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Seven Minute Mindfulness

Five Steps to Mindfulness

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guided meditation

As Patanjali's Yoga Sutra (2:46-48) says about asana: It is stable and easeful, accompanied by the relaxation of effort and the arising of coalescence, revealing the body and the infinite universe as indivisible. Then one is no longer disturbed by the play of opposites.

But that is easier said than done. Not for nothing is the mind likened to a drunken monkey! It is easy to become caught in an ever-proliferating chain of thought. Even when you're trying to focus on one object, a thought can arise, which leads to another, and yet another, until 15 minutes later, you wake up from some four-star daydream or sexual fantasy or fretful worry over unpaid bills!

There is a distinct but subtle difference between being aware of a thought and thinking a thought. It's primarily a difference of"feeling tone," the felt sense (physically and energetically) of experience. A thought you are aware of with bare attention—with neither grasping nor aversion—feels light; you sense distance between the thought and the awareness of it. With no reactivity to feed it, it arises like a bubble and eventually "pops" or "self-liberates." Conscious thinking feels heavier. Its obsessive, compulsive quality pulls you in and takes control of your consciousness.

Choiceless awareness requires mind-fulness, a mode that is accepting and non-reactive. You have a willingness to be with your lived experience as it actually is and not as you would like it to be. You don't seek another state of being or distract yourself from your present situation.

Just dropping into such choiceless awareness without any methods for getting there is extremely difficult. The following meditation is designed to cultivate the stability, reflectivity, and resilient equanimity needed for choiceless awareness. The meditation is made up of three parts that can be practiced independently or combined into a graduated path.

The Mountain Meditation is the most concrete of the three. It cultivates stability and can help in dealing with anxiety and restlessness. Lake Meditation cultivates the quality of reflectivity that lessens the reactivity of the comparing and judging mind. And finally, Big Sky Meditation opens us to choiceless awareness.

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