An introduction to mindfulness dean amory


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What is mindfulness?
What are the origins of mindfulness?
How can I practise mindfulness meditation?
What are some examples of meditation and training exercises?
What is mindfulness based cognitive therapy? (MBCT)
What does a 6 - 10 week mindfulness program include?
How to practise mindfulness throughout the day? - in the workplace?
What are the differences between awareness, consciousness, attention and mindfulness?

... These are some questions you may have been asking yourself about mindfulness.

So did I,and I started on a quest to get to know more about this "hype".
Only to discover that this "hype" has been lasting for over 2.500 years and that everybody can greatly benefit from practising mindfulness.

This is why I am inviting you to join me on my path of discovery and find out also for yourself how mindfulness can positively influence your life.

Download your e-book of "Introduction to Mindfulness" here, or order a paperback copy and make it your loyal companion through the good and the bad moments that eventually form your life.



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An introduction to mindfulness dean amory

  1. 1. AN INTRODUCTION TO MINDFULNESSWhat is mindfulness?What are the origins of mindfulness?What are the benefits of mindfulness?What are the skills of mindfulness?How can I practise mindfulness meditation?What are some examples of meditation and trainingexercises?What is mindfulness based cognitive therapy?(MBCT)What does a 6 - 10 week mindfulness programinclude?How to practise mindfulness throughout the day? -in the workplace?What are the differences between awareness,consciousness, attention and mindfulness?... These are some questions you may have beenasking yourself about mindfulness.You will find the answers to these questions andmany more in “INTRODUCTION TOMINDFULNESS”, compiled by Dean Amory.Download your e-book of "Introduction to Mindfulness" here, or order a paperback copy andmake it your loyal companion through the good and the bad moments that eventually form yourlife.paperback: is mindfulness?In a nutshell, mindfulness is about beingcompletely in touch with the present momentand being open to experiences as they come.Mindfulness involves taking your attentionaway from the past and future and away fromyour imagination - and instead becomingaware of what is going on right now. You cando this as you go about your daily life. Noticewith your senses: what you are seeing andhearing, that you are breathing, standing,walking or sitting or lying down, the feel of theair against your skin as you move along. Yourmind will keep drifting out of the present soyou need to keep bringing it back. It isbringing your mind back to the present thatmakes up the practice of mindfulness. Never
  2. 2. criticize your mind for drifting away: just bring it back kindly and gently.Have you ever suddenly become aware of a background noise that had been going on for sometime unnoticed? Or have you ever woken up just moments before your alarm clock went off, as ifan inner force had lifted you from slumber? That was mindfulness.Mindfulness is a mental faculty, like intuition or musical ability. It reminds you of what youdidnt know you had forgotten, and wakes you when you didnt realize you were sleeping (ordaydreaming). Mindfulness points out what ordinarily escapes conscious attention, what ishidden in plain sight -- or what weve overlooked or forgotten because it doesnt fit ourinterpretations, or pertain to our goals, or because it makes us feel uncomfortable.When you are mindful, your mind is quiet but alert, empty but present, sharply focused on theimmediacy of the situation, knowing that anything can happen.Without mindfulness, we function as if on autopilot, only partially aware of who we really are orwhat were doing.What are the origins of mindfulness?Mindfulness has been used for thousands of years in the Buddhist tradition to improve people’sexperience of living.What are the benefits of mindfulness?Being mindful lowers anxiety and stress, interrupts harmful brooding and will help you to avoidendlessly repeating distressing or unhelpful thoughts, images and mental scenes.Mindfulness meditation has been demonstrated to provide relief from a wide range of afflictionsincluding pain, depression and loneliness. It also contributes to enhanced focus, creativity andperformance on a wide variety of tasks.
  3. 3. Among its many welcome side effects are deep serenity and a patient, tolerant understanding ofothers, but it is worthwhile in itself for reasons that must be experienced to be appreciated. In aword, it awakens us.What are some examples of meditation and training exercises?Exercises like those below have been used for centuries to help people practice mindfulness asthey go about their daily life. The first two need only take a minute or so but will help you if yourepeat them at intervals during the day.AwarenessFrom time to time, notice your breathing.Notice your posture.Notice the points of contact between your body and the chair, floor, ground.Notice your clothes touching your body.Notice sounds in the room; sounds outside the room; the furthest away sound you can hear.Every time you drift into thinking, just return to noticing these sensations.Basic Mindfulness MeditationMindfulness should be the simplest of tasks, an elemental challenge like no other.In the July 2012 issue of Shambhala Sun, James Ishmael Ford boils the practice down to its basicfundamentals. His instruction:“Sit down, shut up and pay attention.”Or, to expand it slightly, “Sit down, shut up and observe your breath and body. When yourattention begins to drift, gently put it back on target.”This is the practice. Repeated re-engagement, over and over and over. Without judgment. Overtime, this becomes a foundational, primal skill that we can bring to every other task and challengein our lives. It is powerful. So don’t make it complicated. Just do it. Again. And again.Mindfulness CuesThis involves using habitual behaviours to remind you to practice mindfulness. Choose one ortwo and then decide that when performing them you will maintain awareness of what you aredoing, rather than daydreaming or getting caught up in fears or anxieties: Using the telephone ~Going up or down stairs or steps ~ Using a computer mouse or keyboard ~ Tidying ~ Washing up~ Showering.Awareness of BreathingAs you go through your day, notice your breathing from time to time. All you need to do is noticejust a few of those 20,000 breaths you take every day. Are you breathing with your chest or yourtummy (abdominal breathing is usually more relaxing)? As you breathe out, can you feelmovement in your tummy? Can you feel the air entering and leaving your nostrils?Mindful AwakeningWhen you wake up in the morning, spend a few moments savoring your dreams. You dont haveto remember what happened in the dreams. Just taste their overall flavor. Even when you doremember fragments of the dream story or imagery, pay especial attention to the subtle moodsthat they evoke, which are like aromas or fragrances.
  4. 4. The delicate threads of your dreams will be lost easily in the morning if you enter your wakinglife too quickly. Take your time, lie still for a moment, and taste the herbal flavors that yourdreams have left in your mind.Then, when you do begin to think about your waking life, notice its flavor, as well, as if it werealso a dream.Take your time, lie still for a moment, and taste the herbal flavors that your dreams have left inyour mind.Sometime during the day, when you remember to do it, pay attention to the sensations on theinside of your body. You might start by letting your attention rest on the sensations of breathingin your chest and throat.Notice what happens to your mind as you begin to focus on those inside-the-body sensations. Doyou notice a shift in the overall tone of your mind?Then let your attention move throughout your body, like the gentle hands of a masseur, checkingfor spots where you feel tension or sensations of burning, tingling, or glowing. Dont forget yourhands, fingers, and feet.If youre feeling a strong emotion, such as fear or excitement, where do you feel the sensations ofthat emotion in your body? What textures, colors, or flavors do they have? See what happenswhen you examine the sensations in detail, taking quick glances at them. Mindfulness is what letsyou see in greater detail.Mindful WalkingWhile youre walking around outside, listen for spaces between sounds. Even the steadiest soundsare perforated by tiny gaps. Listen to the sounds as if they were music. Also, try tasting theiraromas, the subtle impressions that they make on your mind, just as you do with dreams.
  5. 5. Try listening to the sounds as if you were listening from your belly or gut, rather than from yourhead. Let your belly become the center of your awareness. Let it feel just as sensitive andexposed as your face.Also, instead of looking at things as whole objects that have names and purposes, let yourattention be drawn to their textures and colors, until what youre looking at doesnt have a nameor description at all. Notice how the feeling of your mind changes as you do this.Mindful ConversationsWhile youre having a conversation with someone, spend a moment listening to the spacesbetween the sounds of his or her words. Try listening from your belly. Feel its changingsensations as the person is speaking.Mindful RelaxationBefore you fall asleep at night, lie still and look for feelings of tension that come from all youreffort to get things done during the day. Look for knots of tension in your head, neck, face, and inyour belly or in your limbs.The next day, as often as you remember to do it, look for those feelings of effort again as youregoing about your day. Do you feel any tension around or behind your eyes? Pay attention to howthe "making an effort" feelings are associated with thoughts or desires.In the same way that you were noticing moments of silence between sounds, also notice thatbetween the feelings of effort there are gaps where those feelings diminish or disappear.Sometimes the gaps are so small that theyre hard to notice at first, but let mindfulness point themout.Mindful ThinkingThoughts are like mini-dreams. When you suddenly realize that youve been having a thought(mindfulness is what reminds you), savor its flavors, savor the residue that the thought has left inyour mind, just as youve been practicing with your dreams every morning. Does it produce anysensations in your body, perhaps behind your eyes?Notice gaps between the thoughts, where theres a bit of silence. What do you experience in thatsilence?Now listen to the sound of your thoughts -- not to what the thoughts are about, but to their tone ofvoice, as if you were listening to another person talking. What would that persons facialexpressions or body language look like? What would that person want to say?With quick glances, explore the subtle sensations, the dream-like flavors and aromas of thepersonality that seems to be "you", the captain of the ship, the pilot that seems to be in charge ofyour body.Observe how it seems to break up into little bits, like pixels on a screen, as you glance at it upclose and in detail.Mindful Self ConsciousnessFrom time to time reflect on the "I" that sees inside your mind. What is experiencing and howdoes it know that it is experiencing? What kind of light illuminates dreams and thoughts so thatthe "I" can see them?When seen with mindful glances, the most ordinary aspects of experience seem mysterious andremarkable -- and the more ordinary, the more remarkable.
  6. 6. How strange that the universe exists rather than that nothing exists at all, and that it exists just asit does and not some other way. And then, how strange that this "I" exists and is aware of theexistence of that universe.Such bare reflections come as part of the process of mindful awakening. Once the process ofawakening begins, it moves along at its own pace, under its own steam, as awareness awakens toitself.What are the skills of mindfulness?Mindfulness is made up of a number of skills, all of which require practice. These skills arebriefly described below:AwarenessOne skill of mindfulness is learning how to focus your attention on one thing at a time. Thisincludes being aware of and able to recognize all the things that are going on around you (forexample, sights and sounds), as well as all the things that are going on inside you (for example,thoughts and feelings).Nonjudgmental/Non-evaluative ObservationThis skill is focused on looking at your experiences in a nonjudgmental way. That is, simplylooking at things in an objective way as opposed to labeling them as either "good" or "bad." Animportant part of this skill is self-compassion.Being in the Present MomentPart of mindfulness is being in touch with the present moment as opposed to being caught up inthoughts about the past (also called rumination) or the future (or worry). An aspect of this skill is
  7. 7. being an active participant in experiences instead of just "going through the motions" or "beingstuck on auto-pilot."Beginners MindThis skill of mindfulness focuses on being open to new possibilities. It also refers to observing orlooking at things as they truly are, as opposed to what we think they are or evaluate them to be.For example, going into a situation with a preconceived notion of how things will turn out cancolor your experience. This can prevent you from getting in touch with the true experience.Practicing MindfulnessMindfulness takes practice. Some people may put aside time to formally practice mindfulness,such as devoting time to practice mindful awareness of their breath or thoughts. However, thegood thing about mindfulness is that you can also practice it at any point throughout your day.For example, you can bring mindfulness awareness to a number of activities that we often dowithout thinking, such as eating, washing dishes, cooking, taking a shower or bath, walking,driving in the car, or listening to music.As you go about your day, try to find as many opportunities as you can to practice mindfulness.The more you practice, the easier it will become to bring mindful awareness to your lifeexperiences.