Mindfulness

It is a calm abiding practice meant to tame one’s mind. In everyday life, we are bombarded with an excessive amount of mental stimulation through electronics such as television, cell phones, and computers. This can be overwhelming to the mind in a fast-paced society where one may have a job, a marriage and a family to support. The overabundance of mental stimulus becomes taxing on the mind resulting on one being “mentally drained.” This creates a situation in which we are not able to concentrate or think clearly. This leads to emotional and mental imbalances.

The nature of the mind is akin to water. It is very receptive and absorptive and flows in the direction it is guided. Because of this, the mind being like water can be contaminated and become dirty over time. The mental “dirt” we accumulate in our minds begins to build to such a point that we have no control over our minds and we are seemingly stuck and unable to free ourselves. Another way of looking at it is that the dirtier the water of our minds becomes, the less we are able to perceive clearly what is going on around us. We, therefore, become confused and emotionally struggle throughout daily life. By practicing meditation, we can consciously work on cleansing the muddied waters of our minds and empower ourselves so we no longer are victims to external stimuli. Instead, we can put our efforts towards achieving total balance, health, and happiness.

1) Choose a sattva or posture
Begin by assuming one of the postures displayed in the illustration. Pick one that is most comfortable to you such as the sitting lotus posture with your feet crossed, or sitting on the edge of a chair or the bed with your feet firmly planted. Lying down should be avoided. Next, you can fold your hands and place them in your lap or place your palms on the knees. While doing so, keep the back straight and the chin slightly tucked in and the tongue placed at the roof of the mouth.

2) Keeping body erect and back straight.
By straightening the spine, this allows the spiritual energies to align. (If this is uncomfortable at first it will strengthen the back muscles and in time it will get easier.)

3) Thumbs touching the base joint of the ring fingers.
Fold the four fingers over the thumb and rest both hands face down on your thighs or knees. This is a mudra or hand posture meant to retain the “wind” which aids in taming the mind. (see glossary for definition of mudra and wind)

4) Tucking in the buttocks and tightening the anal sphincter.
By tucking in the buttocks, this helps align the spine and by tightening the anal sphincter, this encourages spiritual energies to activate.

5) Tongue at the roof of the mouth
By touching the tongue to the roof of the mouth, this helps align energies between the mind and heart. When the heart is clear, so is the mind. When the mind is cleared, the heart is clear. The connection between the heart and the mind creates inward harmony.

6) Pull the chin back slightly, further aiding the alignment of spiritual energies in the spine.

7) Make an effort not to engage with any thoughts or images that may arise and simply be the witness. If this becomes too difficult and you are getting swept away, you can place your attention back onto the breath and count up to twenty-one breaths.

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