All posts by Thad Settle

Why is full awareness important?

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…Mindfulness trains us to do everything we do with full awareness.

…Why is full awareness important? As anyone who tries mindfulness practice quickly discovers, the more aware we are of our actions and of the feelings, thoughts, and perceptions that give rise to them, the more insight we have into why we are doing what we are doing. Awareness allows us to see whether our actions spring from beneficial or harmful impulses. Beneficial motivations include generosity, friendliness, compassion, and wisdom; harmful actions are caused primarily by greed, hatred, and delusion. When we are mindful of the deep roots from which our thoughts, words, and deeds grow, we have the opportunity to cultivate those that are beneficial and weed out those that are harmful.

The Buddha is very clear that the primary aim of all his teachings is the “end of suffering”. Mindfulness helps us to recognize that beneficial actions bring peace of mind and happiness to our everyday lives. …

Bhante Henepola Gunaratana  –  The 4 Foundations of Mindfulness.

 

Our Goal

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As meditators, we must all have a goal,for if we do not, and blindly follow somebody’s instructions on meditation, we will simply be groping in the dark.There must certainly be a goal for whatever we do consciously and willingly. It is not the vipassana meditator’s goal to become enlightened before other people or to have more power or make more profit than others. Meditators are not in competition with each other for mindfulness.

Our goal is to reach the perfection of all the noble and wholesome qualities latent in our subconscious mind.This goal has five elements to it : purification of mind, overcoming sorrow and lamentation, overcoming pain and grief, treading the right path leading to attainment of eternal peace, and attaining happiness by following that path. Keeping this fivefold goal in mind, we can advance with hope and confidence.”

Bhante Henepola Gunaratana- Mindfulness in Plain English

How to do what we do

Sitting Quietly

This is the most important meditation practice.
It is the classroom for living
a wise and kind life.

Sit anywhere and be quiet:
On a couch, a bed, a bench, inside, outside,
Leaning against a tree, by a lake, at the ocean,
In a garden, on an airplane, in your office chair,
on the floor, in your car.
Meditation cushions are okay too.

Sit at any time: morning, night,
One minute, three years.

Wear what you’ve got on.
Loosen your waist so that
Your belly can move with your breath.

Sit as relaxed as possible.
Relax your muscles
When starting and during sitting.

Sit with your back straight but not stiff.
Keep your head upright with your ears level.

Respect all medical conditions.
Only take a posture you can.
All postures are okay.

Do what you can do.

Keep your eyes slightly opened and out of focus.
Closing them will make you sleepy and sometimes
busy.
Opening them wide will keep you busy.

Breathe naturally through your nose.
Enjoy breathing.
Feel your breath.
Watch your breath.
Become your breath.

Be like a cat purring.
Follow your breath like ocean waves
coming in and out.

When you get distracted,
Come back to the simplest
And most basic experience of being alive,
your breathing.

That’s it.
No belief.
No program.
No dogma.

You do not have to be a Buddhist.
You can be of any faith, religion,
race, nationality, gender,
relationship status, or capacity.

Just sit quietly,
connect with your breath,
and pay attention
to what happens.
You will learn things.

Do it when you want.
You decide how much is enough for you.
If you do it daily, it will get into your bones.

Please enjoy sitting quietly!

The only way to learn sitting quietly is to do it.

~ byTai Sheridan

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Reprinted from

“Buddha in Blue Jeans: An Extremely Short Simple Zen Guide to Sitting Quietly and Being Buddha,”

by Tai Sheridan