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A SIMPLE FORM OF MINDFULNESS SITTING MEDITATION                                   By Dr Ian Ellis-JonesMindfulness is simp...
the now. (Remember and practise the ‘law of non-resistance’: ‘Whatever you resist,       persists’.) Don’t try to actively...
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Copyright 2012 Ellis-Jones Enterprises Pty Limited. All Rights Reserved.

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  1. 1. A SIMPLE FORM OF MINDFULNESS SITTING MEDITATION By Dr Ian Ellis-JonesMindfulness is simply the presence of a calm, alert, steady, open, deliberate, ‘curious’ butchoiceless (that is, accepting, non-judgmental and imperturbable) awareness of, and bareattention to, the action of the present moment---that is, one’s body, body functions andsensations, the content of one’s consciousness (thoughts, feelings, images, memories, etc) andconsciousness itself. Mindfulness is not just awareness; it is awareness of awareness.Although most, if not all, mindfulness instructors and practitioners advocate some individual,personalised tuition and guidance in the beginning---for very good (and not self-serving)reasons---what follows is a very simple or basic form of mindfulness sitting meditation for use athome, in the office ... or anywhere for that matter. Sit up in a chair (alternatively, sit on the floor Burmese style, cross-legged, or in a half- lotus or full lotus position) … straight back … feet flat on the floor (if seated on a chair). Gently hold your hands in your lap or lay your palms up (or down) on your thighs. Feel, without any resistance, the weight of your body on the chair or floor. Close your eyes lightly, and take several deep cleansing breaths. Turn your mind ‘inwardly’ and silently. Start breathing in an even pattern, and continue this pattern throughout the period of your meditation. Let your breath go slow and deep---right into the centre of your being. Let your awareness gradually fill your body. Notice where your breath is most vivid. Be mindful of and follow the rise/expansion and fall/contraction of your lower abdomen. Alternatively, you may wish to be mindful of the ‘point of touch’ of the breath (as described below). I find that works best for me---a mouth breather---is to fix my attention on the upper lip as the ‘point of touch’ against which the breathing air strikes. Many others fix their attention on the nostril tip as the relevant ‘point of touch’. Whatever you do, it is strongly suggested that you do not follow the breath---that is, the so-called ‘breath-body’---on its way down the body and back again, nor count the ‘entrances’ and ‘exits’, nor take note of the ‘area of touch’ of the breath. Your awareness should only be of the sensation of touch of breath at the relevant ‘point of touch’. Whatever is your ‘point of touch’, that is your ‘anchor’ for meditation. Your anchor helps you to remain fixed and focused in, and to be mindful of, the moment at times when things arise in consciousness that might otherwise deflect you. We need an anchor because we can’t---or at least don’t want to---focus our mind on every changing moment without a certain degree of concentration to keep pace with the moment. Please keep in mind that mindfulness meditation is not a breathing meditation per se. The breath as an anchor for meditation arises naturally in the mind. We are talking about mindfulness with breathing as opposed to mindfulness of breathing. Buddhists refer to this as ‘right mindfulness’. Keep your mindfulness at its post of observation---that is, choiceless awareness and bare attention---even if, as will ordinarily be the case, you are aware (mindful) to a variable extent of the breaths passage through the body. Do not follow the journey of the breath through the body. Just give the latter bare attention at most. That means you should never anticipate sensation nor reflect upon it. Be with the moment. Be and remain embodied in the moment. Whenever a body sensation, sense perception, thought, feeling, emotion, image, plan, memory, reflection or commentary arises, do not resist it or try to expel, drive it away or change it. Simply be mindful of the sensation, etc, in the immediacy of its arising or vanishing---that is, in
  2. 2. the now. (Remember and practise the ‘law of non-resistance’: ‘Whatever you resist, persists’.) Don’t try to actively bring thoughts or feelings up. Simply observe and notice, with passive detachment, and without attitude, comment or judgment, what your body (including your mind) is experiencing - label it if you feel you must - and immediately return to your anchor ... that is, return to following either your abdominal movement or your breath (as per above). Wait and see what comes up next. Let your mind penetrate whatever sensation, etc, arises---or whatever be your predominant experience---in the moment ... from one moment to the next. Rest in choiceless awareness ... moment by moment ... that is, keep your mind at the level of bare attention, without judgment, evaluation, self-criticism or condemnation. Let it be. (You must first ‘let be’ before you can successfully ‘let go’ all over.) Observe directly and objectively---with ‘effortless effort’. Let your mind be peaceful ... undisturbed ... not restless. Maintain a ‘soft’ acceptance of whatever is. Avoid ‘noting’ or ‘labelling’. Although some mindfulness instructors and practitioners teach and advocate ‘noting’ and ‘labelling’, my own view---which is not an original one of mine---is that making a mental note of, or labelling, what is occurring tends to result in the formation and arising of thoughts, ideas, concepts and images ... that is, mental phenomena ... which prevent you from having an immediate and direct access to reality, that is, to what is occurring in the moment from one moment to the next. How? Because the consciousness which tends to arise from the act of noting or labelling is one of an event in the past, which has gone, but which is nevertheless re-experienced as an after- thought or a memory. Please remember this fundamental principle: your mindfulness should be simultaneous with the occurrence of touch or sensation. Dwell in the sensation of the moment. Watch that sensation---without thinking any thought connected with the sensation---that is, without judgment, evaluation, self-criticism or condemnation. (Having said that, I do not altogether eschew noting and labelling. At times, noting or labelling can assist where a sensation is particularly persistent or troublesome, but it is not, in my view, something to be done routinely. Indeed, it should, in my view, be done very rarely, if at all.) Continue as above throughout the period of meditation. Remain poised and relaxed at all times. A deeply relaxed person breathes about 5-8 times a minute---at the very most. Don’t rush off immediately at the end of the meditation session. Evaluate the experience. Practise meditation gently---but steadily---and regularly. Meditate, mindfully, preferably twice daily---for about 15 minutes on each occasion. As with all things, practice makes perfect ... and meditation practice is just that---practice.Mindfulness meditation is not about stopping the mind or stopping thoughts. Mindfulnessmeditation is about allowing thoughts to be present but not letting them run you.One final, most important, matter. Mindfulness meditation needs to be brought into every aspectof ones daily life. In the words of Lama Yeshe, ‘Whether you are walking, talking, working,eating ... whatever you do, be conscious of the actions of your body, speech and mind.’ Copyright © 2012 Ellis-Jones Enterprises Pty Limited (ABN 38 088 534 141). All Rights Reserved. The information contained in this document is for educational purposes only. The information is not medical advice, is not intended to be a replacement for professional medical advice, and is not to be used to treat or diagnose any medical condition. If needed, such advice should be obtained from the services of a competent health care professional. No liability is accepted for any loss or damage that may arise from the use of or reliance on the information contained in this document.