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meditation mindfulness

Let’s Talk Meditation

Meditation and the Truth

Most of us have heard about meditation and mindfulness over the last few years, but how many of us truly understand how to practice this ancient art form passed down for thousands of years. This article is where I want to correct the balance and put straight some of the facts about this noble way to practice.

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Most of the information I see on Pinterest, Facebook or Instagram is given freely but at the cost of heavily advertised websites, Click baited headlines to draw your curiosity in to only find a half hearted explanation and little to no advice. Most of these websites are written by wanna-be social media stars and there is a growing concern that meditation and mindfulness has become, or is becoming, a watered down version of a truly remarkable aid in the development of our human consciousness. An aid, that if understood correctly, can and will change your life dramatically for the better.

What can Meditation do for me?

Meditation has the ability to reshape your life towards a more peaceful, respectful and compassionate way to live. A life with less worry and less anxiety, a life where gossip doesn’t amuse or intrigue and fear struggles to reside. Meditation can calm and clear your mind like that of a still lake and reflect back a better version of yourself. And by searching within for that elusive happiness we truly can change the world around us.

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My experience with Meditation

My experience with meditation has completely changed my life for the better. I have been practicing meditation for well over 15 years, a large number for some but a small number for others. In this time I have gone from a lost soul not understanding the way of the world, feeling like I didn’t fit in, or that something was wrong with me. I now have a life living completely satisfied and fulfilled, a life full of love and compassion. I now have a relationship with my father something that in my early life I did not and this is something I cherish dearly.

In these 15 years I have been trained by meditation masters such as Thich Nhat Hanh and from the direct descendants of the forest monk Ajahn Chah. I have been an ordained Buddhist monk for many years practicing in the seclusion of the northern forests of Thailand. I now wander the European countryside as a monk still searching the depths of my mind and all its wily tricks and parlour games it plays. I am totally addicted to meditation and mindfulness like a smoker is to cigarettes. Everyday I practice watching or observing the play of consciousness and it’s relationship to our experiences. Everyday I grow and learn more.

I am not enlightened and don’t pretend to be, I am enjoying the search tremendously and as so I have for a long time dedicated my life to understanding the truth of our human condition.

How to truly meditate

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We have all heard that the art of meditation is to follow the breath. Breathing in, you really observe and feel the breath coming in. We need to be invested in this process of observance, completely absorbed and focused. See how the air passes through you nostrils, tickling the hairs in your nose, watch and witness the abdomen enlarge and the lungs expanding gently as a response. Breathing out observe the process as you would a movie get yourself involved and watch the lungs deflate as a response to you abdomens movement. Observe the air as it comes out through your nose, tickling those nostril hairs. And then the slight pause before we breath in once again.

This is just one step in meditation and is the foundation of all training it is called Samantha or Samadhi meditation. However this is just a foundation and only when our foundations are solid and secure can we start to build upon this to investigate and discover the real interplay between our thoughts and there corresponding actions. This is known as Vipassanā meditation. Translated as ‘truly seeing‘, or insight meditation.

Vipassanā Meditation

Vipassanā Meditation is an observance of the our thoughts within the consciousness. We watch, without interference, how each thought arises from something and then passes away. How one thought leads to another and to another and then to another. Vipassanā Meditation is the observance of the minds three facts of existence, impermanence, suffering and non self as they reveal themselves through consciousness. Truths that once experienced as reality changes your whole way of life. Knowing this is not enough, experiencing this for yourself is the true purpose of meditation and one that can take minutes or sometimes a life time.

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Vipassanā is an art form that takes a long time to develop and should only be attempted after many hours of Samantha meditation as described above. The reason is to develop the skill as an observer without interference so as to experience these truths for yourself. There is no point in just mere understanding, one must truly experience this birth and death for ourselves, experience the ever changing impermanence that exists in everything.

For another explanation of Vipassanā Meditation from a more scientific view point Click Here

What to do now

The most important factor to remember with meditation is to always be kind towards yourself. When we loose focus on our breathing, gently laugh or chuckle to yourself and bring back your attention. Try not to be harsh with yourself it is the journey that is far more important than the destination. Kindness goes an incredible long way in this world and something that if practiced towards ourselves helps elevate a lot of our problems.

Practice breathing meditation or Samantha meditation until you have got a solid foundation, a foundation where you feel present in the moment, grounded in the breath. Once this has become established then allow your mind to investigate, to clearly see with Vipassanā Meditation.

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For any help or advice please feel free to contact me using the contact form provided in the menu. There is no pressure on your behalf and I am here to help. I have been lucky enough to be guided by Masters over my time and it would be a delight to help in anyway I can.

kind regards

Dhamma Tāpasā

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Everyone’s Mind Matters

The 21 Proven Ways to Beat Anxiety

Anxiety and it’s Causes

Anxiety can be a crippling disease of mind, it’s a feeling of fear or apprehension of something yet to come and in extreme cases is devastating to your life.

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Calming Anxiety

Anxiety disorders can cause your heart rate to rise, heart palpitations, and chest pain. You may also be at increased risk of high blood pressure and heart disease.

The 5 ways of Categorising Anxiety

According to the National Health Service from the United Kingdom Of Great Britain we generally put the effects of Anxiety into 5 categories, these are

Generalised Anxiety Disorder: Described as an excessive amount of worry, stress or anxiety which may include symptoms such as depression. According to the Anxiety and Depression Association Of America (ADAA) Generalised Anxiety Disorder is diagnosed as extreme worry about a variety of things which leads to continuous anxiety and lasts for a period of 6 months and longer.

Social Anxiety Disorder: This is the paralysing fear of social involvement and situations usually leaving the person suffering feeling alone, isolated and ashamed.

Obsessive Compulsive Disorder: OCD is an overwhelming sense to perform certain tasks a certain way over and over again. This experience of intrusive nature of thoughts can give rise to chronic stress.

Panic Disorder: Is characterised by unexpected and sometimes repeated episodes of intense fear, physical symptoms include but not limited too, chest pains, heart palpitations, shortness of breath, tightness of chest, dizziness and or abdominal pain.

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder: Stress caused after a dangerous and scary event. Example would be experiencing war, a deadly storm or almost drowning. This is known as Traumatic Stress and can lead to PTSD or post traumatic stress disorder

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Mind Matters and Anxiety

How to cope with Anxiety

There are many methods we can use to cope and indeed combat anxiety and it’s associated symptoms, here is a quick list that may help, it is by no means comprehensive and if you feel you know something which may help others please feel free to share. I will credit you and add your pearl of wisdom.

  • Take time out

  • Slowly count to 10

  • Try a little basic yoga

  • Eat a well balanced diet

  • Talk to someone

  • Keep a journal

  • Feel the fear and do it anyway

  • Accept you can not control everything

  • Self Awareness

  • Make sure you get enough sleep

  • Maintain a positive attitude

  • Try to get outside in fresh air and the sunlight

  • Limit your intake of caffeine and Alcohol

  • De-clutter

  • Try the gift of giving

  • Accept you are feeling anxious

If you feel there is something left off this list, maybe you have an idea that may help others, then please feel free to add a comment below, I will credit you and add your pearl of wisdom to the list.

Kind regards

Dhamma Tapasa

Categories
Everyone’s Mind Matters

30 Ways To De-Stress

30 Ways To De-Stress and Unwind.

It seems that today more than ever, we have become an overworked underpaid stressed out human race. It is NOW vital we learn some of the basic fundamental ways to de-stress and unwind.

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What actually is Stress

Stress is a build up of an overwhelmed mental process. The triggers of stress can be either positive, such as a new born baby or promotion at work, or negative such as car breakdown or loss of money . In almost all instances it is usually the result of unexpected or sudden changes in ones life, but is not limited too. Stress can also be a slow gradual process or can be experienced as an instantaneous reaction.

We usually divide stress into three categories, these are Acute stress, Chronic stress and Traumatic stress.

Acute Stress: Stress that causes an immediate noticeable change in ones mental state, such as avoiding a car crash, or sudden confrontation

Chronic Stress: Stress that causes continuous harm, anxiety or frustration, such as prolonged pressures of work or school.

Traumatic Stress: Stress caused after a dangerous and scary event. Example would be experiencing war, a deadly storm or almost drowning. Traumatic Stress can lead to PTSD post traumatic stress disorder

How do we experience Stress

We first experience stress wether acute or chronic as mental phenomenon, this can then be experienced either two ways, physically or emotionally.

Our physical response can be felt throughout our entire body, with each organism and muscle feeling tense and taught, usually however we experience stress in isolated locations such as sweaty palms, a raised heart beat or stiffness in the neck and shoulders as examples.

Our emotional response to stress causes changes to happen in our consciousness and our thoughts, we feel worried, we may have difficulties in focusing on tasks, can make us cry or outbursts of anger, and we can become consumed by just one thought going around and around.

The 30 basic fundamental ways to De-Stress and unwind

If you are experiencing stress either emotionally or physically then use these 30 beautiful techniques to slow down and unwind from a stressful day.

  1. Go for a walk

  1. Stretch and Revitalise

  1. Read a good Book

  1. Meditate for 5 minutes

  1. Go for a bike ride

  1. Listen to your favourite music

  1. Count to ten

  1. Use the free 7 Wonders course

  1. Disconnect from technology

  1. Just be outside in fresh air

  1. Punch a pillow

  1. Soak up some sunshine

  1. Take a 10 Minute shower

  1. Read some motivational quotes

  1. Keep a Journal

  1. Try Walking Meditation

  1. Kick a ball about

  1. Smile because it’s what makes life so beautiful

  1. Read an inspirational Moral Story

  1. Give yourself a head and neck massage

  1. Try some basic yoga

  1. Do some star jumps

  1. Write 10 things you love about yourself

  1. Squeeze a squash ball

  1. Take some long deep breaths

  1. Make or buy yourself a Jar Of loving Kindness

  1. Do some Gardening

  1. Try Loving Kindness Meditation

  1. De-clutter your space

If you would like to add to this list or think maybe something should be left out then please help others by leaving a comment below.

kind regards

Dhamma Tapasa

Categories
meditation

Gratitude Meditation

Gratitude or Gratification meditation

Gratification Meditation is one of the best ways to overcome past traumas, Depression, stress and Anxiety being grateful for what we have in the moment allows no space for negativity, pessimism, doom or gloom. We sit naturally non judgemental and non discriminate.

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Finding things to be Grateful for

Finding things in your life to be grateful for may be a little bit harder to do for some, so if you have a little trouble finding things to be grateful for this wonderful article entitled The Seven Wonders of Life, will really help.

Some of my personal Seven Wonders that I love to use while meditating with gratitude are, my adopted stray dog Marley, sometimes affectionately known as Marley Moo. He really is adorable and the unconditional love he has for me. It will put a smile on my face every time. Maybe you have a pet that you get great pleasure sharing love.

I also love the great outdoors and enjoy a good long walk, taking in the fresh air is magical. Maybe you also love to walk and spend time in he sunshine.mindful exercise, meditation practice, personal growth, inner contentment, mindset reset, personal development through mindfulness, commit to sit, most important thing to learn, developing minds, relaxation techniques, spiritual enlightenment, Buddhism, gratitude for yourself, We need to find a few things that will put a smile on your face something that we can be grateful about, then keeping those in your mind we begin to relax.

Let’s begin to meditate

This meditation can be practiced at home or at work, so long as you can find a quiet place you won’t be disturbed.

Sitting in a comfortable position, either cross legged on a meditation mat, using a meditation stool or a solid chair, keep a straight spine, not over pulling it one way or the other, gently relax your shoulders and bring your chest forward to allow your lungs to be fully open. Feel your muscles relax and your worries drift away. Softly close your eyes and take a few long deep breaths when your ready bring your attention to your breath. 

At this point, when my mind and body feel relaxed and peaceful I slowly go through my Seven Wonders list spending a nice amount of time on each one, feeling all the sensations of Love, passion and happiness in my body and across my face.mindful exercise, meditation practice, personal growth, inner contentment, mindset reset, personal development through mindfulness, commit to sit, most important thing to learn, developing minds, relaxation techniques, spiritual enlightenment, Buddhism, gratitude for yourself, Start with your favourite Seven Wonder, and visualise and hold onto the feelings it generates inside. You can stay just focused on your favourite wonder, you don’t have to move through them all.

There are no hard and fast rules for this Meditation except for generating feelings of bliss, contentment and happiness.

If You find your mind wanders, gently and kindly bring it back to your Seven Wonders of life. The amazing thing about this meditation is the concentration levels you can achieve very quickly, having something joyful for ourselves to focus on makes a remarkable difference.

Tips and tricks

Some points to remember,

Try to keep the breath as natural as possible, not to deep or shallow just allow it to be, without your interference. This can happen when we first stay to meditate because usually this is the first time we have spent time watching ourselves breath. Don’t worry you know how to breath you don’t need to interfere just relax.

Our minds will wander from the object of meditation from time to time, and when it does, don’t scold or punish yourself but always be kind, and gently bring your awareness back to the breath and start counting again.mindful exercise, meditation practice, personal growth, inner contentment, mindset reset, personal development through mindfulness, commit to sit, most important thing to learn, developing minds, relaxation techniques, spiritual enlightenment, Buddhism, gratitude for yourself,

Distractions happen easily, wether a noise, an itch, feeling uncomfortable or an urgent thought that maybe you have left the oven on. Always be kind and gently to your inner dialogue and gently bring your awareness back to your breath.

The underlying most important tip i can give is Kindness, you will never improve you Meditation if you keep scolding yourself with your inner dialogue. Be kind, smile, maybe even a little chuckle that your mind wandered again and gently bring it back to the breath

For more tips and tricks to the 15 most common meditation problems CLICK HERE!

Why are we doing this

The Benefits of Meditation have been well documented in the last ten years and with MRI scanners now showing us the actual visible results meditation brings it’s all time we started this wonderful new science. Meditation has a direct impact within our brains resulting in increased activity within the Anterior Cingulate Cortex, the Ventromedial Prefrontal Cortex and the Hippocampus region which is directly responsible for the grey matter produced in our brains. The possibilities this may have within the scientific fields of Alzheimer’s and memory retention are only just being realised.

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I wish you all the success with your meditation and mindfulness journey.

Kind regards

Dhamma Tapasa

Categories
meditation

Metta Bhavana Meditation

Metta Bhavana meditation

Metta Bhavana Meditation or Loving Kindness Meditation is one of the most fulfilling and satisfying meditations we can do.

There are a few methods and ways to practice Metta Bhavana Meditation, the method I describe below I find works wonderfully for me. It is one of visualisation.

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I was a Buddhist monk in Northern Thailand and after many years and thousand of hours of meditation practice training with some of the great meditation masters, my hundreds of mosquito bites on my bald head were not in vain, I have found this is the most suitable way to practice Metta Bhavana Meditation for my western mind

The Three Methods to create Loving Kindness in your Heart

The method we will be using today is one of visualisation, however is just one of the three ways to practice which will achieve loving kindness in the heart. Reflecting and auditory are the other two methods used to create the feeling of loving kindness.

Reflect on the positive qualities of yourself or a loved one will ensure loving kindness to flourish with in the heart.

Using a mantra is the auditory approach and an example could simple be the words “loving kindness”

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The First thing we need to do is find the love from within ourselves. Now I understand that may sound a little scary to some but Visualisation is a great way to achieve love inside our hearts. And we all have something we love, something that will bring that feeling back when you start to think deeply enough about it. For me this is my adopted stray dog Marley and the crazy fun things he gets up to.

If your still finding difficulty thinking of something that your really love this much, then try hitting this link 7 wonders of life, it will help you find something wonderful in your life to feel that loving kindness and to help with the practice. Now that we have our object of focus, its time to relax and start meditating.

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Let’s start Meditating

First of all let’s find a comfortable place somewhere you won’t be disturbed. Now sitting in a comfortable position with a straight spine, gently relax your shoulder and neck muscles and slowly close your eyes. Take a few long deep breaths and feel yourself relaxing.

Let’s start by calmly watching your breathing, don’t disturb your breathing, just let it be natural.

Breathing in, be aware your breathing,

Breathing out, be aware your breathing out. Count one.

Try to do this for a count of five. Alternatively take long deep breaths to calm and relax your whole mind and body.

Now we are relax

Bring your object of love to the forefront of your mind and begin to feel the love you have for it/them, really start to explore the feeling, that feeling of love.

Don’t worry if you feel a resistance or a little silly at first, be kind to yourself and be patient. Try to find where the feeling is coming from, do you notice how the feeling grows the more you explore it. Again don’t panic if you feel resistance to this, it is all ok, it just means a little more patience and kindness towards yourself is needed.

Now feel that love start to consume you, feel it’s warmth, is your smile hurting you cheeks yet.

If you are having trouble visualising, please still use loving kindness with yourself, this is not going to be easy for some. Tell yourself it’s ok, we can have another go later. Always be patient and kind towards yourself and even that will be practicing loving kindness.

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Project that love

Once we have the feeling of love flowing within ourselves, it’s time to send out our love to others. We now use a mantra with our loving kindness, to truly send out our positive vibration to the chosen person.

First we start with ourselves. Repeat this between 5 and 10 times to yourself, or out loud that’s entirely up to you.

May I be happy 

May I be free from metal suffering and distress

May I be free of physical pain and suffering

May I be peaceful and at ease

Now we are going to give that love from our heart, that loving kindness to someone else other than ourselves.

The Four Types of Persons to develop loving-kindness towards

• A respected, beloved person – such as a spiritual teacher

• A dearly beloved – which could be a close family member or friend

• A neutral person – somebody you know, but have no special feelings towards, e.g a person who serves you in a shop

• A hostile person – someone you may be having difficulty with

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Starting with yourself, then systematically sending loving-kindness from person to person in the above order will have the effect of breaking down the barriers between the four types of people and yourself. This will effectively break down the divisions within your own mind, the source of much of the conflict we experience.

May (insert name) be happy

May (insert name) be free from suffering and distress 

May (insert name) be free of physical pain and suffering 

May (insert name) be peaceful and at ease 

If you find your mind wanders or you notice your loving kindness looses it ferocity, at this point always be kind and patient with yourself, slowly return to the original object of focus, take a few deep breaths and start again. once you have established the feeling again in your heart, continue with the mantra. 

I wish you all the love and happiness on your meditation journey

Kind regards

Dhamma Tapasa

Categories
meditation

Samadhi Meditation

Samadhi or Oneness meditation

Samadhi meditation is known simple as being as ‘oneness with the object of meditation‘ in this case the breath, and can be one of the simplest and easiest of all meditations to grasp, however the untrained mind will find it a lot harder than it sounds. The good news is, just like going to the gym regularly you start to build those muscles up, and so too with meditation you powers of concentration become greater and meditation becomes easier.

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How to practice

Sitting in a comfortable position, either cross legged on a meditation mat, using a meditation stool or a solid chair, keep a straight spine, not over pulling it one way or the other, gently relax your shoulders and bring your chest forward to allow your lungs to be fully open. Feel your muscles relax and your worries drift away. Softly close your eyes and take a few long deep breaths when your ready bring your attention to your breath.

Breathing in be aware you’re breathing in, 

breathing out, be aware you are breathing out. 

Count one.

Repeat this for five or ten counts then start again. This is the basics of samadhi meditation.

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To become completely at one with the meditation object takes time, practice, and kindness towards your inner dialogue. The moment you experience this oneness, everything you have ever been told about mindfulness, meditation and being present in the moment are all realised, spontaneously as if you always knew the secret you just need a gently nudge.

Tips and tricks

Some points to remember,

Try to keep the breath as natural as possible, not to deep or shallow just allow it to be, without your interference. We sometimes feel like we are interfering with our breath, don’t worry this can happen when we first stay to meditate because it’s usually this is the first time we have spent time watching ourselves breath. Don’t worry you know how to breath you don’t need to interfere just relax and stay patient.

Our minds will wander from the object of meditation from time to time, and when it does, don’t scold or punish yourself but always be kind, and gently bring your awareness back to the breath and start counting again.

Distractions happen easily, wether a noise, an itch, feeling uncomfortable or an urgent thought that maybe you have left the oven on. Always be kind and gently to your inner dialogue and gently bring your awareness back to your breath.

The underlying most important tip i can give is Kindness, you will never improve you Meditation if you keep scolding yourself with your inner dialogue. Be kind, smile, maybe even a little chuckle that your mind wandered again and gently bring it back to the breath.

Try this meditation exercise for ten minutes at first and slowly increase the time over a course of a few days.

Samadhi meditation, mindfulness relaxation, wellness and wellbeing, breathing meditation,

Why are we doing this

The benefits of meditation have been well documented in the last ten years and with MRI scanners now showing us the actual visible results meditation brings it’s all time we started this wonderful new science. Meditation has a direct impact within our brains resulting in increased activity within the Anterior Cingulate Cortex, the Ventromedial Prefrontal Cortex and the Hippocampus region which is directly responsible for the grey matter produced in our brains. The possibilities this may have within the scientific fields of Alzheimer’s and memory retention are only just being realised.

I wish you all the success with your meditation and mindfulness journey, and would be delighted if you could join are small but growing family of kind and compassionate people just like yourself.

Kind regards

Dhamma Tapasa

Categories
meditation

How to Practice Basic Meditation

The Art of Meditation

The practice and Benefits of Meditation and mindfulness have been well documented, and by now we are all starting to explore with interest this ancient art form that has the potential to relieve us from our day to day stresses and anxieties. The practice of basic meditation and mindfulness can not only relieve stress, Anxiety, Depression and worry but it has the potential to bring a deep sense of joy and wellbeing into our lives. With so many meditation websites and endless mindfulness chatter out there where and how do learn the essentials of basic meditation?

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Meditation is best done in a sitting position, preferably crossed legged on the floor with a straight spine. Meditation once understood can be done wherever and whenever you find you have moment to yourself, standing in a line at the supermarket checkout perhaps, waiting for a lift, in the bathroom or maybe while sitting at traffic lights, are all perfectly good examples.

The basic meditation posture and positions are sitting meditation, standing meditation, Walking Meditation and lying meditation, although the last position isn’t recommended for beginners as the tendency to fall asleep is a common issue. Today we are going to learn meditation at the most basic level, however first we must grasp what meditation is really all about.

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Meditation is a one pointed concentration and in the most usual instance we focus our attention on our breathing. Our breath is used as a focus tool because it is always with us wherever we go, our breath must surely be. To calm ourselves and to reconnect with our breathing it is good practice to take a few slow deep breaths. As you feel your breathing returning to normal keep your attention on the movements or feelings of each rise and fall.

This is the one pointed concentration. Watch closely to the feeling of the in breath as it passes through the nose filling the lungs and expanding the abdomen and chest. Now watch in detail how the reverse process takes place on the out breath. IN BREATH, OUT BREATH

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To start you may find your mind wander from the breath onto something else, a shopping list, a fantasy or start to day dream. This is perfectly natural and ok, always be kind to yourself, never scolding, always patient and gently bring your attention back to your breathing. The more you practice the better you become at anything, and this is the same with mindfulness and meditation.

Now we have the basic idea and grasp of the mindfulness and meditation one pointed concentration we can now begin to use it in our everyday lives. We don’t have to shave our heads, build a shrine and spend hours painfully sitting crossed legged on the floor. This method is best used in everyday situations you may find yourself free, waiting for a bus, sitting at lunch in the park, the back of a taxi or even in a busy cafe. To experience just one moment fully, you automatically feel uplifted and fully energised, to experience that one moment fully brings all the benefits of meditation flooding to you.

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Ajahn Chah, a Thai forest Buddhist monk with tens of thousands of hours meditation experience under his belt and a true meditation master of our time, used to stress

“If meditation was all about sitting for prolonged periods of time, then all chickens would be enlightened”

It really isn’t about sitting for long, long periods, it really is about being 100% involved, occupied, absorbed in the one pointed concentration of your breath. Breathing in I’m really aware Of the air filling my lungs, breathing out I’m really aware I’m breathing out.

Try right now, while your reading this, wherever you are right now, take a couple of long slow deep breaths and relax into following your breath. Let’s start to meditate, let’s start right now to bring mindfulness into our lives.

Kind regards

Dhamma Tapasa