Mindfulness Notes for FAB

For a printable .pdf version, click here.

Mindfulness: 2018 FAB Women’s Conference

Thanks to Sheridan College, Sheridan, Wyoming and to Sponsor The Sheridan Press

 

EVALUATE the different techniques for yourself, whether resonate with you (begin with the endgame): “If it feels icky, it probably is.” Click here, here, or, to do it like a river, here for more on tuning up your Body Compass.

Scan your physical self for sensations associated with untruth; unhappiness

NICKNAME: ___________

Scan your physical self for sensations associated with reality; beauty

NICKNAME: ___________

 

HOW to do it

Inside your hands: left, right, both at the same time

“If you are not familiar with ‘inner body’ awareness, close your eyes for a moment and find out if there is life inside your hands. Don’t ask your mind. It will say ‘I can’t feel anything.” Probably it will also say, “Give me something more interesting to think about.” So instead of asking your mind, go to the hands directly. By this I mean become aware of the subtle feeling of aliveness inside them. It is there. You just have to go there with your attention to notice it. You may get a tingling sensation at first, then a feeling of aliveness will intensify. […] Then go to your feet, keep your attention there for a minute or so, and begin to feel your hands and feet at the same time. The incorporate other parts of the body – legs, arms, abdomen, chest, and so on – into that feeling until you are aware of the inner body as a global sense of aliveness.”

~ Eckhardt Tolle, A New Earth

Sharp focus; open focus

“Can I imagine the space inside the distance between my eyes?” (Les Fehmi, The Open Focus Brain; Dissolving Pain)

Expand it… inside your sinuses, throat, heart, whole self… into the space around us and into space

Also check out:

~ Anything that creates flow (I recommend the book Flow by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, who came to Sheridan! Click on his name to read about him and find link to his TED talk)

~ Meditation: headspace.com (There’s a whole section on mindfulness with tips, definition and, of course, meditations. Bonus: you can see how many people are there with you, also meditating at the same time.)

~ Yoga’s Eight Limbs (a kind of map of mindfulness):

Yama – personal practices

Niyama – social observances

Asana – postures, movements

Pranayama – breath control

            Alternate nostril breathing (nadi shodana): Out/in/switch

Pratyahara – withdrawal of senses

Dharana –  concentration (i.e., Aum)

Dhyana – meditation

Samadhi – oneness, bliss

When to do it/how remember: anytime; can establish habits and/or whenever think of it and/or let suffering be a (motivating!) reminder

What do I notice? (Thoughts, images, sensations, emotions, imaginings/daydreams, desires, actions)

…Without judgement or reactivity. With true compassion for ourselves. Not even judging ourselves for judging ourselves! (Tara Brach: check her out)

Who is the one noticing this?

WHY it works

Observer position (heals)

Communication between left pre-frontal cortex—right—amygdala

Gap (and pause)

WHAT it is and is not

Mindfulness is not religious or meditation (though these can be ways into it).

Nor is it self-reflection (this may have a place later, informed by some of what you noticed during mindfulness, but that’s not the goal), rumination, self-absorption, or self-consciousness (seeing self as object). (Personal note: If you find yourself getting stuck in these places, you may find relief from and just enjoy therapy/EMDR. I have/do!)

And of course, we don’t judge ourselves when we do go to any of these places.

 

WHAT FOR: Mindfulness just for Itself

Yes, data in over 4,000 journal articles suggest that mindfulness practices can pull you out of the stress cycle, thereby decreasing stress hormones and increasing all kinds of health parameters as well as concentration, clarity, happiness indicators, and the ability to access creative problem-solving. But really, I think…

The means are the end.

Mindfulness is simply for Itself – that spaciousness, presence, awareness, awakeness, oneness. Stillness… Still while still moving. The mystery of your life – you’re not on autopilot. Curiosity, equanimity. The freedom in your heart. And you know this and do this.

 

~

“… if you are able to enjoy simple things like listening to the sound of the rain or the wind; if you can see the beauty of clouds moving across the sky or be alone at times without feeling lonely or needing the mental stimulus of entertainment; if you find yourself treating a complete stranger with heartfelt kindness without wanting anything from him or her… it means that a space has opened up, no matter how briefly, in the otherwise incessant stream of thinking that is the human mind. When this happens, there is a sense of well-being, of alive peace, even though it may be subtle. […]

Wherever there is beauty, kindness, the recognition of the goodness of the simple things in your life, look for the background to that experience within yourself. But don’t look for it as if you were looking for something. You cannot pin it down and say, “Now I have it,” or grasp it mentally and define it in some way. It is like the cloudless sky. It has no form. It is space; it is stillness, the sweetness of Being and infinitely more than these words, which are only pointers. […]

Many poets and sages throughout the ages have observed that true happiness – I call it the joy of Being – is found in simple, seemingly unremarkable things. Most people, in their restless search for something significant to happen to them, continuously miss the insignificant, which may not be insignificant at all. The phosphor Nietzche, in a rare moment of deep stillness, wrote, ‘For happiness, how little suffices for happiness!… the least thing precisely, the gentlest thing, the lightest thing, a lizard’s rustling, a breath, a wisk, an eye glance – little maketh up the best happiness. Be still.’

Why is it the ‘least thing’ that makes up ‘the best happiness/’ Because true happiness is not caused by the thing or event, although this is how it first appears. The thing or event is so subtle, so unobtrusive, that it takes up only a small part of your consciousness – and the rest is inner space, consciousness itself unobstructed by form. Inner space consciousness and who you are in your essence are one and the same. In other words, the form of little things leaves room for inner space. […] Be still. Look. Listen. Be present.”

~ Eckhardt Tolle, A New Earth

~

“In the midst of winter, I found there was, within me, an invincible summer. And that makes me happy.”

~ Albert Camus

~

Mindful

by Mary Oliver (from Why I Wake Early)

 

Everyday
I see or hear
something
that more or less

kills me
with delight,
that leaves me
like a needle

in the haystack
of light.
It was what I was born for —
to look, to listen,

to lose myself
inside this soft world —
to instruct myself
over and over

in joy,
and acclamation.
Nor am I talking
about the exceptional,

the fearful, the dreadful,
the very extravagant —
but of the ordinary,
the common, the very drab,

the daily presentations.
Oh, good scholar,
I say to myself,
how can you help

but grow wise
with such teachings
as these —
the untrimmable light

of the world,
the ocean’s shine,
the prayers that are made
out of grass?