Join Bodhipaksa in Portland, Maine

September 9, 2015

Burning candles on dark background

This is short notice, I know, but I’m leading a workshop exploring the mindfulness of breathing practice this Saturday, September 12. The workshop is taking place in Nagaloka Buddhist Center in the heart of Portland, Maine.

It’ll be a light, playful, but potentially life-changing event.

Please contact Nagaloka Buddhist Center to register, although you can also just turn up on the day, assuming that there are spaces left.

New beginnings

February 26, 2015

Green seedlingThere’s a 50/50 chance that you made some New Year resolutions a couple of months ago; there’s an even better chance that you’ve already abandoned them. Or perhaps you’re one of the people who never makes New Year resolutions because you’ve learned through experience that they’re forgotten almost as soon as they’re created.

Whether we make resolutions or not, we see each new year as an opportunity for new beginnings: not just new years, but new months, new weeks, and new days. Our lives are full of new beginnings. But the most significant new beginnings take place at a much finer scale.

When we meditate, for example, we’re forever catching the mind having gone off … Read more »

Conscious breathing to regular breathing

December 11, 2014

wildmind meditation newsMindfulness of Breathing – Meditation MP3 Partha Pratim Bose, The Hindu: A 65-year-old alcoholic with irregular heartbeats was subjected to a rehabilitation programme. He was subjected to cognitive behaviour therapy and trained on this breathing technique to control his mind.

Have you observed that when you tickle your own armpits you do not feel ticklish. If another person does the tickling, however, you feel ticklish. Why is this? Recently, it has come to light that when you move your bodies, the cerebellum, related to physical movement, suppresses emotions. We also now know that emotions are suppressed even at times when the results …

Read the original article »

Energize, Inspire, Enjoy

October 22, 2014

Young woman enjoying sunlight with raised armsRecently I offered a mantra that can accompany the out-breathing: Relax, Rest, Reveal. These words encourage us, respectively, to let go of unnecessary tensions in the body, to let go of unnecessary mental effort, and to be open and receptive to whatever is arising in our experience.

I’d like now to offer a corresponding mantra for the in-breathing: Energize, Inspire, Enjoy. As with the previous mantra, each of the words has a specific function.

“Energize” connects us with the natural energy of the in-breath. Inhalation is dominated by the sympathetic nervous system, which isn’t always about “fight or flight” but is involved in any physical or emotional arousal. It’s no coincidence that we take … Read more »

Mindfulness of Breathing: another guided meditation MP3

May 3, 2014

I’m currently co-leading a retreat with Sunada on the topic of Freeing Your Creative Potential with Meditation.

This morning Sunada led a body scan meditation, and I led a session of mindfulness of breathing. This version is loosely based on the four stage form of the practice that I normally teach, but since we were already in the swing of things thanks to Sunada’s meditation we didn’t include any counting.

The emphasis here is more on relaxing into a complete awareness of the breathing in its four-dimensional nature; that is, being aware of the full spectrum of sensations taking place in three-dimensional space, and also being aware of how the arising of sensation is changing … Read more »

On doing a variety of practices

August 20, 2013

Sometimes I have meditation students who have problems learning a particular meditation technique because it appears to be fundamentally different — even contradictory — to other approaches to meditating that they’ve learned.

In fact, I’ve had experiences myself that are similar in some ways to this. I once went on a retreat run by teachers who have a different approach to me in order to learn more about their techniques and perspectives, and I found that some of the things they said plunged me into doubt and confusion — and aversion.

I found myself in my meditation continually arguing about things that they had said and about how I thought they made no sense. There … Read more »

Guided meditation: mindfulness of breathing

August 18, 2013

bodhipaksaThe video below is another recording from one of the Google Plus Hangout meditations that I lead from time to time.

This one is a form of the mindfulness of breathing. It follows the traditional form that’s taught on this site, but with more of an emphasis on setting up conditions for the jhana factors to arise.

I incorporate a few elements which have become distinctive in my teaching: the principle of paying attention to a broad band of experiences connected with the breathing, so that we use up as much mental bandwidth as possible in order to reduce distracted thinking. This week I add a little twist, which is paying attention to … Read more »

Mindfulness: now in exciting 3D!

August 15, 2013

3d buddhaI used to practice and teach mindfulness of breathing largely as if it were “mindfulness of the breath.” The difference is that when we think about “the breath” we think about the stuff that flows in and out of our airways, and the physical contact the body makes with it, while if we think of “the breathing” we are free to consider “the breath” but also any other physical sensations that arise as we breathe in and out. These sensations include:

  • The contact the body makes with the breath in the nose, head, throat, and lungs
  • The movements of the abdominal muscles, not just on the front, but on the sides and back of the
Read more »

Guided Meditation: Mindfulness of Breathing

August 2, 2013

BodhipaksaThis is a guided meditation that I led this week in a Google+ Hangout (that’s a form of videoconferencing, if you’re not familiar with it) with some meditation students.

After 100 Days of Lovingkindness practice I felt the need to get back to exploring mindfulness of the breathing again.

The sound quality’s not perfect and the video is — well, there’s no video. Due to a technical problem of some sort the video stopped being recorded a few minutes into the Hangout, so I just took it out altogether.

Still, I hope you’ll enjoy and benefit from the talk and the practice.

Kindfulness of breathing (Day 12)

April 23, 2013

Lotus, isolated on whiteDo you find it a bit much doing lovingkindness practice every day? Do you feel the need to stay in balance by doing other practices, like mindfulness of breathing? I don’t blame you!

In our last special project, which was to meditate for 100 days (the 100 Day Meditation Challenge) we got about a week into it and then I realized I’d become a bit clearer about the intention behind the challenge. It’s happened again!

Someone wrote in our Google+ Community (a place where people are sharing their experiences of participating in 100 Days of Lovingkindness and giving each other support and encouragement) saying that she was getting a bit bored by doing only one … Read more »