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Think – Day 8 – Focus on the fundamentals

Welcome to week 2 on the habit of meditation and the pillar of THINK!

How are you doing?  Are you keeping the small, daily, minimum commitment?

That is so vital to your success in establishing and strengthening the daily habit of meditation.

So keep it up!

Now, this week we’re going to dive much deeper and expand our awareness on this topic of meditation.

There is an amazing book called ‘The Inner Game of Tennis’ that actually goes way beyond ‘teaching tennis’ and and quite fantastically teaches us how to achieve amazing results in our life.

The book offers profound insight into the art of concentration, mindfulness, and awareness.

And to start, let’s talk about quieting the mind.

“Quieting the mind means less thinking, calculating, judging, worrying, fearing, hoping, trying, regretting, controlling, jittering or distracting.”

Quieting the mind is the key to a concentrated mind, and thereby the secret that reveals all life’s other secrets and the source of truth and joy.”

The mind is still when it is totally here and now in perfect oneness with the action and the actor. It is the purpose of the Inner Game to increase the frequency and the duration of these moments, quieting the mind by degrees and realizing thereby a continual expansion of our capacity to learn and perform.

“For most of us, quieting the mind is a gradual process involving the learning of several inner skills. These inner skills are really arts of forgetting mental habits acquired since we were children.” – W. Timothy Gallwey, The Inner Game of Tennis

So far we have simply been practicing sitting and focusing on one word and our breath.

This week we will go deeper into the skills of quieting the mind.

What do you do with all the erratic thoughts that come up as you sit there?

According to Timothy Gallway, the place to start is to practice letting go of judgment.

Awareness of what is, without judgment, is relaxing, and is the best precondition for change” – W. Timothy Gallwey, The Inner Game of Tennis

‘Awareness of what is’ is also known as ‘mindfulness’, which is the entire basis of the practice and art of Meditation.

Jon Kabat-Zinn gives the simple definition of mindfulness as: moment-to-moment awareness, in his excellent book ‘Full Catastrophe Living” which we will also spend some time with this week.

And Jon also agrees that ‘Non-judgment’ is the #1 place to start in quieting the mind and cultivating awareness.   He suggests these things make up the attitude we seek to cultivate as the foundation of mindfulness practice:

“1) Non-judging, 2) Patience, 3) Beginner’s mind, 4) Trust, 5) Non-striving, 6) Acceptance, and 7) Letting Go”

We’ll discuss each of these in coming days, and we will start with ‘Non-judging’ tomorrow – the first and foremost.

But to end today, a quick clarification:  Why do I teach the most basic meditation practice taught in the Relaxation response instead of on of the dozens of other meditation practices?

Because it is universally applicable and it is the simplest way I have learned.  It also contains the common elements of almost all meditation practices I’m aware of.

You are welcome to add to it with your own mantras or other variety that works for you.

You may have your own habitual practices already…that is great!!

Feel free to adopt what works for you in the discussions this month and leave what you don’t need.

There is no right or wrong way to practice, and you are welcome to add to it.

As mentioned, I’m not an expert or frankly even aware of probably 95% of what is taught throughout the world on meditation…

This course is not intended to make you an expert on all types of meditation.

The purpose of this month’s training is to establish the daily habit of meditation practice and focus on the fundamentals of being aware in the present moment.

And for that, all you need are the four simple steps we’ve discussed.

Here’s a quick review of the 4 simplified steps to the daily practice:

1.  Sit in a quiet place in a comfortable position.

2.  Close your eyes, relax, and breathe through your nose.

3. With each exhale think your preferred one syllable word to yourself.  Count up to 10 if you like.

4. Continue for 10 to 20 minutes, and with a passive attitude gently bring your focus back to your breath and your word each time you become aware of your mind wandering.

And most important of all??

Smile!!

Laugh at your funny mind today as you observe how erratic it wanders to and fro.

Enjoy observing this miraculous tool you have been blessed with!

This is all very good for your soul.  Take time to enjoy yourself in this process…don’t take yourself so seriously.  You will thank you for it!!

Make Today Amazing!