Mindfulness meditation leads to insight into the nature of our hearts and minds, revealing an inherent clarity, openness, and ease. This course includes exploration of the intention behind practice, an introduction to insight (vipassana) meditation techniques, instructions for working with common obstacles, an overview of the practice of lovingkindness, and a discussion on how mindfulness can be part of one’s daily life.
Introduction to Mindfulness Meditation
Mindfulness is the practice of opening to and accepting life just as it is - a constantly changing, conditioned process. To begin, we must make the necessary effort to calm the mind and body. Without this first step our intention to be present is often overwhelmed by our habits of reactivity and struggle - trying to fix or control the conditions of the moment. To calm the mind and body we practice connecting and sustaining our attention to ordinary experience in each moment; for example, the sensations of the breath coming and going or the sensations of lifting and placing each foot as we walk. This simple and clear patient knowing is at the heart of mindfulness practice.
Tranquility arises by training the attention to return to the present moment experience over and over again. This training is directed by an understanding heart that appreciates that no matter how difficult it appears to be, our practice is to recognize what is happening and to gently return the attention to the conditions as they are in the moment. It is our persistent effort that calms the mind, energizes our practice and leads to insight. We can use ordinary experience, such as the breath, as a refuge - a place to keep coming back to. Over time, this capacity to be present becomes a great friend and allows us to relate to all experience with greater clarity, trust and acceptance. The ability to abide with the flow of experience creates the context for insight to arise. Wisdom, compassion and peace of equanimity are the fruit of these deepening insights.Mark Nunberg