Available on amazon.com at the amazing price of $5.95
Publisher Crescendo Publishing, LLC
Available on amazon.com at the amazing price of $5.95
You can learn to how to meditate with ease and joy. Or if you already meditate, you can add an even greater measure of ease and joy to your practice with this new approach to the ancient art of meditation. You can learn how to start increasing mindfulness into your daily life in way that is light-hearted and even playful!
This Book is For You
This book is for you if you have never meditated before and want to start. This book is for you if you’ve been meditating for many years and are curious to learn more. This book is for you if you have only a passing interest in meditation, but like the title which intrigues you enough to buy it. That’s because although this book is about meditation, it’s truly about living from the heart. But to do so, we have to be fully present. Mindfulness meditation teaches us how to be present. This book gives you some mindfulness meditation guidelines and ways you can easily integrate them into your life.
This book also acts as a looking glass that you can peer into as to how, once you become more mindfully present, you can also be heartfully present. But heartfulness is not something anyone else can teach you. You can only teach yourself as you learn. Every one of us already has the basics to start with -- that being an immeasurable capacity to love, to be loved, and to be loving. But if we don’t give ourselves the time and space to focus our attention on these heart’s desires, then they can’t develop and expand. We realize their fulfillment when we are totally in the here and now.
It was only after I learned how to meditate that I came to an awareness of how much time I spent not being present, and how that affected me in a way that closed off my heart. This is my story that I share with you, not as an expert or authority, but as someone still very much on the learning curve. And oh! Is it ever a joyride of curve!
One thing I’ve learned is that our furry four-legged loved ones are masters at living in the moment, from the heart. They demonstrate this when they comfort us by being totally present, but without any commentary or judgment. And when they obey our command to sit and stay, they do so with the absolute trust that we’ll provide them with something much more satisfying than squirrel. We can all learn so much together as you join me on this most wondrous journey.
Here are some instant insights that you’ll get from this book:
1. You can learn to meditate with ease and joy; and, if you already meditate, how your practice can be one of even more ease and joy.
2. Understanding that sitting and staying is not passive; it requires a disciplined focus to sit and stay and let all the squirrels of runaway thoughts go on by.
3. How practicing this focused discipline not only reduces stress, but you come to realize that there is no such thing stress in the moment.
4. How to become more mindfully and heartfully present in the moment.
5. How you can be a compassionate presence for yourself and others, without having to say one word or do one thing other than be here now.
6. How you can witness yourself and others with compassion so you don’t feel the need or desire to engage with all the thoughts that cross your path; how being present in the moment keeps you free from getting entangled in all the dramas and traumas that the mind can fabricate.\
My Beloved Teacher, Merlot (1993-2007)
Meditation looks deceptively easy and simple. Simple, yes. Easy? Well, let’s just say that for many, it isn’t so easy to sit still in complete silence with the only intention being to focus on watching the breath. That’s why doing meditation is called practice. It takes practice just like any other discipline which is learned over time. While it’s not necessarily the easiest practice, it is one that allows for props to help make it not so challenging. Much like when someone new to yoga is given blocks to help prop them up, I have some insights that I’ll share with you to help you along with your practice – starting with what I learned from my favorite teacher.
I believe the greatest teachers are those who show us how to open the door and enter that schoolroom within each of us that has all the questions and answers. They do this not by telling us how or even by showing us, but by being present with us, perhaps every so often giving us a gentle nudge to go this way or an encouraging smile to let us know we are right where we’re supposed to be. The best teachers join us as the best learners. My dog Merlot, a Chardonnay-colored German Shepard Chow mix, was such a teacher.
Merlot taught me how to sit and stay; it was something we both learned as we went for walks in my neighborhood, which happens to have an abundance of squirrels. When a squirrel would cross our path, he’d want to chase after it. But upon my command to sit, he would do so. As he sat watching the squirrel go by, I could feel the tension through my hold on the leash, which only increased when I then told him to stay. I not only felt this strain on the leash, but I could see his muscles quiver as he sat watching all the squirrels get away.
This was very much like my first year of learning how to meditate. It took everything in me not to chase after the squirrels of thought which zipped across my mind as I sat with my only intent being that of watching the breath. I could feel my body tremor as I sat still and let the thoughts go by, especially the one of “get up and go." But no matter what, I stayed until the 10-minute timer went off.
You may wonder, why go through all this? What’s so wrong about chasing squirrels – maybe even catching a few? Nothing at all is wrong…and nothing is right either (continue reading to get my more expansive take on this). It all comes down to what you want, but there’s a disclaimer here as well which you’ll find later. First, I’ll tell you why I was drawn to the practice.
I was in my first semester of a four-year credentialed program to become a licensed counselor when I came to a point that I thought I could either excel in this new vocation with roaring success or I could fail with a crashing thud. I was terrified of both scenarios because I felt they were beyond my control. It all depended on what others deemed in their judgment was to be my fate. I’d heard everything from “You’ve got the gift, babe” to “Here’s a card for a really good therapist,” and I took it all in as being true about me because “they” said so. As part of my training, I saw my own counselor on a weekly basis. When I came to her with this crisis, she asked me: “Do you have a meditation practice?” I beamed with pride as I told her, “Yes! I sit in the same chair every morning, in the quiet, and I close my eyes and don’t think.” She nodded and said, “that’s not meditation, at least not mindfulness or insight meditation, or what’s known in the Buddhism tradition as Vispassana.” I was crushed to find out that what I thought I’d been doing as meditation wasn’t, and I was confused by all this terminology of “mindfulness,” “insight meditation,” and “Vis” something or another. But because I wanted to get out of my predicament, I was willing to give it a try.
My counselor went on to tell me something like we’re always thinking and so there was no “not thinking.” She said that meditation teaches us how to be aware of what we’re thinking, and then to be mindful of how we respond to such thoughts. This didn’t make any sense to me. But it didn’t matter because she concluded by saying, “And then, you won’t feel as if you’re swinging on this pendulum of going from high to low, all dependent on influences outside your control, especially that of other people...You’ll feel some equilibrium.” Now that sounded like something I wanted. She then explained that mindfulness meditation wasn’t about “seeking nirvana,” or seeking anything. It was about sitting in quiet stillness and watching the breath. I told her it sounded boring. She agreed, “Yes, it’s not the sexy fireworks of grandstand visions, or the magical allure of levitation, but as you continue to do this practice every day you’ll see things shift. It seems gradual, but all the same it shifts. You’ll see yourself and how you show up in the world in a new way. It’s changed my life dramatically for the better.” She then topped off this enticing offering with: “And, after spending some dedicated time to the practice, you’ll most likely get some valuable insights. That’s why it’s sometimes called ‘insight meditation.’”
1. Mindfulness meditation is not “not thinking.” This can’t happen because we’re always thinking, but we can focus our mind on one thing and that is on watching the breath.
2. Mindfulness meditation is about becoming aware of what we’re thinking, and then mindfully choosing how we wish to respond. This allows for some equilibrium as we no longer frantically chase after every squirrel of thought that runs across our mind path.
3. Mindfulness meditation isn’t about seeking anything. It’s about being fully present in the moment so that you feel a sense of connection with yourself and others that opens you to deepening awareness and new insights.
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About Sabrina Johnson, RScP: