#265 HOW TO BE FRIEND WITH SELF Part 2 March 24 19

 The Path to be friend with self: Knowing, Accepting, Loving. Part 2

 The way our minds works is always by opposites and contrast—good-bad, up-down, in-out, right-wrong black or white etc.—so what we see positively simultaneously provide of the opposite.

That contrast is challenging but it is where the real work of to be friend with yourself begins.

As we practice, we uncover our layers and layers of ideas about ourselves. It is clear that we are accepting some aspects of ourselves and rejecting others. Some parts of us are so well hidden away that we can pretend they are not there at all. Friendship with self is reduced to like and dislike.

The challenge of the path of meditation is to continually expand the bounds of our heart, of our love and friendship. We start with ourselves by simply looking inside like a flash light looking in the dark.

We come up against our fear of opening up to our negative views about ourselves.

We also come up against the opposite that is our arrogance.

By taking a mindful and honest look at the kinds of thoughts and feelings we have about self, we learn about the limits we place on our friendship with self and others.

Why meditation can be useful in our self-discovery?

This meditative path is one of greater acceptance. We are learning to accept and befriend not just the parts we like of course, but also the parts o we dislike /hatred as well. Sometimes we identify with only our acceptable side, with our successes, and at other times we identify with our flaws and failures.

But as our meditation practice progresses, we become the watcher, the observer of our stream of thoughts and opinions. Rather than clinging to one positive or one negative trait, we find we do not need to fixate on either extreme. We are all those things, and our experience is constantly in flux.

Of course, there will always be aspects of ourselves we like and those we dislike, aspects we are proud of and other aspects we are ashamed of. But the more clearly we come to know all these aspects, the more we are able to accept and relax.  

Instead of seeing parts of self, we discover the whole self as it is. You don’t fight anymore with yourself because you are signing a peace treaty with yourself. In fact, we may discover that our failures and flaws are more powerful teachers than our successes.

With the benefit of sitting practice without overthinking or trying to fix anything, we become clearer and less emotional about our strengths, weaknesses, our accomplishments, failures, our obstacles and our breakthroughs. Both aspects are challenging.

Coming to appreciate ourselves in this way doesn’t mean we become complacent, egoistic or narcissistic.  Accepting our extremes doesn’t mean that we cannot make decisions about what is beneficial, what is harmful and how to fix ourselves.We should not take it personally, it is just information. Now, when we meditate, we do so from a realistic perspective and from a feeling of warmth and friendship. Meditation practice is almost like a courtship with ourselves.

We become less defensive. We make discoveries and experience breakthroughs. It is hard to cut through our fantasies and take a realistic look at ourselves, but it is also a big relief.

There is something very enjoyable about the whole process. We find that the more aspects of ourselves we welcome the lighter we feel about self. The burden of self-protection is a heavy one, and it feels good to let it go. We are more likeable without this self-protective shield shield.

Final words:

There is no particular end point to the process of making friend with yourself. It can be a life time quest and no rush is required.

But there is a wonderful spill over: each time you accept and open your heart to yourself you become a bit more open to those around you. As you develop a base of friendship with yourself, the quality of your daily social relationship will enhance.

With meditation practice, you are simultaneously taming the mind and opening the heart. It is so simple and natural: from interest comes knowing, from knowing comes acceptance, and from acceptance comes love.

It is impossible to express empathy and compassion to others w/o starting with self.

#264 HOW TO BE FRIEND WITH SELF March 17-19 Part 1

                                               Being friend with our self. Part 1

“What am I?” is a classic koan given to Zen students to solve.  What do we really know about ourselves.?

We put many different masks depending of the circumstances and goals. There are so many choices. Our participation in this social game of appearances can become so second nature to us that we hardly notice it. Apart from all these appearances, who am I really? Do I actually know? We also might wonder, do I really want to know? We are afraid of what we might find out. Are we friends with ourselves? Are we accepting self as it is, notwithstanding that improvements are always possible. Are we creating a self before even knowing the self?

Because of our Western education & culture, ego-centered mentality to be the best, to win, control and achieve perfection, self-doubt and poor self-image are very frequent and we need constant reassurance thru achievements such as work, money, control, loved ones and friends.

Strangely, although you are your most intimate companion your true self is hidden deep.

So the process of making friend with yourself goes to know yourself at a deeper, almost spiritual level far beyond its mundane profile

To truly make friends with yourself, you need to remove all social masks that you are using since young age. This journey of truly making friend with yourself is a difficult and tricky one since one has to avoid being too self-centered and narcissist.

It goes beyond simply feeling good about you, and it is not based on convincing yourself of anything or being convinced by others.  This journey of deep friendship with self does not rely on credentials or affirmations but on a tender step-by-step process of opening yourself to yourself in the most natural way. It happens on the path of meditation because this intimate quest of self- discovery has nothing to do with better insight or analytic and cognitive thinking such as CBT or psychoanalysis.

Simply just sit with nothing to do and no one to impress. This step is all about being curious, inquisitor and the longing to meet yourself at a deeper level. No mind set. It will end-up that what you will discover be reliable, true, genuine, worthy and that too many of your flaws are a mind-set distorted view.

We are taught how our thoughts capture us, and how we can simply let them come and go like clouds in the sky.

We are encouraged to be steady as our emotional states rise and fall, rather than being jerked up and down by every roller coaster passing moods.

In short, we are encouraged to take a fresh look at our experience. In the context of making friends with yourself, starting fresh means that we drop all our ideas of who you are or who you should be and just look in a mindfully way. (You could also try this approach when you meet a new acquaintance—pause for a moment, instead of instantly sizing them up, and try to see that person with fresh eyes.)

There is a quality of tenderness in meditation practice. It is a mental open window and you catch a glimpse of something trustworthy and good within yourself. That glimpse awakens a longing within you.

You know you have discovered something valuable and you want to figure out how to go further with it.

You realize that you have tapped into an inner dynamism or force for growth.Although you might have many such glimpses, they usually come and go.

They tend to be not only brief but subtle, and because such glimpses are not all that graspable, self-doubt easily creeps back in. You are pretty sure you are onto something good, but maybe it’s too good to be true. At the same time, without your familiar masks and credentials, you feel a bit naked and groundless because what you discover is not what you thought about yourself.

#263 HOW TO HACK SERENITY March 10h 19

How to hack “happiness”? or better said,  how to hack serenity?

How often do you say silently:“I am grateful of…” NEVER. We take everything for granted & we deserve whatever, In this talk I will use the word happiness by convention rather than serenity, which is the real meaning. We all claim we want happiness and yet, many of us are too often, somewhat unhappy.

We complain all the time. We fight with family members. We play dirty office politics with co-workers. We shout and scream at other drivers in traffic. But, the recipe for happiness is not some kind of secret.

How do we hack happiness?

There’s a high probability that you’re currently chasing make you happier all the time.

You want a bigger house, new car ?  A better paid job? A promotion? A new partner?, great friend?, health. Get more followers on social media? Get kids? Travel to a different country?

We also want to erase anxiety, anger, sorrow, meet your dreams, etc… etc…

The list of our desires is endless because the choices are illumined and specific to each of us.

Looking for our external dreams to make us happy or even serene will never do the trick since the list to get whatever is endless and the happiness effects from getting them are all transients like mirages.

 So what is missing? 

As the Dalai Lama used to repeat: “One of our problem is that we are unable to be grateful! It is time to change that.”  There are many ways to achieve inner serenity. We talked about them few times, but here we should look more specifically  at ……..

………Gratitude because it is one the most effective hack if you’re looking for better happiness & serenity.

By trying to be grateful to what we are, what we have, what we do,  you will see that not only we will feel better, but we will also get a better life and better relationships.

No one said it better than Oprah Winfrey:

“Be thankful for what you have. If you concentrate on what you don’t have, and what you want you will never, ever have enough.and you will be unhappy.”

Conversely, when you don’t appreciate what you have or what people do for you, you become bitter and resentful. You then push the positive people away and you will only be surrounded with a bunch of other ungrateful people “What to do if people in my life are ungrateful with me and my loved ones?” you may ask.

Try to share with them why gratitude is important. But don’t convince them because people never listen. We only change when we have a desire to change.

There’s a price you pay for living life & thinking in a certain way. Most people don’t have a philosophy for life because it is dominated by material stuff. That also comes with a price.

Don’t let ungrateful people into your life. Step away from them including, even, family members and friends because of that. You might see them once or twice a year, but have no ties with them. They will only drag you down. Instead, go up.

Life is beautiful but will always contain bad if not dramatic events. Just accept things as they are and not as you want them to be. Treat every meal you eat like the best meal that you’ve ever had. Appreciate the people in your life. Say thank you. No matter how little others do for you, pay them back with big appreciation such as your cashier, neighbours, co-workers, flight attendant, baby sitter, plumber, etc. 

And most importantly, appreciate where you are in life. You’re alive. Thank your parents for being, thank them for turning you into an independent adult.

In all my years of reading and talking about the good life, I’ve never seen anything with a bigger impact on the quality of our lives than gratitude.

Gratitude toward life and its contents, including acceptance of its bad moments is the best hacker to penetrate the realm of long lasting inner serenity and contentment. 

Serenity is contentment, a constant state of mind rather than intermittent and superficial happiness which belongs to our transient emotions. Relentless quest for external material stuff will never achieve what gratitude will offer because this quest is endless and the results always transient.

“ I don’t have what I want & I have what I don’t want” is a recipe from chronic unhappiness and suffering.

This quote to finish:

Do not regret and be grateful of getting older everyday. It is a privilege denied to many .

# 262 Minding our mind …24/7

                                            Minding our  mind 24/7… or almost

As long as our minds are running around non-stop like a dog chasing its tail or unless we are focusing on a specific task requiring our attention, practicing mindfulness on the go is almost impossible, at list for beginners. Why? Because  our body is here doing something almost
automatically whereas our mind is always somewhere else doing something else.
Zen calls this body-mind split “day

We are “day sleepwalkers” from the time we wake up to the time we fall

Practicing short exercises of mindfulness during the day is literally and figuratively like practicing breathing. When you mindfully practice breathing, you may actively regulate how you breathe because you are conscious of it. When we don’t practice mindful breathing, our breathing is automatic and totally subconscious.

In other words, when we practice mindfulness either by formal sitting or on the go, we consciously control and shape our mind. I call this “minding the mind” because we force the mind to slow down by focusing on x, y or z, enabling us to watch the mind being forced to slowdown its flow of thoughts since the mind/brain cannot have two thoughts at the same time i.e. focusing + another thought. However, it will take over very quickly in its wandering escape. Up to you to refocus on x. Minding the mind is a cat and mouse mental game: you against your mind and your mind against you.

When we are conscious, our daily routine, mental activities made of thoughts, feelings, day-dreams of the past, expectations of the future are distract us from any occasion to practice minding such as focusing on our breathing. If, for example, we are feeling anxious or angry, we “breathe” anxiety and anger and they get stronger. If, instead, we practice minding such as being mindful to our breathing, we can, somehow, regulate its pace and, at the same time, observe the anxiety or anger instead of being the target of them. The gift and challenge of mindfulness is that, unless you are deciding to focus on breathing or something else you can’t control your emotions..However, by observing your breath, control becomes possible. If you consciously breathe for a minute, you will naturally settle into deep, steady breathing. In that minute, you relax.

To control more efficiently your breathing circles

Count each exhales from 1 to 10. In a minute of breathing like that, you will take about 6 to 8 breaths.

Although you may not have enough time or patience to sit still for 15 minutes of meditation each day, you can build a strong mindfulness practice by breathing consciously 3-4  times a day at a pace of 6 breaths per minute for 5 minutes at a time. If you do that 365 days per year, you will experience rapidly the benefits of a daily mindfulness practice on the quality of your life and how you are dealing with your emotional roller- coaster.

At first, 3 times a day will be challenging. 5 minutes may feel like an eternity but, as your practice strengthens, you will find yourself checking in on your breath more often than three times per day. You will be able to settle from emotional highs and lows in fewer than five minutes. As you target your mindfulness practice toward moments of elevated stress, boredom, anger or fear, you will get better at easing yourself out of those emotional states.

Because our ego-centered minds are constantly forming around our habits, mind-set, emotions and dreams and expectations, an hour spent in anger today can turn into thousands of hours of anger over the course our lives. Remember that our ego mind is addicted to emotions because they are parts of our personality and self-image.

The same is true of a breathing-based
mindfulness “addiction”. Practicing 3 times per day, 6 breaths per minute, for
5 minutes, 365 days per year, will bring you some relief each time you do it
and immense relief over your lifetime.

If you can do it with breathing, you will be able to expand this with your emotions and  looking for some relief in your life.

Thank you.    

#261 How & when DOES our EGO FEED itself? Feb. 24 19

                           How and when does our ego feed itself?

Ego means “I”. It is the mental symbol of how we see ourselves physically mentally and emotionally.”

It is our immaterial self-entity and self-image hidden deep in our subconscious and emerging during emotional storms..

Our self-entity is crucial to survive and function at all levels.

It is the root of “I want, I don’t want, I am fighting.”

To control, to enjoy, to hate, to analyze, to judge, etc…are all actions & emotions driven, by definition, from our self-centered ego.

Despite being immaterial our ego, like anything else, needs some sort of energy.

Where is this immaterial energy coming from?

Being essentially self-centered, our emotions and feelings are back-feeding our ego.

He (ego) loves to generate feelings/emotions because, not only they boost and provide food to the ego but also because we believe –subconsciously- that our emotions/feelings define our identity as much as our biological and social identity in our day-to-day routine.

Our ego lives and feeds itself from the permanent emotional roller coaster made of “I want”, “I don’t want”, my anger, my fear, my nostalgia, my guilt, my past, my future, my thoughts, my pleasure, my pain, my judgments, my expectation, me vs. the others and many many more “I, me, myself, mine”.

Here are classical day-to-day examples:

“I am angry at you because you did not tell me….”

This anger is, by definition, self-centered – this you and not some body else- and this anger represents also the energy fuelling the ego. It cannot be otherwise. The more angry we are, the more ego-driven self-centered we are. If we did not have an ego, anger would not exist and we would not react with emotion.

“ I am upset because I did not get what I want”

“I am fearful about the future”

“ I regret the past. It was more fun those days”  Etc…..No point to list zillions of examples.

They are all identical: ego triggers + and – emotion, + & – emotion feeds and boosts the ego and self-image.

This is a vicious Catch22. This is why it is so difficult not to fall in this trap. We all do.

In fact, the more angry I am, the better my ego feels. All of this is subconscious.

So, how to get out this vicious circle?

Shunryu Suzuki gave his usual ironic answer to a student asking, “ How much ego do we need?  He replied: “Just enough to cross the street without being hit by a bus”. Typical  Zen irony

Like for anything else, a proper balance between too much and not enough ego is the solution.

It has been showed over and over that huge ego and not enough of it do not bring happiness but rather suffering.

When you are reacting emotionally or when negative feelings are popping out of your mind, try to pause and become the observer rather than being a victim trying to fight back. It means do not react.

It means saying to yourself: “OK, I am accepting”. Accepting does not mean to be weak or coward but to control the emotional hurricane, which will blow you away.  

Easy to say but very hard to master because our emotional brain centers react 20 to 30 times faster than our rational one localized in our prefrontal cortex. Mindfulness is the tool to use. Watch w/o judgment,

w/o decision. Learn to mind the mind. If you can do it for 1 or 2 min. you will notice that the sudden emotional flame is down.

If we react and fight about something, we are adding fuel to your ego. This is, again, the vicious circle.

Our Western culture is brainwashing us about having a strong personality, to fight, to resist and to win all the time. Eastern culture is far less dogmatic, more philosophical, and, probably somewhat wiser.

Like for anything else in Zen philosophy, the ego is like a coin. It has 2 sides and w/o 2 sides the coin or the ego cannot exist.  A proper balance between the good ego and the bad must be achieved.

The good one is giving us joy, the bad one …pain. As long as we accept this balance, we are dong OK.

THANK YOU Oakville Zen Team

#260 OUR SOUNDLESS VOICE Feb. 17th 19

                            Our soundless voice 

This soundless voice comes from our brain- mind in the form of thoughts and feelings either positive or negative.

Between 70,000 and 150,000/day. This inner voice is continuous and, coming from our own mind, we are, therefore, talking to ourselves and, on the top of that, we are also faithful listeners to what we are saying to ourselves. Because the talker and the listener are the same person and coming from the same mind, we strongly believe in our inner soundless fictional voice. Crazy situation! Of course we do need to think when judgments and decisions must be taken in our day-to-day activities but these decisional thoughts represent a very small proportion of this silent and relentless mind-made sound track.

Zen teaching is very clear on this wacky phenomenon:  “Watch your mind all the time and don’t trust all its thoughts and feelings, since many of them are ego driven, or just dreams and w/o decision “

This is mindfulness in action.

Here are several “recordings” of our mind-made ego-driven inner voice followed by their Zen replies.

I want happiness as much as I can & as often as possible says my little voice.

——Zen: Being happy is fine but seeking ongoing search for happiness, material or not will never stop.  This ongoing, never ended search is, by definition, the antithesis of happiness.

I must resist and fight my negative emotions such as anger, fear, grief, resentment, boredom, anxiety, negative judgment. Etc. says the inner voice.

——-Zen: On the contrary. If you do so, you are feeding energy to your negative emotions and pain will increase. This pain is self-created as long as your unobserved mind runs your life. The pain that we created    is almost always some form of non-acceptance and subconscious resistance to your feelings. Accepting them is key if you want to deal with them effectively.

I am thinking therefore I am says the little voice. Descartes said that 400 years ago and we believe that.

——–Zen: Not so. When you observe your thoughts you are achieving a higher level of consciousness.  You then discover that thoughts are just that and represent only a little part of yourself Rather then believing that you are our thoughts and feelings, be the awareness and observer of them. By doing so, you realize that you not the thoughts but an independent entity from them.

I am in control of my life says the voice.

——–Zen: Only a tiny part of it. It is just a wishful thinking. We don’t control anything such as events and people. Trying to master this outside world is a great source of frustration & unhappiness

I am missing the past and regret dearly my previous mistake says the voice.

——–Zen: The past is dead. Accept it rather then being prisoner of your past all the time.

I am anxious and worried about the future says the voice.

——–Zen: Of course, planning is necessary but the future is not born and still fictional. Negative feelings about its potential events are also a tool of our mind to upset our present moment and making it miserable.

Consider past/present as very efficient tools of the mind to control you and spoiling the present moment, the only reality whatever exiting or mundane.

I am unhappy most of the time says the silent  voice.

——–Zen: We believe people, events and situations are causing suffering, dissatisfaction and unhappiness but, ultimately, this is not so. Our resistance and non-acceptance to them are the real culprits since most of these outside factors are not in our control.

Things can last; I have time says the voice.

———Zen: Nothing , good or bad, lasts forever. Only ongoing change is permanent and everything is transient.

For many reasons, I don’t like too much myself says the soundless voice.

———Zen: Because of our education to push for better insight and self-criticism, poor self-image is an endemic disease in our Western world. Fixing our flaws is one thing to be done but suffering from an permanent poor-self image is counter productive, even destructive. Accept yourself as you are and don’t identify yourself with your negativities. Rather, express self-compassion and empathy. It will help you greatly to do the same for others.

#259 EGO: Best friend & worse enemy Jan. 26th 19

                        Our ego: best friend and worse enemy

Definition:   Our opinion and perception of ourselves physically, mentally, emotionally and socially.It is our own created self-image with its positive and negative components, which can be true or false.By definition, our ego takes everything personally whether the causes are right or wrong.

Like an iceberg, most of our ego is submerged deep into our subconscious mind and, yet, its poweris such that our day-to-day behaviors such as physical, mental and emotional are almost totally under its control. Ego is like a coin. It has 2 sides. They are entangled and one cannot exist w/o the other one. What is good and what is bad?

What is good about our ego?

It is our best friend. Without it, our survival, our body- mental-emotional functions and our numerous daily functions would be impossible. Without the powerful protective shield of our ego, we would not survive in this demanding/changing world.

There are no points to enumerate all beneficial values of our ego.

What is bad about our ego?

Being over protective and a relentless fighter, our ego is also our worse enemy. This is the other side of the coin.

This second aspect of the ego is more important to deal with than the first one because knowing its negative attributes is the only way to minimize its impacts and to get inner serenity.

Imagine your ego being a silent octopus with multiple sprawling arms:

1) Shield and scaffold to protect our self-entity, 2) Mighty warrior to conquer, to control, to convince, to fight and to win, 3) A mask that we put to act in different roles such as family, and socio-professional,  4) and finally, a very powerful hacker of our own mind.

The power of our ego to hack our mind is extremely efficient. Here are some tricks used by our ego-mind.

1 Its most used and effective tool to hack our mind is by creating emotions whatever positive or negative and to create infinite illusions, delusions and unrealistic expectations. Our ego-driven emotions are the best trick to control us, and our ego-mind loves to control us using emotions as weapon.

Examples: He is a master in creating poor self-image, negative feelings such as anger, fear, resentment, grief, jealousy, worries and many more. All of them are addictive even if we want to get rid-off them.

2 The second effective tool of our ego-mind is to create and maintain a mind-set full of opinions, ideas intolerance, and judgments. We feel “good” about them but at the same time this mind-set is a trap.  This is why Zen cultivates the opposite that is an “Open mind also called “No mind”

3 The third tool to hack us is to transport us into the past and future in which we believe that we exist.

4 The forth weapon of the ego is to create this false notion that we are a permanent, unique, independent, separate and self-sustained entity. All of this is not true. We are all interdependent. These illusions create a feeling of separateness from others, if not loneliness.

5 The fifth weapon of our ego-mind is probably the most important because it is the main source of our endless desires, craving, attachment, hatred and illusion/ delusion called ignorance. All of them are responsible of our unhappiness and dissatisfaction.

How to overcome our ego?

We cannot because, like the coin, it is impossible to remove one side w/o removing the other one.

The practice of meditation is a wonderful way to explore our ego and try to deal with it efficiently that is in a pragmatic way..

Here are few tricks that you can learn and use to minimize the negative or detrimental ego:Is it my ego thinking or doing this and why?   

1) Are “X” true reality or ego-made fiction?

2)  If it is my ego, is it the good or the bad one?

3)Accept yourself, your self-image and your negative feelings as they are such as anger, grief, worries, etc Improvements are possible as long as the emotional state is under control and acceptance is the key tool to achieve this goal.

4) Stop being offended or feeling that you are a victim or that you are always right or always wrong.

5)Letting go the following: control, being always right or thinking that you are, useless judgments, having more and more of this and that, identifying yourself with your achievements, being too often in past and future where you don’t exist practicing selfish behavior,

6)Accepting that events, people and the world are what they are and not what you want them to be.

7)Be empathic if not compassionate with yourself if you want to achieve the same with others.


#258: The nature of consciousness Jan. 20th 19

The Nature of Consciousness from the perspective of Eastern Philosophy

Just as the Bible and the Koran form the basis of Christian and Muslim beliefs, the Vedas ( literally means Books of Knowledge ) written by several saints and sages going back over 10,000 years ago, form the basis of Hinduism. The knowledge contained in the Vedas is collectively known as Vedanta.

Vedanta acknowledges the fact that all human beings come in this world with different personalities. The common thread which runs through each of these personalities is “Consciousness”. The consciousness can simply be understood as Energy. In fact, it is this energy that enlivens the three factors of the human personality.  These are:  the physical aspect, (body), the emotional or psychological aspect ( mind) and the thinking or rational aspect( intellect). To understand the relationship between the Consciousness, the body, emotions and thought aspect we can consider consciousness as the electrical energy that energizes the circuit of body, emotions and thought which, by themselves, are inert.

Our daily interaction in the world is based on what the mind, through its senses, sees, hears, feels or desires. Because the world around us is constantly changing, our mind is also in a constant state of flux.  This is the source of emotional turbulence. Twenty five hundred years ago, Buddha recognized this and based his teachings on the control of the mind.

So how can we manage this turbulence? The answer is meditation through mindfulness. One of the ways of doing it is to sit comfortably and observe our breath going in and out. One can substitute anything else as the anchor point of one’s meditation such as total darkness, the sounds of nature etc.  Thus the busy mind has something to do and does not go into its default settings of the past regrets and anxieties of the future. The trick is to be alert to the wanderings of the mind. As soon as you realize that it is wandering, immediately bring it back to the anchor point.

To summarize, the real us is the Consciousness which is pure, stable, eternal and unchanging. It is in a constant state of equanimity and balance. However, through ignorance, we identify ourselves with the Body and Mind (which are both always changing) and thus face the world of change and experience suffering and turbulence. Inner spiritual journey starts with “taming” the mind. We can achieve this by regular meditation.  Over a period of time of regular meditation, we develop this inner tranquility and equanimity which is our real Self. This is what the great spiritual masters have been advocating.

#257 USING OUR 5 SENSES TO “PAUSE” our restless mind Jan 13 19

                                   Using one of our 5 senses to “pause” our restless mind

Description of this short mindfulness on-the-go exercise:

Several times a day, pause, pick one of your 5 senses such as vision, hearing, touch, taste or smell and then, pay attention , at this precise moment, to a selected target. The mind/brain, being very sensitive to our 5 senses, has no other choice but to comply. You are pressing the pause key by shortening the circuits of our restless mind. By doing so, you will discover what you are failing to notice all day long.

Most of the time, the process is reversed because our attention is always dictated by what our mind is thinking. We are, as Zen says, on mind-made auto-pilot or automatic physical and mental behavior.


#256 Mindfulness meditation: how it works & what it does?

                                          Mindfulness Meditation: What it does & how it works?


Meditation: Sitting meditation technique that focus our attention, in a mindful way, on body

posture/sensations, breathing , environment and, after awhile, mental relaxation.

Mindfulness: focusing /paying attention to x, y, z w/o intention, analysis, judgment and decision.

Mindfulness meditation: Is recognized now as a special form of cognitive behavioral therapy in which

cognitive or analytic process is replaced by simple observation, that is reflecting things as they are

and not as we want them to be. It is acting like a like a mirror.

What makes mindfulness meditation different from other types of meditation is the absence of external instruments such as music, video, guidance or mantra. No gimmicks, you are on your own.

How the benefits of mindfulness meditation leading to self-awareness come from?