We learn to be present with whatever unfolds in the senses instead of being torn away from the present moment by the thinking mind. As energy flows into and within our ears (sounds), eyes (forms), nose (aromas), tongue (taste), body (touch, emotions, sexuality) and mind (thoughts), we cultivate attention to all the wildness coming into being and dissolving in our senses. Understanding that all physical and mental events are not constant or permanent, we hold them lightly and train ourselves to live deeply each moment of daily life.
He who binds to himself a joy
Does the winged life destroy
He who kisses the joy as it flies
Lives in eternity’s sunrise.
Joseph Goldstein has been leading insight and lovingkindness meditation retreats worldwide since 1974. He is a cofounder of the Insight Meditation Society in Barre, Massachusetts, where he is one of the organization’s guiding teachers. In 1989, together with several other teachers and students of insight meditation, he helped establish the Barre Center for Buddhist Studies. His work includes Mindfulness: A Practical Guide to Awakening, book and accompanying meditations, and if you want to go deeper, Abiding in Mindfulness, Vol. 1 (Body), Vol. 2 (On Feeling, The Mind & Dhamma) and Vol. 3 (On Dhamma).
Practice ideas for presence.
Practice: We use mindfulness meditation to learn to be present with whatever unfolds in the senses instead of being torn away from the present moment by the thinking mind. We practice the meditation taught by the Buddha in the Satipatthana Sutta. We meditate for 40 minutes alternating between sitting and walking meditation and then listen to a talk to deepen our practice. You may meditate on a chair or bring your own meditation pillow. We also have a group on the Insight Meditation Timer to encourage one another in our practice between meetings.
Walking meditation is the application of mindfulness to movement.
Origins of Mindfulness
Two Buddhist suttas:
Practice: We seek to master the eight breathing exercises in Dr. Andrew Weil’s course on Breathing: The Master Key to Self-Healing.
To learn the art of healthy breathing, Dr. Weil turned to Eastern traditions, including yoga, which view the breath as a vital link to the prana, or energy of the universe. In easy-to-follow language, he explains the secret of breathwork’s power over your health, and its remarkable ability to influence ― and even reprogram ― the nervous system.
By the end of the course, faeries will be able to:
- Explain how overstimulation of the sympathetic nervous system contributes to health issues.
- Describe the relationship between breath and spirituality.
- Apply breathwork techniques to increase alertness and relaxation.
- Practice guided exercises for restored wellness over time.
Three examples of the breathing practices in the course:
Practice: We practice yoga by mastering the poses in the Integral Yoga Hatha by Yogiraj Sri Swami Satchidananda.
Resources for exploring presence.
- Introduction to Meditation, Gil Fronsdal.
- Mindfulness: A Practical Guide to Awakening, book and accompanying meditations, Joseph Goldstein.
- Abiding in Mindfulness, Vol. 1 (Body), Vol. 2 (On Feeling, The Mind & Dhamma) and Vol. 3 (On Dhamma), Joseph Goldstein.
- Insight Timer.
- The Dhammapada, Buddha, Gil Fronsdal (translator), audio.
- Satipatthana: The Direct Path to Realization (pdf), Analayo
- The Fourteen Mindfulness Trainings, Thich Nhat Hanh.
- The Taoist Way, Alan Watts.
- Tao Te Ching, Lao Tzu, Stephen Mitchell (translator), text.
- Tao Te Ching, Lao Tzu, Stephen Mitchell (translator), audio.
- Integral Yoga Hatha, Sri Swami Satchidananda (Yoga practice).
- Breathing: The Master Key to Self Healing, Andrew Weil MD.
- The Secret Power of Yoga: A Woman’s Guide to the Heart and Spirit of the Yoga Sutras, Nischala Joy Devi (Yoga philosophy).