but it is just in this moment. To be mindful is a deliberate act. To be mindful has the consequence of knowing more clearly what is happening and thus allowing for changes in direction that are “Selected”, “Informed” and “Responses”, rather than “Reactions” arising from fear, ignorance, habit, greed, hatred or misunderstanding. Another point I wish emphasise is that this should be completed at least three-times a day and also when required along with the full twenty minutes meditation. Suffering Anyone who turns their hand to meditation, and mindfulness, will have personal reasons they wish to give it a try. I would like to hone the reasons down to one word and that is: S U F F E R I N G. One way, or another, everyone has a sense of suffering in their experience and it is an experience that they will wish to change. I would wish to suggest that it is the sense of suffering that drives people to a religion, or the religion may apparently be a source of their suffering. Mindfulness and meditation is also very successfully used for the management of pain whether ongoing or arising from an immediate source. https://www.breathworks-mindfulness.org.uk/ Very often, when some suffering is experienced, there is a sense that it is something, someone, or whatever, that is the cause of how we feel. All that is felt is generated in the mind and so working with the mind will always be helpful. The perception of suffering can be changed by being mindful, and aware, and by making the choices to change which are informed by what it is we are aware. When there is change, or at the very least an accepting of our own experience, then the quality of the “suffering” will change, healing will start to happen, and coping will bring about easing. Both medical physicians, and counsellors, have suggested that those who meditate and work to develop their awareness often improve more rapidly after a medical intervention or during counselling. Evidence of this is elsewhere. Reaction. Running the risk of being over-simplistic one of the ways to bring about change is to avoid the all too familiar “Reaction” that is the familiar way of trying to wade forward. Mindfulness, and awareness, gives the space to stop, look and make the most appropriate choices, change the way of thinking or whatever is required to assist in the alleviation of the suffering in whatever way it is perceived. Whilst being mindfully aware sense what is happening and what is causing the discomfort that we call “suffering”. In the mindful mode get a better idea about what the reality is that is sensed. Accept, Allow and Let go. Breathe in – like it or not Accept the reality of the experience and Allow it to be with you. That means not chasing it away, looking for alternatives or making any change. Breathe out and imagine that whatever the cause of the suffering may be it is changing and leaving you on your out breath. The power of imagination, in many ways, including this, is great and should be worked with. Continue this way of working until you can choose an action that will be a Response, a measured Response, and a Response that will not increase the suffering. Working in these kind of ways does help in changing experience. They also illuminate the practical aspects of meditation, mindfulness, and awareness. It should be noted that all of these possibilities evolve from a development of skills in meditation and awareness, and that they take time to evolve as well as regular practice. None of this happens in terms of meditation, mindfulness, and awareness outside of our real-time experience, moment by moment. Therefore, Breathing Space, along with the other forms of meditation, does change what we experience, and what we can know ever more effectively, given regular meditation activity and application. Mindfulness is a way of life. Mindfulness is a way of life that we have chosen to develop if we are to take the road of clarity, and change, through meditation all the way. When meditating you will feel good, the thinking will become clearer and there will be an inner sense of peace and relaxation. This can become part of your wider day-to-day experience. Reminders. Remembering to be mindful you can use mindful reminders (notes to self-etc), starting to try and be mindful when the phone rings having a moment before answering,, or some other regular event, can help trip you into being mindful in the moment. When doing something that is routine switch to doing it mindfully, try mindfulness as soon as you wake up, deliberately let your thoughts wander and then become mindful, try waiting in a queue (traffic lights, supermarket, post office, chemist, anywhere) to let yourself be mindful, The Body is the Way In. We know that we know through the body. It is in the body that all sensations are felt. It is in the body that all feelings are felt. It is in the body emotions are felt. It is in the body we know the directions that the mind is taking. It is in the body we know how things are and can realise that everything is impermanent. In the body we can feel what it means to be selfless. In the body we can be aware and have the sense of mental objects that flow from their root of the mind into the body. Mindfulness of the mind is being aware of our consciousness alongside thinking and feeling as experienced in the body. By working to develop being mindful we will better appreciate the processes of the mind so that we can better accept things as they are and change what is required to be changed. Time taken for daily meditation is helping to tune, and develop, the mind. It is also the main time that we know how our body is responding. In this way we can work in the overcoming of the harm that can arise out of letting moments that are undesirable slide by unannounced. Intentions and Goals In many work environments there is a “Goal Setting” mentality to keep what is happening on track and to improve results. Even our “To Do” lists, in other spheres, is much the same. There is some question concerning the setting of goals as a failed goal can be a source of suffering. The alternative may be that the following list could be a series of “Intentions”, with the idea of “I would like to …..” or even call them a “road map” for what it is you would like to develop. Use these ideas as “Stepping Off” steps to formulate your own intentions for change and working with suffering. Intentions remain in place and are less likely to increase suffering as we wait for the fulfilment of the Intention. Discover ways to be aware of how I am thinking and not be attracted to those drifting thoughts. What you sense as your view on a situation will always have alternatives. Sense when your body tells you “I am tense” and learn to relax (Breathing and the 3 Minute Breathing Space, or Body Scan all help). Sense, in your body tensions that are arising from stress and decide to make changes that will be most helpful to you. Appreciate that not all your thoughts are true that you are not your thoughts and even your thoughts are constantly changing. Sense, in your body, when emotions are all over the place, and upset, and learn how to be calm. Remember, you are not your emotions! Look out for the smaller things in life and enjoy them appropriately. When a pleasant event is around enjoy it. Apply the idea of “Accept, Allow and Let go” when unpleasant thoughts and feelings become conscious. Look out to sense when a “Reaction” is about to start. When you realise you are Reacting stop, breathe, consider, and Intend a “Response”. When something feels negative, whether internally, or externally, breathe and do not React but discover a Response which is more positive. Even when situations, or the next step, seem difficult look for the positive aspects to it. All and any challenges will help us to grow stronger. Even in the most difficult circumstances there will be the pleasant to be appreciated. If this is the direction you wish to take in life, and it looks like it, if you have come this far: 1. Go work at it. 2. Meditate every day around the same time for the time that best suits you and not just your schedule. 3. You might discover you are going slightly slower at most things. That is OK. Enjoy it. 4. Be amazed by water wherever it may be found. When possible enjoy rain and the thunder when it is sensed. 5. Enjoy all the aspects of a mindful walk in a quiet, beautiful, place. 6. Focus on what it is that you are doing – like reading this. 7. Develop more of a sense of gratitude. 8. Connect more closely with the sounds to be heard, the sights (especially beautiful ones) to be seen, the odours to which you noise can respond, the tastes and the touch of what is good for you. 9. Seek what is beautiful now. 10. Set a notification, with your phone, use other means, for a stop, and a Breathing Space. Be mindful in this moment. 11. Especially when you become aware of something special take five breaths appreciating each full breath. 12. On as many occasions as possible say something sincerely and really nice to people especially if they are not well known to you. 13. Try and manage external noise and enjoy the natural and composed music of life. 14. Turn off the phone often. 15. Be aware of what you are eating and select what is good for you and not just indulgent. 16. Breathe, become mindful, and aware, with your eyes closed as you take a shower to appreciate all aspects of what it is that you are doing. 17. Delete what is a distraction. 18. Enjoy being engrossed in what you read whether it be facts, fiction or comic books. 19. Set lots of “Intentions” telling yourself what you are going to do in this present moment. 20. Take a Breathing Space.
Be Mindfully Aware
A programme of guided audio meditation, supporting notes and guides to learn and encourage a daily programme of meditation.
Why we need to keep being reminded about mindfulness? John Teasdale, recently retired, was one of the leading mindfulness researchers. Teasdale explains, "Mindfulness is a habit, it's something the more one does, the more likely one is to be in that mode with less and less effort... it's a skill that can be learned. It's accessing something we already have. Mindfulness isn't difficult. What's difficult is to remember to be mindful." Mindfulness isn't difficult: the hard part is remembering to do it.
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