Integrating through the cultivation of Awareness.
We promote an aware life by teaching people how to live with more self-reflective awareness in body, speech, and mind.
The foundation of Awareness is learning to be. We develop familiarity with this through Just Sitting and doing the Mindfulness of Breathing meditation.
There are three types of Just Sitting we will experience depending on the quality of our mind at any given time:
1. Psychological Just Sitting – When we are letting the dust settle from the day’s activity, while any internal chatter and emotional/mental processing slows down naturally.
2. Meditative Just Sitting – This can happen at any time, especially when we are reconnecting with our embodied consciousness after a meditation session has ended. It is the calm that settles in, and out of which we emerge, before getting up and resuming our daily activities.
3. Insightful Just Sitting – Whenever we are able to just sit while resting naturally in pure perception of reality.
Just Sitting works great as an awareness practice in its own right, and fits in perfectly before and after any other meditation session. It functions similarly to standing at attention, or resting in corpse pose, before or after a hatha-yoga session.
Mindfulness of Breathing
The Mindfulness of Breathing meditation was popularized by Shakyamuni Buddha and Patanjali. It is the most common non-religious meditation practice found in Asia – from Sri Lanka to Japan, and from Mongolia to the South China Sea Islands. This meditation gives you the tools to anchor your experience on the kinetic sensation of the breath, allowing for increased focus within a broader context of empathetic awareness.
There are four stages to the Mindfulness of Breathing:
1. Count the breath just after it is fully expired. Count one number after each exhalation, counting from 1 to 10, and rebegining at 1 whenever you reach 10. If you loose count, or over-count, just rebegin at 1.
– The emphasis here is on calming down and settling awareness on the breath.
2. Count the breath just prior to inhaling. Count one number in anticipation of the inhalation, counting from 1 to 10, and rebegining at 1 whenever you reach 10. If you loose count, or over-count, just rebegin at 1.
– The emphasis here is on re-invigorating your awareness of the breath.
3. Stop counting and simply follow the “whole body breath.” Follow the kinetic experience of inhalation and exhalation as much as possible throughout your entire body.
– The emphasis here is on experiencing the breadth of conscious experience through mindfully breathing.
4. Focus on the initial contact point of airflow you can physically experience. This is often felt on the tips of the nostrils.
– The emphasis here is on focus within the wider breadth of awareness previously established.
– If you want to take this final stage even further, reflect on where the internal air element in “you” ends, and where the external air element outside begins, as you mindfully follow the inhalation and exhalation. Mindfully and self-reflectively breath while reflecting, “This air element is not me, not mine, not I. And, when I die, I will return it to the air element outside, releasing it for the last time.”
– Learn the same meditation that Shakyamuni Buddha practiced the night he achieved his Awakening (Bodhi).
– Create a gap in chronic pain through resting in the present moment between remembering the past and hoping – or fearing – for the future.
– Practice a classic mind training exercise used by a host of Brahmanic and Shramanic traditions across South Asia; including Shivites, Vaishnavites, Shaktivites, Jains, and Buddhists.
– Develop the ability to carry this awareness into the rest of your waking and sleeping life.
Just Sitting and the Mindfulness of Breathing are part of an essential and progressive System of Meditation
- Integrating in a centripetal way through focusing on the breath.
- Radiating in a centrifugal way the natural positivity of a healthy mammalian brain.
- Releasing of elemental accumulations that create a fixed, rigid sense of self.
- Imagining other dimensions of being that lift the spirit and provide inspiration.
Why “Health, Love, Awareness, and Abundance”?
Buddhist teachings began with a man who defined himself as “Awake” – which is the literal translation of Buddha. And this Awakened One said that the quality of being describing his experience was the absence of greed, hatred, and ignorance.
Health is the physical foundation for developing Abundance (non-greed), Love (non-hate), and Awareness (non-ignorance).
Simply put, these four qualities – Health, Love, Awareness, and Abundance – define the whole of Buddhist mental and physical cultivation in a universal and easily operative way.