Becoming Aware of Your Breath

Start by counting breaths.

Quietly sit somewhere and Observe your breathing. Just continue to breath in your normal way.

Then start counting breaths…as you inhale count one as you exhale count two and so on up to 10.

You can picture in your mind the numbers if you would like.

Remember to pull your mind back to the counting of your breath when it wanders.

Repeat counting 1 through 10 again.

~Wishing you well this day,

The Mindful Gatekeeper

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Just Do It

When practicing Mindfulness first you Observe, then you Describe then you Participate….which is you getting completely into your experience.

Let go of thoughts and ruminations and get completely immersed in what you are doing.

“Completely forgetting yourself”…(actual quote from DBT)

We have to put ourselves to the side so that we can become immersed into an experience and not self conscious.

Be able to do without thinking. Like dancing.

Act from your own Wise Mind in an intuitive way.

You have a role, you must focus on the way things ARE.

Learn to accept things as they are.

~Wishing you the best today,

The Mindful Gatekeeper

Become Immersed Within The Experience

The Singing Bowl

While I was in class we used a Singing Bowl to begin and end our practice sessions. To this day I find I love the ringing sound the bowl makes and how it triggers Mindfulness. Here is a little bit of information about the bowl:

“Singing bowls (also known as Tibetan Singing Bowls, rin gongs, Himalayan bowls or suzu gongs) are a type of bell, specifically classified as a standing bell. Rather than hanging inverted or attached to a handle, singing bowls sit with the bottom surface resting. The sides and rim of singing bowls vibrate to produce sound characterized by a fundamental frequency (first harmonic) and usually two audible harmonic overtones (second and third harmonic). According to singing bowl researcher Joseph Feinstein, singing bowls were traditionally used in Asia and the tradition of making sound with bronze bowls could go back 3,000 or more years to the Bronze Age.

Singing bowls are used worldwide for meditation, music, relaxation, and personal well-being. They are used by a wide range of professionals, including health professionals, school teachers, musicians and spiritual teachers. Singing bowls are used in health care by psychotherapists, massage therapists, cancer specialists, stress and meditation specialists. They are used to help treat cancer patients and also for post traumatic stress disorder. They are popular in classrooms to help facilitate group activities and focus students’ attention.”…Wikipedia

Here is a soothing video featuring a Singing Bowl. Be in the moment with the sound…..pull your mind back to the sound when needed…Let other thoughts just travel by you like a train going by…see them (Observe only) and let them travel by.

 

Practice:

MINDFULNESS BELL

 

 

Wishing you well on this day~

The Mindful Gatekeeper

Putting Words On An Experience

After learning to Observe we learn to put words on an experience.

We did a little of that in the chair exercise but the main point was to become aware of how to practice simple Observation.

When you put words on an experience you Describe an experience with words. The practice of putting words on an experience is not judging an experience.

When you Describe you use non judgemental statements to communicate what is happening at that moment.

If you are presently walking you might say “Step, Step, Step”. Or if you are driving you might say ” My hands are on the wheel. The wheel is firm and cool”…or “Turning, Turning”.

The key is to recognize what you are doing in the very moment you’re doing it and to Describe your actions in the most basic way without judgemental words (highly charged descriptive words and adjectives).

Let’s say your sad. You would say ” A feeling of sadness has come over me”. This way you won’t get caught up in your feeling.

One of the most famous sayings I learned from DBT is quote..” A thought is just a thought, a feeling just a feeling.”

Sometimes we have thoughts that are overwhelming. Like “There is no way I can do this”. When using Describe you would say..” A thought of ‘There is no way I can do this’ has come through my mind”. Again you are putting distance between you and the thought that may create a strong emotional pull that gets you caught up in Emotional Mind…where you can’t see the truth as clearly.

Another great visual learned in DBT is the emotional snowball effect.  Emotions can “snowball” when not properly acknowledged. A great example is the commercial on TV where a snowball starts small and just keeps growing so large that it takes out the neighbor man’s car at work. When we get “caught up in the content”(descriptive adjectives (judgemental words) this can prompt further emotional responses that can obscure the reality of a situation. We have trouble seeing clearly when we are caught up in Emotional Mind. Emotions, which are natural and valid, want to be acknowledged and to run their course. We need to know what that course entails and where the function of emotion starts and stops.

So why not try the chair exercise (underneath the Seeing Deeply post) and use purposefully use  Observe with Describe.

It doesn’t hurt to keep refreshing. Go back to The Learning to See post if needed.

Wishing you well this day~

The Mindful Gatekeeper

Give It A Try

Okay now it is time to practice simple mindfulness using observation.

Start with a simple focus. Here is the easiest most concrete example I know:

For about 2-3 minutes focus on the chair you are sitting in.
First of all set a timer and then try to observe ( post #2 ) how the chair feels. Is it hard? Soft? Cool? Observe the chair and your backside on the chair.

WHEN YOUR ATTENTION WANDERS….JUST BRING IT BACK TO THE CHAIR.

Your attention will wander and Mindfulness is taking action to bring your mind back…you must be the mindful gatekeeper of your own mind. Sometimes it takes you a few moments or so to notice your mind has wandered and that is normal…just bring it on back to your focus. Reserve your judgement when your mind wanders and come back to observing the chair.

We will be practicing various exercises as time passes.

Learning to become Mindful strengthens your mind. To see your own mind strengthen is very validating and this validation produces great joy! Try and practice throughout your week.

Wishing you well this day~

The Mindful Gatekeeper

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Ikea chair….google.com

Two Videos To Introduce You To Mindfulness

Mindfulness can help everyone have a more complete and peaceful life. Here are 2 videos that help introduce the concept of Mindfulness.

The first link is more secular/psychological presentation from Garden of Now

INTRODUCTION TO MINDFULNESS

The second link features Thich Nhat Hahn a Vietnamese Buddhist Monk, Peace Activist, Teacher, and Author

WHAT IS MINDFULNESS

Enjoy!

The Mindful Gatekeeper