Saturday, October 12, 2013

Expanding Awareness Meditation Practice

In his book Beyond Happiness: The Zen Way to True Contentment Ezra Bayda offers an expanding awareness meditation practice for quelling the anxious quiver of being.  I've used it several times to quiet, accept, and understand the stress I create for myself.  I find it very effective.   

The first step is to mindfully stop and sit for a few minutes and begin noticing only your breath.  You don't have to sit in a formal meditation position.  Anywhere is fine: your couch, your office chair, your seat on the plane, your car before you start it or stop it and move on to the next moment.  You become aware of your body.  You notice how you've placed your hands and legs.  You notice any tightness, soreness, or pain or the absence of them.  You pay attention to your breathing, the air filling your lungs, and the air released through your nose.  You count your breath and once you reach fifty breaths you begin the second step.

The second step takes you outside of yourself and into your immediate surroundings.  You mindfully notice where you are without any judgments.  You become aware of what you see and what you hear.  You place your emphasis on the senses rather than the mind.  You do this for several minutes.  If your mind wanders to whatever you are worrying or wondering about, as it is apt to do, you take a breath, notice your breath again, and the environment you hear and see.    

Once you've done this for a minute or so, you move on to the third step.  You move outside yourself and your surroundings and become aware of this tiny moment in the vast expanse of moments that have existed and will exist in  eternity.  You envision yourself sitting in this moment in the universe and eternity.  Here and now: this moment, right now: universe, eternity.  This is a good reminder that whatever worries you is small in the grand scheme of things.  You are grain of sand on a million mile beach existing for millennium.  This awareness isn't about the insignificance or meaningless of your life.  Quite the opposite: your life is significant and meaningful.  What is happening shall pass and you can continue with the ordinary and everyday importance of living a significant and meaningful life. 

These three awareness are expanding circles of awareness that create a sense of perspective and peace. 

Allowing ourselves to become mindful throughout the day and giving ourselves this short opportunity several times a day or week to calm our minds and to ground us in the present moment with more acceptance and ease and less anxiousness and unease allows us to appreciate the present moment and let go of our frustration and fear, solve our frustration and fear, and move forward confidently and calmly despite our frustration and fear.  

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