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Capturing the moments of your life

Most people go through their day without being fully aware of this present moment. You can easily observe the mind’s habit of escaping from the present moment for yourself. Just try to keep your attention focused on any object for even a short period of time. You will find it is nearly impossible because your mind is wandering to some thought or image that has nothing to do with what you are focusing on.

The best way to capture the present moment is to pay attention. This is how we cultivate mindfulness. Mindfulness means being awake. It helps to have a focus for your attention, an anchor line to tether you to the present moment and to guide you back when the mind wanders.

The breath serves this purpose exceedingly well. Our breathing can help us in capturing our moments. To use your breath to nurture mindfulness, just pay attention to it as you breathe naturally. That is all that is required to snap us back to the present moment. Just keep on returning to the breath when the mind wanders. This simple breathing exercise will bring you inner peace and calm during your waking hours.

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10 steps to mindfulness

Life is just a series of moments. If we are not fully present for many of those moments, we go through life without really living. The practice of mindfulness is the art of consciously living. But more importantly, being present is undoubtedly the only way to enjoy life to the fullest. By being mindful, you enjoy your food more, you enjoy friends and family more, you enjoy anything you’re doing more. Anything, even things you might think are drudgery or boring, such as housework, can be amazing if you are truly present. Try it – wash dishes or sweep or cook, and remain fully present. It takes practice, but it’s incredible. Below are 10 steps you can take to live more in the present.

1. Do one thing at a time. Single-task, don’t multi-task. When you’re pouring water, just pour water. When you’re eating, just eat. When you’re bathing, just bathe. Don’t try to knock off a few tasks while eating or bathing or driving. Zen proverb: “When walking, walk. When eating, eat.”

2. Do it slowly and deliberately. You can do one task at a time, but also rush that task. Instead, take your time, and move slowly. Make your actions deliberate, not rushed and random. It takes practice, but it helps you focus on the task.

3. Do less. If you do less, you can do those things more slowly, more completely and with more concentration. If you fill your day with tasks, you will be rushing from one thing to the next without stopping to think about what you do. But you’re busy and you can’t possibly do less, right? You can. I’ve done it, and so have many busy people. It’s a matter of figuring out what’s important, and letting go of what’s not.

4. Put space between things.
Related to the “Do less” rule, but it’s a way of managing your schedule so that you always have time to complete each task. Don’t schedule things close together – instead, leave room between things on your schedule. That gives you a more relaxed schedule, and leaves space in case one task takes longer than you planned.

5. Spend at least 5 minutes each day doing nothing.
Just sit in silence. Become aware of your thoughts. Focus on your breathing. Notice the world around you. Become comfortable with the silence and stillness. It’ll do you a world of good – and just takes 5 minutes!

6. Stop worrying about the future – focus on the present. Become more aware of your thinking – are you constantly worrying about the future? Learn to recognize when you’re doing this, and then practice bringing yourself back to the present. Just focus on what you’re doing, right now. Enjoy the present moment.

7. When you’re talking to someone, be present. How many of us have spent time with someone but have been thinking about what we need to do in the future? Or thinking about what we want to say next, instead of really listening to that person? Instead, focus on being present, on really listening, on really enjoying your time with that person.

8. Eat slowly and savor your food. Food can be crammed down our throats in a rush, but where’s the joy in that? Savor each bite, slowly, and really get the most out of your food. Interestingly, you’ll eat less this way, and digest your food better as well.

9. Live slowly and savor your life. Just as you would savor your food by eating it more slowly, do everything this way – slow down and savor each and every moment. Tune into the sights and sounds and awaken your senses to the world around you.

10. Make cleaning and cooking become meditation. Cooking and cleaning are often seen as drudgery, but actually they are both great ways to practice mindfulness, and can be great rituals performed each day. If cooking and cleaning seem like boring chores to you, try doing them as a form of meditation. Put your entire mind into those tasks, concentrate, and do them slowly and completely. It could change your entire day (as well as leave you with a cleaner house).

Source: ThirdAge.com

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21 ways to be more mindful during the workday

Did you know that 75% of all doctor vists are stress-related? Stress can make us unhappy and shorten our life. One of the biggest source of stress is work. Below are 21 ways to be more mindful during the workday:

1. Take between five and forty minutes in the morning to be quiet and meditate.

2. While your car is warming up, take a minute quietly paying attention to your breathing.

3. While driving, become aware of bodily tension, such as your hands wrapped tightly around the steering wheel, your shoulders raised and stomach tight. Consciously work at releasing and dissolving that tension.

4. Don’t play the radio or put on any music. Just be with the sounds that are going on.

5. Slow down. If you do highway driving, experiment with riding in the right lane, going five miles per hour below the speed limit.

6. When stopped at a red light or toll plaza, pay attention to your breathing and to the sky, the trees or your quality of mind.

7. Once you park at your workplace, take a moment to orient yourself to your workday. Use the walk across the parking lot to step into your working life, to know where you are and where you are going.

8. While sitting at your desk or other workspace, pay attention to bodily sensations, again consciously attempt to relax and rid yourself of excess tension.

9. Use your breaks to really relax rather than simply to pause.
Instead of having coffee or a cigarette, or reading, try taking a short walk or just sit quietly in your workspace renewing yourself.

10. At lunchtime, don’t stay at your workspace, instead try changing your environment. Go to a park and meditate for a few minutes.

11. If you have one, try closing your door and take some time to consciously relax.

12. Stop for one to three minutes every hour during the workday. Become aware of your breathing and bodily sensations, allowing your mind to settle. Use it as a time to regroup and recoup.

13. Use the everyday cues in your environment as reminders to “center” yourself. For example, when you get a reminder alert of your next meeting, take a moment to get quiet and observe your breathing.

14. Take some time at lunch or other moments in the day to speak with some of the people you work with. Try choosing topics that are not work related.

15. Choose to eat one or two lunches every week in silence. Use the time to eat slowly and just be with yourself.

16. At the end of the workday, try retracing your day’s activities, acknowledge and congratulate yourself for what you’ve accomplished. Then make a list for tomorrow. You’ve done enough today!

17. During the walk to your car, pay attention to your environment. Listen to the sounds around you. Can you walk without feeling rushed? What happens when you slow down?

18. At the end of the workday, while your car is warming up, sit quietly and consciously make the transition from work to home.
Take a moment to simple be. Enjoy it for a moment.

19. While driving, notice if you are rushing. What does that feel like? What could you do about it? After all, you’re in control.

20. When you pull into your driveway or park on the street, take a minute to orient yourself to being with your family again or to entering your home.

21. Try changing out of your work clothes when you get home. This simple act may help you make a smoother transition ifrom work to home. Try making the time to take five to ten minutes to be quiet and still. If you live alone, feel what it is like to enter the quiet space of your home, the feeling entering your environment.

Source: Mindfulness and Money: The Buddhist Path of Abundance

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Top 6 ways to quiet your mind

Researchers estimate that we have about 10,000 to 50,000 thoughts each day, which adds up to over a billions thoughts in a lifetime! During our waking consciousness, we are thinking all the time.

When our mind is quiet, we begin to feel peace and happiness. Below are ways to cultivate a quiet mind.

1. Meditate. Meditation is one of the best ways to quiet your mind. In the beginning, it will feel like you are thinking much more during your meditation. This is not true. You are just noticing how much you think. With practice and proper instructions, you will start to distance yourself from your thoughts more and more during meditation.

2. Slow down. In our fast-paced society, we forget to slow down and enjoy life. We rush from one activity to another in our quest to get everything done now. In order to go fast in life, you need to slow down.

3. Practice mindfulness. Mindfulness is a fun practice that you can do throughout the day. It is essentially monitoring your thoughts all day and removing anything negative that pop up your mind.

4. Have moments of silence. During the day, close your eyes, observe your breath and listen to the sounds around you.

5. Spend time in nature. Being alone in nature is very good for your spirit. Nature has the ability to renew us in many ways. Notice that you don’t think as much when you are in nature.

6. Get your life in order. If you have a lot of loose ends in your life, you need to find ways to bring order to them. You will notice an immediate change in your consciousness when your life is tight.

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The secret of happiness is to stay focused

I once heard this quote, “Positive thinking is better than negative thinking. No thinking is better than positive thinking.” New research shows that when people’s minds drifted from the task or activity at hand, they reported being less happy than when they were fully engaged in whatever they were doing. In other words, we are at our happiest when we are fully engaged in some activity that we enjoy or passionate about.

Our mind is constantly reflecting on the past, planning for the future and worrying about things that might never occur. When we do not live in the present moment, we feel less happy.

When we meditate we make our mind silent. When the mind is silent that is perfect meditation. In the beginning, we learn to have less thoughts during meditation. But eventually, we want to go beyond thought so that we can experience the peace that is inside each of us. This state of no thought is where true happiness resides.

During the day when you are not meditating, you can practice mindfulness. Mindfulness is monitoring your mind all day and all night. The goal of mindfulness is to be fully present in the moment. The more mindful you are the more happy you become.

This research appeared in the November 12 issue of Science magazine under the article title, “A Wandering Mind is an Unhappy Mind”.

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10 simple things you can do to achieve inner peace

Most of us dream of retiring some day in paradise. The stress and frustration of daily life can makes us feel like escaping from the world. The trick to achieving inner peace right now is to slow down and live in the moment. Here are 10 simple things you can do to achieve inner peace:

1. Do one thing at a time. Single-task, don’t multi-task.

2. Do it slowly and deliberately. Make your actions deliberate, not rushed and random. It takes practice, but it helps you focus on the task.

3. Do less. If you do less, you can do those things more slowly, more completely and with more concentration. If you fill your day with tasks, you will be rushing from one thing to the next without stopping to think about what you do.

4. Put space between things. Don’t schedule things close together — instead, leave room between things on your schedule. That gives you a more relaxed schedule, and leaves space in case one task takes longer than you planned.

5. Spend at least 5 minutes each day doing nothing. Just sit in silence. Become aware of your thoughts. Focus on your breathing. Notice the world around you. Become comfortable with the silence and stillness.

6. Stop worrying about the future – focus on the present. Become more aware of your thinking — are you constantly worrying about the future? Learn to recognize when you’re doing this, and then practice bringing yourself back to the present. Just focus on what you’re doing, right now. Enjoy the present moment.

7. When you’re talking to someone, be present. How many of us have spent time with someone but have been thinking about what we need to do in the future? Or thinking about what we want to say next, instead of really listening to that person? Instead, focus on being present, on really listening, on really enjoying your time with that person.

8. Eat slowly and savor your food. Savor each bite, slowly, and really get the most out of your food. Interestingly, you’ll eat less this way, and digest your food better as well.

9. Live slowly and savor your life. Just as you would savor your food by eating it more slowly, do everything this way — slow down and savor each and every moment.

10. Make cleaning and cooking become meditation. Cooking and cleaning are often seen as drudgery, but actually they are both great ways to practice mindfulness, and can be great rituals performed each day. If cooking and cleaning seem like boring chores to you, try doing them as a form of meditation. Put your entire mind into those tasks, concentrate, and do them slowly and completely.

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The nature of mindfulness

With the practice of meditation and mindfulness, you have some of the best ways to deal with our stressful world. Here is another great article on mindfulness. Below are some gems that I got out of the article.

Our capacity for vivid imagination can make things worse if our thoughts run towards worried concerns for the future or regretful ruminations over the past. When our mind is “unsupervised” it can get into a lot of trouble, creating stress overload. Mindfulness shows us how to supervise our minds. With mindfulness practice we learn to supervise our minds in a gentle and skillful way.

Mindfulness is not about suppressing thinking but recognizing that it is occurring and not elaborating it automatically and without choice.

Our minds don’t want to stay in the present and will keep going to the future and past or talking about the present rather than being with the present.

To better realize the “simple” nature of mindfulness, most of us need to train our minds and for that reason we practice mindfulness meditation.

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5 simple ways to live in the moment

Be here now. This is the mantra that we should following during our waking hours. We spend way too much time thinking about the past and worrying about the future. By the end of the day, we are mentally and emotionally drained.

If we practice mindfulness we will actually be able to gain energy throughout the day. Mindfulness is a practice that you can do during the day when you are not formally doing your sitting meditation. By living in the now, you will reduce your stress and be much more happy.

This article talks about 5 simple ways to stay focused on the present. The 5 ways are:

1. Count your blessings.

Think about that in your life for which you are grateful. Acknowledge the abundance that you already have in your life. Say “thank you” often to confirm (to yourself and to others) that you genuinely appreciate even the little things.

2. Stop and smell the roses.

Notice the richness of your surroundings and what each of your five senses are perceiving. Whether you are taking a walk on a beautiful day or quietly folding laundry at home, pause for a moment to notice the details that are part of your experience.

3. Observe your breath.

Don’t try to control it, but simply pay attention to its rhythm. Then start to bring awareness into every part of your body. This is a powerful way to reconnect with the unchanging “aliveness” that exists within you, which is separate from your thoughts.

4. Make eye contact.

It’s hard not to be fully present when you are staring another person in the eye. Be a good listener. When you interact with someone, try to really tune in to not only what they are saying, but how they are saying it.

5. Take a hint from those who seem to get it.

Observe your children, grandchildren or pets. Notice how they seem always to be immersed in whatever is “now,” rather than being dragged down with regret or worry. Or take a cue from anyone in your life who seems to “live in the now.”

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Live in the moment

The practice of mindfulness is what you do when you are not formally meditating. This is a practice where you learn to be here now. The key to transforming your life is to enjoy every moment of it. The secret is to do every little and big task with your whole attention. A nice article about mindfulness.

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Mindfulness in sports

Sports can be a form of meditation when we engage it with our full attention. The talking mind becomes quiet, and fully absorbed in the action of the moment. We are not lost in thoughts about the past and worries or planning for the future. We are not telling stories about the activity or anything else. We are present. There is a steady living presence in the fullness of the moment. This is the state of mindfulness.
Read more here.

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