Wednesday, February 23, 2011

COME AGAIN? BUDDHISM AND REBIRTH

Here's an interesting website … Buddhists Against Reincarnation.

I neither believe nor disbelieve in reincarnation, but I accept the idea of reincarnation as a working hypothesis. Why believe? Belief makes no difference to whether or not an idea or thing is true. No amount of belief will make something true if it is not. Anyway, as Alan Watts once wrote, "Supposing my personal existence does not continue, what of it?"

Contrary to the Buddhism of many, the Buddhism that the Shakyamuni Buddha himself espoused calls for no belief (see Buddhism Without Beliefs by Stephen Batchelor), no dogma, no doctrine, no saviours, no gurus, no sacred or infallible books, no superstition … only a life of service and giving to others ... free from the bondage of self. In the words of the Dalai Lama (pictured below), “My religion is simple. My religion is kindness.”

So, in the words of J. Krishnamurti (see this talk of his), I embrace and explore the idea of reincarnation as “a means of self-discovery … not to find a ‘yes’ or ‘no’ answer but as a means of understanding [myself].”

Reincarnation is certainly an interesting idea. It makes much more sense to me than resurrection. If true, it helps to explain a number of life’s mysteries and apparent injustices. However, what actually reincarnates? The soul? I have trouble with that one. Some reincarnating ego? Ditto. Anyway, Buddhists speak more in terms of “rebirth” than reincarnation.

On the website mentioned above there are reproduced the following excerpts from Chapter 53 of The Gospel of Buddha, which is a compilation of ancient texts published in 1894 by that great student of comparative religion Paul Carus (pictured below):

There is rebirth of character,
but no transmigration of self.
Thy thought-forms reappear,
But there is no egoentity transferred.
The stanza uttered by a teacher
is reborn in the scholar who repeats the words.

Thy self to which though cleavest is a constant change.
Years ago thou wast a small babe;
Then, thou wast a boy;
Then a youth, and now, thou art a man.
Is there an identity of the babe and the man?
There is an identity in a certain sense only.
Indeed there is more identity between the flames
of the first watch and the third watch,
even though the lamp might have been extinguished
during the second watch.

Then there is this excerpt from the Samyutta Nikaya in which "rebirth" is said to be the result of the "process of becoming", a process which leads to "old age and death, sorrow, lamentation, pain, grief, and despair":
 
"Just so, Ananda, in one who contemplates the enjoyment of all things that make for clinging, craving arises; through craving, clinging is conditioned; through clinging, the process of becoming is conditioned; through the process of becoming, rebirth is conditioned; through rebirth are conditioned old age and death, sorrow, lamentation, pain, grief, and despair. Thus arises the whole mass of suffering again in the future.

"But in the person, Ananda, who dwells contemplating the misery of all things that make for clinging, craving ceases; when craving ceases, clinging ceases; when clinging ceases, the process of becoming ceases; when the process of becoming ceases, rebirth ceases; when rebirth ceases, old age and death, sorrow, lamentation, pain, grief, and despair cease. Thus the entire mass of suffering ceases."

Hmmm. Interesting. If the Skakyamuni Buddha actually spoke these words, then query whether he did believe in rebirth in the sense in which the concept is ordinarily understood in Buddhism. The Buddha used the image of a flame being passed from one candle to another and then to another, before proceeding to question - and doubt - whether the flame on the final candle was that of the first candle. Huston Smith, that great authority on the world's religions, refers to this process as one in which "influence [is] transmitted by chain recation but without a perduring substance". Another metaphor used by the Buddha to describe this process of "influence", in which one human life has consequences - often far-reaching ones - for others, is that of the bells. Each life is a note sounded in an open room, causing similar instruments to vibrate with the same sound ... all the way down the "corridors of time" ... until at last the note is swallowed up in one universal harmony.

Thus, any "rebirth" is entirely in the form of influence ... or, perhaps, enduring character. (As an aside, we all know that the influence - for "better" or for "worse" - of a person lives on after their death, whether in the actual lives of other persons or otherwise [eg in the so-called "race mind" or the "collective unconscious"].)

Anyway, the historical Buddha was never one for metaphysical speculation. If asked about the matter of rebirth, I am sure he would have said something like this, “Does it really matter? The important thing is this present life now? How are you reincarnating now?”

I am also reminded of the words of Dhyana Master Hakuin (see The Cloud Men of Yamato): "How wondrous! How wondrous! There is no birth-and-death from which one has to escape, nor is there any supreme knowledge after which one has to strive."

In other words, if you are thinking about rebirth, you are thinking about "I" and "me". Forget about the "I" and "me" altogether ... then you might just have a chance of actualizing Nirvana.

Here is some very good advice from the Buddha that I have lived by. It has served me well throughout the years, and it makes perfectly good sense:

Believe nothing because a so-called wise person said it.
Believe nothing because a belief is generally held.
Believe nothing because it is written in ancient books.
Believe nothing because it is said to be of divine origin.
Believe nothing because someone else believes it.
Believe only what you yourself judge to be true.

As I see it, the really important thing is this … have you been reincarnated today? Each day, and every minute of the day, and from moment to moment, we are being reincarnated in a different form. The practice of Mindfulness keeps us aware of this fact, and enables us to watch, with bare detachment and choiceless awareness, our body, mind and its contents “transmigrate” from one moment to the next.

“Rebirth of character” … that is what all true religion is about, despite the views of some who would have it otherwise. Even the Apostle Paul spoke of the need to be transformed by the renewing of one’s mind (see Romans 12:2). Unitarians of yesteryear taught "salvation by character", which is something very similar.

It is written that the Shakyamuni Buddha said, "But if there is no other world and there is no fruit and ripening of actions well done or ill, then here and now in this life I shall be free from hostility, affliction, and anxiety, and I shall live happily.”

“Here and now in this life … .” That is what Mindfulness is all about … the here and now. How alive are you? How aware are you? Is there hostility, affliction and anxiety? Are you happy? How will you ever know these things if you live mindlessly?

When Buddha was asked whether he was God, he replied, “No.” He replied the same way when asked whether he was the son of God, a prophet, and so forth. What was he then? “I am awake,” said the Buddha. The essence of Buddhism, in two words, is ... "Wake up!"

Come alive! Wake up! Reincarnate!



Friday, February 18, 2011

LIVING MINDFULLY IN A WORLD FULL OF NORMOPATHS

'To be nobody-but-yourself -- in a world which is doing its best, night and day,
to make you everybody else -- means to fight the hardest battle
which any human being can fight; and never stop fighting.'
e. e. cummings

'The moment we want to be something we are no longer free.'
J. Krishnamurti


I won't be pulling any punches in this post.


I have been re-reading Will There Really Be a Morning? Not the poem by Emily Dickinson (although that is reproduced in the book as well), but the largely ghosted autobiography of the famous American stage, screen, radio and television actress Frances Farmer (pictured below). The Nirvana song "Frances Farmer Will Have Her Revenge on Seattle", written by fellow Seattle resident Kurt Cobain, was named after the late actress.

Ms Farmer had a sad and troubled life, and psychiatry, as it was once practised in various places around the world, did not serve her well, to put it mildly. She spent some 8 years as an inmate in a state mental asylum deprived of all civil liberties. During that time she was raped by orderlies, gnawed on by rats, and poisoned by tainted food. She was chained in padded cells, strapped into straightjackets, and half drowned in ice baths, and may even have been made the subject of a transorbital lobotomy ... all because she had attitude, she made some bad judgments, and she behaved idiosyncratically at times.

Farmer writes in her book, “Once the finger of suspicion is pointed at an individual, the stigma remains. Any unusual act or reckless behavior triggers a consequent doubt as to that person's sanity." She also writes, "[I]t is a fine legal distinction to judge whether an individual is eccentric or insane. None is safe from this danger despite constitutional protection." I agree.
We live in a world of conformity, a world full of crushingly boring “normopaths”, that is, mindless people who are almost pathologically determined to be just like other people ... all of them fellow travellers in what Ernest Hemingway called "the millenium of the untalented". (I love that phrase!) 

These people must have the same things as others, especially material things and houses (the latter often taking the form of tasteless but pretentious "McMansions" ... those in Australia generally being made with tacky fibre cement cladding). They commit themselves to dressing like others (designer clothing and sunglasses), eating the same trendy looking food as others, working long hours like others (the Lucille Ball "I have to work or I am nothing" [her exact words] mentality), believing the same things about life as others ("Life's for living!" ... Really? How profound!), and generally keeping up with others. They have a fear, indeed almost a phobia, of being different ... and, worse still, of being perceived by others to be different.

Watch this clip from the old Candid Camera television program (courtesy YouTube and Viacom), and see for yourself the power of conformity in action. Would you or I be any different if we were in that elevator?


video

We live in a new Dark Age of Puritanism and wowserism in which it is no longer socially acceptable to be different. There is little or no tolerance for those who are, or choose to be, idiosyncratically different, let alone eccentric ... especially in the business world and in the professions (particularly law). There is a very limited range of what is deemed by society, captains of industry and others in positions of power to be “acceptable” behaviour.

I dislike normopaths immensely. I have suffered at the hands of some extremely unpleasant ones. Quite a few of these people were high-level managers. These often ruthlessly ambitious but otherwise socially intelligent people tend to rise to the top in organizations because for the most part they don't have enough talent to stay at the bottom ... something these driven people are generally aware of themselves, but are extremely good at concealing from most others.

I do not suffer any longer at the hands of these people. I choose to be different. I choose to be myself. I am free, and there are no chains that bind me.

What, you may ask, has all this to do with Mindfulness? Well, a fair bit. You see, Mindfulness is all about gaining self-knowledge and insight into ourselves. We come to see ourselves as we really are. We learn, over time, to accept ourselves as we are.

Naturally, if we are on any path of self-improvement, we will seek to change for the better those things in us that need changing and that we are capable of changing. However, we no longer seek to be like others, because we are comfortable with ourselves. We no longer judge or condemn ourselves for being different. Indeed, we are proud to be different.

Finally, be yourself. Be the very best person you can be, and in truth are.

Monday, February 14, 2011

MINDFULNESS ON THE ROAD ... WITH A BEAT

In a recent blog I wrote about the stream of consciousness style writing of James Joyce. This past weekend I have re-read, for the umpteenth time, On the Road by the immortal Jack Kerouac (pictured below - and listen here to him reading the last page of his book). How I love that book! It's, like, cool, man, dig?

I was just a bit too young to be part of the Beat Generation, which is probably good because I am sure that I would have ended up like many of the "leaders" of the Beat Generation. In that regard I am reminded of some beautifully hedonistic words of the pre-Beat “Rumba Rhythm King from Cuba” Desi Arnaz, recalling his early years in Miami, Florida, who in his autobiography A Book wrote, “I’ll never forget those gorgeous nights on the beach, with the moon over Miami. We ate and drank, sang and played, and screwed and screwed. It was fantastic.”

The term “Beat Generation” was apparently coined by Kerouac in a 1948 conversation with John Clellon Holmes. Holmes opined that Kerouac's stories "seemed to be describing a new sort of stance toward reality, behind which a new sort of consciousness lay."  He urged Kerouac to try to define it in a phrase or two. According to Holmes, Kerouac replied, "It's a kind of furtiveness ... Like we were a generation of furtives. You know, with an inner knowledge...a kind of beatness ... and a weariness with all the forms, all the conventions of the world... So I guess you might say we're a 'Beat Generation'.”

Kerouac was a master at writing what has beeen called "spontaneous prose" - and prose that reads like poetry ... with melody. His Joycean writing is proof that one's first thought is generally one's best. (Good advice when doing multiple choice tests.)

Beat is a state of mind ... a state of at-one-ment with the very beat or rhythm of life itself ... the very livingness of life ... and the givingness of life to itself. No wonder Kerouac linked the word "beat" with "Beatitude", that is, showing kindness, compassion, sympathy and empathy. Such qualities are inherent in the very beat of life itself and are perceptible, indeed palpable, through mindfulness. Dig it?


The lasting legacy of Kerouac's Beat Generation is the philosophical assertion, in the words of
Alan Watts, that “the significance of life [lies] in subjective experience rather than objective achievement”. (See Watts' oft-quoted illuminating article "Beat Zen, Square Zen, and Zen”. Watts was certainly no fan of Beat Zen, but he always makes for interesting reading.) 

"Subjective experience rather than objective achievement." I love those words. In this present world, where the prevailing "religion" of so many Westerners is consumerism combined with worldly success, I firmly believe that what we truly need is ... more beat!

If only Kerouac (who had been "on the road" for 7 years before he wrote the book in only 3 weeks) and his buddies had stayed grounded - "sympathetic" (i.e. "beat") - in the reality of the present moment and their Buddhism. Take these gems from On the Road:

I woke up as the sun was reddening; and that was the one distinct time in my life, the strangest moment of all, when I didn't know who I was — I was far away from home, haunted and tired with travel, in a cheap hotel room I'd never seen, hearing the hiss of steam outside, and the creak of the old wood of the hotel, and footsteps upstairs, and all the sad sounds, and I looked at the cracked high ceiling and really didn't know who I was for about fifteen strange seconds. ...

They danced down the streets like dingledodies, and I shambled after as I’ve been doing all my life after people who interest me, because the only people for me are the mad ones, the ones who are mad to live, mad to talk, mad to be saved, desirous of everything at the same time, the ones that never yawn or say a commonplace thing, but burn, burn, burn like fabulous yellow roman candles exploding like spiders across the stars and in the middle you see the blue centerlight pop and everybody goes “Awww!” ...

So in America when the sun goes down and I sit on the old broken-down river pier watching the long, long skies over New Jersey and sense all that raw land that rolls in one unbelievable huge bulge over to the West Coast, and all that road going, and all the people dreaming in the immensity of it, and in Iowa I know by now the children must be crying in the land where they let the children cry, and tonight the stars’ll be out, and don’t you know that God is Pooh Bear? the evening star must be drooping and shedding her sparkler dims on the prairie, which is just before the coming of complete night that blesses the earth, darkens all the rivers, cups the peaks and folds the final shore in, and nobody, nobody knows what’s going to happen to anybody besides the forlorn rags of growing old, I think of Dean Moriarty, I even think of Old Dean Moriarty the father we never found, I think of Dean Moriarty. ...

Unfortunately, too much of the moment involved activities which ultimately proved to be highly self-destructive. In time, the effusion of the moment dissipated but for a while it was wonderful ... or at least it seemed so:

We were all delighted, we all realized we were leaving confusion and nonsense behind and performing our one noble function of the time, move. ...

Why think about that when all the golden land's ahead of you and all kinds of unforeseen events wait lurking to surprise you and make you glad you're alive to see?

True mindfulness involves staying with whatever arises for as long as it lasts ... with the knowledge that all things pass. Notice what is passing through your mind with choiceless awareness … by getting up close.

So, dear beatniks, never tire of practising “awareness-ing”. Let your awareness take note of what’s going on ... in and outside of your mind ... and then, in the words of Jack Kerouac, "everything is going to the beat - It's the beat generation, it be-at, it's the beat to keep, it's the beat of the heart, it's being beat and down in the world and like oldtime lowdown and like in ancient civilizations the slave boatmen rowing galleys to a beat and servants spinning pottery to a beat ... ."

I mean, like, cool, daddy-o.


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Friday, February 11, 2011

MINDFULNESS IN THE DEEP SOUTH ... IN PRISON

Here is a wonderful NPR story on a 10-day vipassanā (insight/mindfulness) meditation program for inmates run in the William E Donaldson Correctional Facility outside Birmingham, Alabamba.

One result of the program has been a dramatic reduction in problems in the prison, which has been one of the most problematic in the state of Alabamba. The warden has recommended that prison staff take the 10-day course to dispel misconceptions about meditation.

"Vipassanā means seeing things as they are,” says inmate Johnny Mack Young (pictured below), who is a convicted murderer. You'll start feeling little stuff moving all around on your body. Some guys can't handle this; some guys scream."

To date some 430 inmates have gone through the Donaldson vipassan
ā meditation program, which is the only one of its kind in North America. There's a waiting list for the quarterly sessions, and the State wants to expand the offering to its women's prison.

Filmmaker Jenny Phillips has made a documentary called The Dhamma Brothers about the Alabama program and its unlikely marriage of an ancient meditation practice and an end-of-the-line prison.

Here is a link to the film's trailer.



JAMES JOYCE: THE MASTER OF LITERARY MINDFULNESS

In recent years I have had the pleasure of rediscovering James Joyce (pictured above) and his “stream of consciousness” style of writing.
The expression “stream of consciousness” comes from one of my favourite philosophers and psychologists William James.
Stream of consciousness writing aims to provide a textual equivalent to the stream of a fictional character’s consciousness, thus creating the impression that we, the reader, are eavesdropping on the flow of conscious experience in the character’s mind, thereby gaining direct, intimate and unmediated access to their personal, private “thoughts”.
Writing of this kind involves presenting in the form of written text something that is neither entirely verbal nor textual.
Take these examples from Joyce’s literary masterpiece Ulysses:
When I makes tea I makes tea, as old mother Grogan said. And when I makes water I makes water … Begob, ma'am, says Mrs. Cahill, God send you don't make them in the one pot.
Plenty to see and hear and feel yet. Feel live warm beings near you. They aren't going to get me this innings. Warm beds: warm full blooded life.
Coffined thoughts around me, in mummycases, embalmed in spice of words. Thoth, god of libraries, a birdgod, moonycrowned. And I heard the voice of that Egyptian highpriest. In painted chambers loaded with tilebooks. They are still. Once quick in the brains of men. Still: but an itch of death is in them, to tell me in my ear a maudlin tale, urge me to wreak their will.

As we, or mother Dana, weave and unweave our bodies, Stephen said, from day to day, their molecules shuttled to and fro, so does the artist weave and unweave his image.

The first excerpt above is pure Zen, is it not? "When I makes tea I makes tea ... And when I makes water I makes water ..." It is also the esence of Mindfulness.

In stream of consciousness writing the thoughts and feelings of a character are presented as they happen ... from moment to moment. This is also the essence of Mindfulness – observing and simply acknowledging (without necessarily "noting" or "labelling") one’s thoughts and emotions as they arise.
In Mindfulness one does not seek to judge, criticise, evaluate or analyse one’s thoughts and feelings. One simply observes ... is aware ... and notes. However, we all do engage in such self-evaluation and criticism from time to time as do Joyce’s characters:
Would the departed never nowhere nohow reappear? Ever he would wander, selfcompelled, to the extreme limit of his cometary orbit, beyond the fixed stars and variable suns and telescopic planets, astronomical waifs and strays, to the extreme boundary of space, passing from land to land, among peoples, amid events. Somewhere imperceptibly he would hear and somehow reluctantly, suncompelled, obey the summons of recall. Whence, disappearing from the constellation of the Northern Crown he would somehow reappear reborn above delta in the constellation of Cassiopeia and after incalculable eons of peregrination return an estranged avenger, a wreaker of justice on malefactors, a dark crusader, a sleeper awakened, with financial resources (by supposition) surpassing those of Rothschild or the silver king.
When we find ourselves engaging in self-evaluation we need to note what we are doing and gently bring ourselves back to the present moment. Not that it is wrong to engage in self-evaluation and self-analysis from time to time, for, as Socrates pointed out, “The unexamined life is not worth living for a human being.” However, there is a time and place for everything, and we need to ensure that when we engage in self-evaluation and self-analysis we do so consciously and deliberately ... and not “mindlessly”.
One can never say this too often. Mindfulness is the practice of paying attention ... in the present ... purposefully and receptively ... deeply and openly, and non-judgmentally ... to whatever arises in the present moment ... moment to moment … both inside and outside of us.

Happy stream-of-consciousness-ing!

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

CONTINUOUS MINDFULNESS AND AWARENESS OF REALITY

Mindfulness takes meditation ... and applies it to one’s whole life.

All very good, but how does one meditate every moment of each day?
Now, when I use the word meditation I am not referring to those types of meditation where one goes into an almost trance-like state as a result of highly focused attention on some object, sound or whatever. I am referring to simply the presence of a choiceless awareness of, and bare yet curious attention to, whatever presents itself before you as your reality ... from moment to moment.
The essence of Mindfulness is to be always in the present moment. So, how does one actually go about living mindfully on a continuous moment-to-moment basis?
Well, a good starting point is to breathe consciously slowly and deeply as you go about your daily life.
Next, observe everything inside and outside of you. Feel the “life” all around you. Be fully present ... here and now ... in the present moment.
Here is a must. In order to know what is real you need to disidentify with your so-called “ego-self” as well as the various “me’s” within your mind ... indeed, all your “mental noise”, chatter and “movies”. Those things are not the person which, in truth, you are.
Here are some other tips ...
Watch, almost with disinterest, whatever happens, as if it were happening to someone else. Let there be no comment, judgment or attempt to change anything.
Note the presence of any unhealthy, painful thoughts or emotions. Don’t suppress or deny them. Step back with dissociation from the “activating event”. “See” and feel the emotion instead.
Practise willingness … and acceptance.
Finally, observe, and be constantly aware .. only to understand ... for awareness is insight.  

Thursday, February 3, 2011

HOW TO DO A WALKING MEDITATION ... MINDFULLY

Most people don't know how to walk. Sad but true.

“Walking meditation is an art!” writes Martine Batchelor. “You are not going anywhere, you are walking just for the sake of walking.”
Walking Meditation helps to foster calmness, relaxation ... and, most importantly, awareness. As with all Mindfulness, the “key” is to be aware as you walk.

Walking meditation
is meditation in action, using the natural movement of walking to foster mindfulness. It is the bare experience of walking.
For many, including myself, walking meditation is the preferred form of Mindfulness Meditation, and ordinarily should precede a sitting meditation as it centres the mind.
How does walking meditation differ from “normal” walking? Well, walking meditation is similar to "normal" walking but it is considerably slower, as well as deliberate, intentional and mindful.
Now this is important. Walking meditation is not physical exercise but wakeful presence.
In order to engage in walking meditation, first choose a quiet place without distractions. It may be indoors or outdoors.

All you need is a short path, which doesn’t have to be a “path” per se but simply one you “create”, so to speak, by walking backwards and forwards ... or, if you prefer, in a circular fashion.

The path should be some 3-10 (preferably around 6) metres in length, must have a definite “start” and “end”, and its surface should be flat and even.
Walking meditation has been described as “walking with presence and mindfulness”. It is a wonderful means to connect mind and body with the here and now, for it keeps one centered in the present moment.
Begin by standing at the beginning of your path.

Start with a “standing meditation” (“Standing, standing”) for a minute or two.

The focus is on your body ... not your breath ... in a walking meditation.

Feel the sensation of your feet “pressing” against the floor/earth. Does it feel hard or soft? Warm or cold? Feel the whole body standingand later slowly and gently turning (“Turning, turning”) ... with awareness.
Focus your attention minutely and purposefully on each action. Remember, you are not going anywhere ... you are just walking.
In sitting meditation the focus of attention is the breath. However, in walking meditation the focus of attention is the moving body.
Walk barefooted or with socks only preferably.

Now begin to walk slowly.

Focus on each step.

Feel each step as it comes. Be fully present with each step.

Notice every sensation of the walking process.

Walk “flat-footed”. Place the foot down flat … heal first … toes later.  

“Left, right, left, right …” Steps short … about 15- 20 cm apart.
Maintain correct posture in the standing position ...

Walk mindfully … eyes half-open ... looking straight ahead (not around). Your pace should ideally be very slow to brisk.
Note (and mentally note or label, at least at the beginning) the lifting of the heal (“lifting”), the forward movement (“pushing”), and the placing of the foot down (“putting” or “dropping”).



Over time, you can build up to noting all 6 component parts of each step ... concurrent with the actual experience of the various movements ... raising”, “lifting”, “pushing”, “dropping”, “touching”, and “pressing”. Be aware of the contact between your foot and the ground.
Allow some 60 per cent of your “tension” to dissipate through your feet ... with the remaining 40 per cent dissipating in the non-resistant “zone of airspace” in front of you, into which you are constantly entering.
Feel the airspace in front of you as yours to feel, enter and embrace. Feel its non-resistance, emptiness and friendliness.

Be gentle with yourself. Say to yourself, interiorly, “Be well” ... sending out loving kindness to others and yourself.
Walk through this airspace mindfully but gracefully, effortlessly and without resistance ... for such is its nature.

At the risk of repeating myself, don't follow your breath or abdominal movements in this type of mindfulness meditation.

Observe the movement of your feet whilst engaged in your walking meditation ... but don’t look at your feet. Feel each step mindfully as you lift each foot off the floor/ground. Feel the sensations in each foot, ankle, leg, knee, the hips, the back, the neck, the head, the face, etc.

Look at a place about 2 metres ahead. Don’t gaze about here and there.
Maintain good posture … straight back.

Hands by side, in pockets or clasped in front or at rear ... resting easily ... wherever they’re comfortable.

Breathe normally.  

If background thoughts, etc, arise ... simply keep focused on noting your steps.

Be aware of the movements with your mind as well as the sensations throughout your body.

If you become distracted, and focusing on noting your steps doesn’t help ... stand for a few moments, and watch your breath ... until the mind calms. Be fully mindful with an alert, relaxed attention to the present moment.
Continue to walk mindfully for 10 to 20 minutes ... or longer.
At end of walk, stand (“standing, standing”) for a short while, observing your posture and breathing … mindfully and attentively.
After standing mindfully for a few moments, gently return to your “daily life” ... and don't forget to reflect upon whatever insights you gained into yourself and others as a result of your walking meditation.


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