What is mindfulness meditation?

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Postby Janette » Tue Dec 15, 2009 4:43 pm

Why Meditate?
Most of the time, our minds are filled with idle thoughts, "roof-brain chatter" it has been called. This "roof-brain chatter" centers our attention on one portion of our conscious mind. It keeps us from looking at the images and feelings at the depths of our experience and, at the same time, shuts out much of the present-time world.

Correcting this state of mind is one of the first steps in awakening spiritual consciousness. Various techniques have been developed to do this - techniques that generally fall into the category of meditations.

Meditation may be thought of as learning to explore the totality of one's consciousness. Through meditation, one can learn to experience more fully the beauty of a sunset, the power of a Beethoven symphony, or the touch of a lover's hand - because one experiences them in present time, without the distraction of idle thoughts. One can also enter the depths of one's being and find areas that for many have been a source of inner wisdom.

One of the problems with meditation is that we in the West are goal oriented. We want to see results. The law of cause and effect is integral to our thinking, so we want to be sure that meditation is the cause of the results we've seen. Unfortunately, meditation doesn't work that way. Its effects are gradual. One doesn't leave every session of meditation with new insights - or even a profound feeling of peace. If one simply spends fifteen minutes with a quiet mind, that is what that meditation should have been. If illuminating thoughts come, that's a bonus. Don't expect them; don't look for them.

Meditation is rather like putting fertilizer on a flower bed. We don't wake up the next morning to a beautiful bed of flowers. When we do see the flowers, two or three months later, we may wonder if they might not have been just as beautiful without the fertilizer. Sometimes students of meditation realize what it has done only when they stop for a while and note that something seems to be missing in their lives.

I'm not going to say any more about specific experiences. It is not good for a beginning student to have an exact idea of what should or should not be happening. Through meditation, you are exploring your own inner space, your own higher consciousness. If you think too much about other people's experiences you will try to explore their inner space and reach their higher consciousness. This is impossible.

From the earthlink website.

Dx LCIS Dec 1997, Dx IDC, DCIS, bilateral LCIS Oct 2005 er+pr+her2-
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Postby Old Ruby » Sat Dec 12, 2009 3:33 am

Sometimes it is difficult to still the mind, even when we are focussing on our breath (prana). If you find you keep lapsing into thinking about what to cook for dinner tonight, or did you hang the washing out, or what was that kid's name that punched you in the boob in grade three 44 years ago, then pranayama (breath meditation) may not be the first course of action for mindful meditation for you. I found with my students (I am a yoga teacher, tho not teaching any classes atm) that they would come in for the 7pm class after having organised dinner for the family, washed the dishes, helped with homework, done a load of washing, got a sitter or organised hubby to finish up with the family and then zoomed into class a bit flustered. After an hour or so of yoga I found many of them could still their mind with candle gazing rather than with mindful meditation. Often they were so tired at the end of the session that if I gave them a meditation they would fall asleep - relaxing but not mindful! The principles of candle gazing do involve focusing on the breath, but because you have your eyes open you are also visually focussing on something and most people find this way the most useful method to learn meditation. You might like to try this - its a truly lovely way to clear the head and make you feel good about being you!

Just pop a nice big candle on a table or the floor so that it is just slightly below your gaze. That way you can gently lower your eyelids to gaze in a relaxed manner at the flame. Make sure you are really comfortable - sit in a dining chair with your bottom touching the backrest, feet resting on the floor, back straight and your shoulders relaxed with your hands gently resting on your lap (or if you have probs with your arms sit in a chair with armrests) - or if you are able to comfortably sit on the floor make sure you dont slouch. As you gaze at the flame breathe naturally without forcing the breath either in or out. Take a relaxed slow breath for the count of 4, hold for 4, then breath out for 4 (or whatever count suits your lungs really - I like 7). Continue doing this as you gaze at the candle flame, noting the colour of the flame, its shape, how the bit near the wick seems to have colours and shapes within it. At all times just focus on the flame and if you can, continue to focus on your breath (this is mindful meditation if you can do this). Every now and then the flame will jump as air hits the flame. If your mind starts to wander back to the realities of life, or you start a conversation with 'someone' in your head, just bring your attention back to the physical appearance of the flame. Describe it in your head if necessary and that will push all other thoughts out of your mind. After practising this for a few days you will then be able to introduce meditation into your candle gazing. As you gaze at the candle and find your mind in a relaxed receptive state just repeat an affirmation to yourself. In my quiet mind I like to introduce the words "My body is strong and healthy, my mind is calm and clear" but just use anything that works for you. Keep it short, concise, and expressed as a positive. As I breathe in a controlled smooth flow of air I say "my body is strong and healthy", I pause and hold the breath comfortably then breathe out to "my mind is calm and clear". Slow and steady....

After you have practised candle gazing for awhile you will find you will then be able to practice mindful meditation without too many problems at all. I find focussing on my breath when I wake in the middle of the night helps to calm my mind. After my op when everything was a bit uncomfortable and I had three little pets to cart around (my varivacs) I did a lot of candle gazing. Basically, its almost like day dreaming but with a little more focus. Enjoy....xxxxx
Live your life in such a way that when your feet hit the floor in the morning, Satan shudders and says, 'Oh sh%#t....she's awake!'

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What is mindfulness meditation?

Postby Janine » Fri Mar 13, 2009 11:51 pm

Mindfulness meditation is hard to explain but I found this great description on a link that Janette posted.


Mindfulness Meditation Based Stress Reduction (MBSR)
Marc Abramson, DDS

Stress is an inherent component of a cancer diagnosis for the patient and the family. The minds' natural tendency to runoff into an infinite number of projections, each with its' own stress and fear, can be a cause of great strain on the individual that will adversely effect the body, mind and spirit.

Mindfulness is training in the practice of bringing the mind into the finite experience of the present moment. This training will allow a healthier relationship with ones deep feelings that arise in life. Mindfulness meditation training gives one the tools to live in the present moment, to bring soothing kindness to ones self and to walk through the unfolding of life one step at a time.

A cancer diagnosis can be seen as turning on a faucet and the hope flies whipping all over the place. Mindfulness can take hold of the hose directing the water to make our garden grow.

Meditation is as simple as bringing one's attention to one's breathing. We all know we are continually breathing. We know at the end of the day that we were breathing all day but we may have not actually felt one of those breaths. Meditation is feeling the experience as it happens. Breathing and feeling the body as it breathes. As we practice this simple body activity we bring the mind's focus into the present moment which settles the mind and reduces the stress reaction into a focused response.

Mindfulness practice doesn't require any special state of mind just a presence with ourselves that is honest and direct. We call this non-judgmental awareness; being with ourselves in the present moment as is. We are responding to ourselves inside and as the external world is. Even if we are anxious or scared, we are responding to ourselves in a soothing way. We can respond with our own kindness, concern, and even peace.


from cancersupportivecare.com
1st dx ILC st 3, er+, pr+, her2-, T3, N1 1998. Bone mets 2004. Liver mets 2008. Leptomeningial mets 2009.

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