Week 3: Challenges To Our Mindfulness Practice
This week we began the session with a reminder of the essence of mindfulness. Mark Williams tells us that "Mindfulness is a very simple form of meditation that was little known in the West until recently. A typical meditation consists of focusing your full attention on your breath as it flows in and out of your body. Focusing on each breath in this way allows you to observe your thoughts as they arise in your mind and, little by little, to let go of struggling with them. You come to realise that thoughts come and go of their own accord; that you are not your thoughts. You can watch as they appear in your mind, seemingly from thin air, and watch again as they disappear, like a soap bubble bursting. You come to the profound understanding that thoughts and feelings (including negative ones) are transient. They come and they go, and ultimately, you have a choice about whether to act on them or not."
When we start to practise mindfulness, it's normal to experience a host of different challenges, some of those we examined in the session. It's also entirely normal to have a range of different responses and experiences every time we sit to practise.
Our self-compassion this week included a RAIN meditation. You can listen to Tara Brach’s recording of this practice here. We also followed a ‘Ground, Settle, Soothe’ meditation which I have included in this week’s links.
For those of you would like to find out more, please have a look at the Mindfulness Plus section below. I have also attached a selection of Mark Williams' meditations - a "go-to" favourite of mine and a walking meditation by Jon Kabat-Zinn.
Audio: Mark Williams’ Meditations: http://franticworld.com/free-meditations-from-mindfulness/
Audio and Article: 10-Minute Practice to Ground, Breathe, Soothe: https://www.mindful.org/10-minute-meditation-to-ground-breathe-soothe/
Audio: A Guided Walking Meditation to Savour the Day by Jon Kabat-Zinn: https://www.mindful.org/walking-meditation/
Article: How to Sit In Meditation For Beginners: https://www.mindful.org/how-to-sit-in-meditation-for-beginners/
Article: Overcome These Five Common Challenges to Meditation by Bob Stahl and Steve Flowers: https://www.mindful.org/overcome-these-five-common-obstacles-to-meditation/
This Week's Poem: The Washing by Jaan Kaplinski
The washing never gets done.
The furnace never gets heated.
Books never get read.
Life is never completed.
Life is like a ball which one must continually
catch and hit so it won't fall.
When the fence is repaired at one end,
it collapses on the other. The roof leaks,
the kitchen door won't close, there are cracks in the foundation,
the torn knees of children's pants …
One can't keep everything in mind. The wonder is
that beside all this one can notice
the spring which is so full of everything
continuing in all directions - into the evening clouds,
into the redwing's song and into every
drop of dew on every blade of grass in the meadow,
as far as the eye can see, into the dusk.
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