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How to practice mindfulness (Buddhism)


Awareness is the ability to see things as they are, without enveloping feelings, prejudice, or even mood.

Awareness is part of the eightfold path of Buddhism and can be a key part of meditation.

It is also used in Western culture as a therapeutic method to reduce stress, pain, and even to fight depression. With awareness, you can find and maintain a sense of gratitude for life or even improve your running style!


The accuracy of self-awareness
A dying grandfather whispers to his grandson:
- I buried the treasure!
- Where, grandfather?
- In the ground.
- More precisely, grandfather, more precisely!
- Earth is the third planet from the Sun ...

Buddha speaks of awareness like this:

“The fool is sleeping, as if already dead, but the master is awakened, and he lives forever. He is watching. He is clear. "

What is meant by a dream in Buddhism?

When you see a beautiful rose, then you have two options for responding:
Enjoy the beauty and aroma.
Say to yourself: "The rose is beautiful."

In the second case, you do not feel anything, but give information. This state of insensitive speaking is the state of mental sleep.

The peculiarity of a person is that he can not wake up at all. You can translate anything into a saying: delicious food, sipping massage, stunning sunset.
You can live, but feel nothing. Only come up with names for what is happening. In this case, the taste of life is lost, and after it the meaning of life.

A person turns into a biorobot, which mechanically does some things every day. At the same time, he constantly mutters something under his breath. Sometimes two biorobots meet and start muttering something to each other.

It is especially interesting to observe the picture when a person communicates via the Internet. One biorobot writes a message on a computer. Another biorobot reads a message on his computer. But in order to distinguish messages from the biorobot from computer messages, emoticons are used. They indicate that the biorobot can still feel.

You're alive proportionally
to how much you are aware.

To become awakened, you need to start observing what is happening to you.

“The only thing you need to learn is observation. Watch! Watch every action you take. Observe every thought that goes through the mind. Observe every desire that embraces you. Observe even minor gestures - how you walk, say, eat, take a bath. Keep watching, in everything, everywhere. Let everything become an opportunity to observe. ”

This is very difficult for an unprepared person, because society does not need conscious people. Society needs biorobots that simply do what they are told.

The transformation of people into biorobots takes place in another school, because the model is used there: "Remember and repeat." Millions of children, each children remember millions of phrases that need to be remembered and repeat without hesitation.

This way of living tightly eats into the soul and an adult already sleeps without waking up. And his life is completely controlled by political, religious or product advertising.

For ease of perception, commands to biorobots are given in the form of slogans:
"Do not slow down - sneakers!"
“Vote, otherwise you will lose!”
“Dry ass is a happy baby!”

The life of a biorobot is a completely meaningless vanity, absorbing a mass of energy into the struggle of abstract slogans among themselves. Although these slogans can be combined without loss of meaning:
"Do not slow down, otherwise you will lose!"
“Vote, happy baby!”
“Dry ass - sneakers!”

Real life is life in a stream of feelings and sensations. To immerse yourself in this stream - you need to wake up.

“Do not eat mechanically, do not continue to just stuff yourself with food - be very observant. Chew carefully and observantly ... and you will be surprised at how much you have missed so far, because each piece will bring great satisfaction. If you eat observantly, the food will become tastier.

Even ordinary food will become the tastiest if you are observant, and if you are not observant, you can eat the tastiest food, but there will be no taste in it, because there is no one to watch. You just keep stuffing yourself with food. Eat slowly, observantly, each piece needs to be chewed, felt. ”

The path to awareness is a long way. Going to a completely different perception of the world where there is only freedom, joy and sensory impressions is very difficult. But the end result is worth it.

Awareness is the observation of what is happening to you. It is mindfulness of how you feel. This is a holistic perception of what is happening. This is a stream of feelings.

Unconsciousness is a mechanical behavior, accompanied by constant internal chatter. This is a stream of thoughts.
The world around you is beautiful, but you have no time to pay attention to it.
Stop - feel it!

Awareness Techniques and Awareness Practice

The technique of awareness is a whole sea, the main thing is to choose those that are most suitable for you. Most spiritual practices are aimed at developing awareness. We can say that one of the most important goals of practice is the development of maximum awareness, otherwise no further progress on the path of apprenticeship is possible.

An adherent of a particular school or teaching must learn to be aware of itself. This means awareness of the physical, emotional and mental body, that is, the first 3 of 7 human bodies that form the physical and energetic essence of a person. Self-awareness implies the following:

  • awareness of one’s body (movements, state, temperature, bodily sensations, etc.),
  • awareness of emotions (their source, color, development and decay, change, etc.),
  • awareness of thoughts (origin, development, transformation, transition from one to another).

Yoga provides a wide field for the practice of mindfulness. You can start from any stage of ashtanga yoga in order to begin to develop awareness. One of the easiest ways for a beginner to practice yoga asanas. They form awareness not only of their physical body, but also of their psychological state. Each time you perform a complex of asanas, your consciousness is focused on those parts of the body that are more occupied in a particular position.

This is essentially one of the mindfulness exercises that psychologists advise. They say that it is necessary to change the usual rhythm of life or choose other methods for completing those tasks and actions that you usually don’t even pay attention to. Suppose you draw with your right hand, since you are right handed, but you need to try to perform this action with your left hand. The direction of your consciousness will immediately change.

In yoga the same thing. You usually sit on a chair or in a chair. You’re used to it and don’t focus on it anymore. In order to become aware of the process, take the pose of Vajrasana. It seems to be nothing complicated, sitting on the floor and feeling good, but unusual. From this, consciousness becomes absorbed in this process. Attention is drawn to the posture itself, the position of the arms, legs, and sensations in the knees.

How to Develop Awareness: Exercises for Awareness

In order to give the reader the opportunity to experiment, let's take a look at a few exercises that you can apply daily. They are not directly related to the practices of spiritual teachings, but nevertheless will prepare you for them if you want to deal with them in the future.

  • Conscious movement.
  • Conscious attention when communicating with the interlocutor.
  • Concentration of attention directed to the object.
  • Listening to music in order to distinguish the sound of various instruments.
  • Control of habits (gestures, facial expressions, parasitic words, etc.).
  • Conscious vision - directing attention to detail.

This list could be supplemented, but with practice you yourself will learn how to create exercises for the development of awareness in real life. In the next section, we will move on to a detailed discussion of some of the above techniques for developing awareness.

Attention Awareness Awareness Exercises

The essence of awareness training is to devote all of yourself to what you are doing at a certain point in time, to avoid switching attention. If it jumped to another object, return it back and calmly continue to engage, observing your actions, those feelings and thoughts that arise in the process. So you will practice conscious thinking at the same time.

Awareness can be directed to both thoughts and movements. This even leads to the expansion of awareness, bringing it to a higher level, while switching attention to another occupation or object is contrary to the practice of awareness, since attention is scattered, and the key to the practice of awareness lies precisely in the direction of attention. In fact, you are taking the first steps in the practice of meditation, perhaps without even knowing it.

Conscious attention when communicating with the interlocutor is expressed in the fact that you do not evaluate it, as we usually used to do, but turn off the criticism inside and turn your attention to the awareness of what your interlocutor is wearing, how he says, how he gesticulates or what keeps hands, etc. You need to fully capture his image and at the same time be aware of your thoughts and feelings during the process of observing the interlocutor.

Concentration of attention directed at the object develops awareness very much, but it may be difficult at the beginning of practice precisely because of the simplicity of its implementation. You need to pick up a small object - a thing that is familiar to you well. It can be keys, watches, a mobile phone, etc. After that, you begin to consider this subject, noting all its smallest details. Someone may find this boring, but if you manage to concentrate on a common thing, you will easily develop not only the ability for deep directed concentration, but also lay an excellent foundation for further practice of directed attention, known in the yogic tradition as dharana.

Conscious vision is very close to the above technique, but the emphasis in this exercise is somewhat shifted. You do not consider one object completely, you choose some aspect to focus only on it. For example, walking along the street, mentally set yourself the task of noticing and concentrating only on the faces of passing people for several minutes, or marking and finding a shade of a certain color. Try to notice and realize as many appearances of this shade in the surrounding world as possible.

The development of awareness through the practice of exercises of conscious movement

By conscious movement, we mean a process where your attention is fully focused on certain actions in the present. You can walk fully concentrating on the rhythm of steps, awareness of the contact of the soles of the shoes with the surface on which you are walking. It is very easy and fun at the same time. We usually are not aware of this process, so when you turn your attention only to it, you will see how unusual it is.

You can also experiment with the awareness of the sensations that you get from touching objects: how they feel, warm or cold, what your hand feels at the same time, and at the same time observe how you react to the sensations. This practice of training awareness through movement automatically eliminates the combination of cases.

If you devote yourself to one thing, then you simply are not able to do one more thing at the same time. Theoretically and even practically it is possible in everyday life. People do this every now and then, but in exercises for awareness, this would be nonsense, since the very nature of awareness eliminates the internal rush and combination of cases.

A state of awareness in everyday life

A state of awareness can be brought up through directing attention to certain aspects of life, as well as through exercises and spiritual practices. In everyday life, the practice of mindfulness will help you look at things differently, make your life more interesting, not to mention that you may suddenly have talents that you were not aware of.

Often the development of awareness is accompanied by the discovery of creative abilities in a person, a craving for creative self-realization appears. This is nothing more than a manifestation of the higher spiritual principle of man on the physical plane. How else can it manifest itself if we live in three-dimensional reality. We cannot get by with just a figurative-mental creation, we need to transfer images, to embody them in the physical world - through art, reading philosophical literature or engaging in spiritual practices.

The principle of awareness realized through the art of self-realization

No matter how surprising this may seem, but spiritual practices are very closely intertwined with creativity, since it is aimed at creating oneself: purifying oneself from all unnecessary, identifying oneself with some common stereotypes, finding and knowing one’s true nature and purpose.

Otherwise, you can express it in the words of Oscar Wilde: “The purpose of life is self-expression. To show our essence in full is what we live for. And in our century, people began to fear themselves. ”

We need to stop being afraid to explore the inner essence of ourselves, to approach it as close as possible, to realize ourselves and understand that we are awareness itself. We and awareness are one and the same. There is nothing in life except awareness. Everything that exists in the world is its manifestation. Once we are aware, then this exists for us. If we were not aware, then this would not be for us. On the one hand, this is an amazing conclusion, and yet many ancient spiritual teachings shared this idea. The identity of Brahman with the Atman in the philosophy of Vedanta, the denial of the very existence of the “I” in advaita, the Buddhist dissolution in nirvana are concepts based on the principle of awareness.

Ancient thinkers have long solved the riddle of the meaning of life - it is in the awareness of everything and everything, in the multifaceted, absolute comprehension and application of this concept of being. Therefore, we cannot even divide the concept of awareness into theoretical and practical. This is one of those phenomena when the theoretical component can be comprehended only through the practical aspect.

Recognize yourself, and the whole world will be revealed to you!