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squirbel's avatar

What are your methods to practicing mindfulness?

Asked by squirbel (4297points) September 15th, 2012 from iPhone

As for me, I think on all of the small things – listen for the unheard, smell the ignored, look at the looked-over.

What do you do?

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20 Answers

yankeetooter's avatar

I definitely notice the little subtle things…sometimes that causes problems, although I think it is a good thing for the most part…

Coloma's avatar

Yes, all of the above. I am gifted in being a very observant type and communing in nature is my all time favorite thing. I also love to star gaze and just let my mind go blank and experience, on an intrinsic level, the mystery.
I have lived on remote properties the last 20 something years and my current home is on 5 acres but the surrounding property is 10 in total.

I am spoiled rotten living in a place of extreme peace and tranquility.
Well…the silence is only broken by the Coyotes at night and the braying of the neigh-boring donkeys. This morning I was launched by the Jackass gang at 6 a.m. I call them “Jackass cruise lines”, because their braying sounds like a freaking fog horn. lol

gailcalled's avatar

I took an eight-week course and learned, slowly, the tricks of mindfulness, including using
CDs for guided meditation, yoga for the body and mind, breathing for the soul and ultimately, sitting in a chair and inhaling and exhaling while trying to keep the mind from wandering a mile down the road.

I still use all the modalities, depending on what’s going on. Most of the time these days, I am mindful and living in the moment. It took lots of word to arrive at this state. Certainly, the beauty of my surroundings (and the devil is in the details) reinforces this.

Today I saw yellow goldenrod, sky-blue chicory, purple New England asters, magenta loosestrife, pink Joe Pye weed and white Queen Anne’s lace and NY asters.

See here for examples

thorninmud's avatar

For me, it’s a matter of not letting my attention get tangled up in thoughts (which is probably what @gailcalled meant by “trying to keep the mind from wandering a mile down the road”). This mile-down-the-road-tangle is what neuroscientists have called the default mode network; it’s the wandering state your brain goes into when it doesn’t need to be engaged in the moment.

The default mode has its benefits (favors creativity, for one thing), but hanging out there too much unplugs you from the world and clouds the distinction between reality and fantasy. Mindfulness training is about not getting stuck there and sleep-walking through life, or wallowing in your emotional states.

As for methods, I use questioning. It’s hard to describe this, but it’s a sustained inquiry—a hanging question—about the way things are, moment by moment. “How is it now?” would be a workable formulation of this question, with the “it” in question being the world (including me, of course). This questioning tunes you into the channel of your constantly unfolding experience.

When that questioning catches hold as a habit of mind, you find it bubbling up even n the midst of your reveries. You’ll have been sucked into the default mode and, suddenly, there’s the question pulling you back to experience, life.

serenade's avatar

I get a high from long walks that roots me in the present and creates an awareness of “dependent co-arising” as a Buddhist might call it. I also get it from rehearsing and acting in stage plays, which also requires adherence to the present and acute attention to the energy exchanged among the participants.

Hawaii_Jake's avatar

GQ. I learned to meditate many years ago, and believe it or not, I find some of the best mindfulness I gain is from walking. I concentrate on my breath and the sound of my footfalls. I hear the other sounds around me, too. I’m aware of the movement, the breeze, the cars passing by on the road. It’s quite relaxing.

My favorite way to practice mindfulness is washing the dishes. I say aloud exactly the act I’m performing: “I’m picking up the dish”, “I’m scrubbing the cup”, “I’m rinsing the fork”, etc. It stops the whirlwind of chatter in my brain and gives me a calm center.

Coloma's avatar

^ Yes, the ” just this” ness, fully present with each moment, action, gesture.
I like to water my yard by hand too. I mist the trees and watch the light play through the water, create rainbows and go into the “zone.”
Watering at dusk is a sublime exercise is mindfulness for me. :-)

serenade's avatar

@Coloma, I’ve thought about bringing hand watering back for that kind of reason. It reminds me of a the prologue of Agee’s A Death in the Family (the prologue is called “Knoxville: Summer, 1915) which is told from the perspective of a child. It may ring too patriarchal for your ears, but here it is nonetheless.


lifeflame's avatar

One way I do it is, I try to listen to the “sound beneath the sound.”
I pay attention to the white noise—say, for example, the hum of the air conditioner; I immerse myself in it.. and then I slowly become aware of my breathing. It’s one of the quickest ways I know to drop in.

janbb's avatar

@thorninmud Please be my tutor, guru – something! Can I wash your feet?

One trick I recently learned is to spend a day – or I do it during a commute – picking one color and noticing things you pass in that color. If you are observing “blue”, you cannot get so far lost in reverie.

Coloma's avatar

@serenade I just ordered the book from amazon! Thanks so much! I just adore quality literature! A new book for me! Squee! :-)

Coloma's avatar

@janbb When I used hypnotherapy for smoking cessation I was programmed to see the color red as a clean air color. Jesus, to this day red is an outstanding color that grabs my eye constantly! Talk about subconscious suggestion. Oh man, hypnosis is bliss out to the 10th power! Next to Morphine! lol

Bellatrix's avatar

For those who are skilled at practicing mindfulness, are their any resources/books you can recommend to help people to develop their skills. There are many books out there but are there any you have read that you have found especially useful?

gailcalled's avatar

I would strongly recommend

Dr. Jon Kabat-Zinn Full Catastrophe Living; Using the Wisdom of Your Body and Mind to Face Stress, Pain and Illness.

Dr. Jon Kabat_Zinn’Wherever You Go, There You Are; Mindfulness Meditation in Everyday Life

I took an eight-week course with one of his gurulets. it was wonderful.

I also used for years these four CDs Series !

1. Body Scan 45 minutes

2. Mindful Yoga 45 minutes (lying down postures)

3. Sitting Meditation 45 minutes

4. Mindful Yoga 2 45 minutes (different sequence, including many standing postures)

Bellatrix's avatar

Thank you @gailcalled. I will seek out some of these books/CDs. Thanks for your help with this.

gailcalled's avatar

You can buy the books used at Amazon.

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gailcalled's avatar

I forgot the first step on the first day of my mindfulness course.

Introductions all round, mini-ios and reasons for coming..a few minutes of silence (I could feel some people squirming. That was easy for me because I had been attending Quaker meeting for years. It operates on silence.)

Then the instructor gave us each one raisin. We had to examine it , smell it, and then chew it as slowly as possible. How long can you make one raisin last? You’d be surprised. It was a good mini-lesson.

janbb's avatar

@gailcalled psst “raisin” – unless you were being very French and philosophical.

gailcalled's avatar

^^^Thanks. It’s my damned spell-check. It seems to operate at warp speed and in overdrive.—

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