Anchored

Excerpted from Invitation to Meditation by Howard Cohn, © 2006:

In reality, you never leave the present moment. You’re always here. You’re never not here. You only imagine that you leave the present moment.

You are anchored to the present moment in three different ways. One, by your body, which contains the five senses. Whenever you feel as if you’ve slipped away from the present moment, allow each of the senses to reconnect with your immediate surroundings. Allow yourself to be immersed in the sights, textures, sounds, scents, and tastes of the present moment. As you do so– again, by simply noticing– you are aware that you are alive in the present moment.

Two, you are anchored here by your breath. With each inhale, and with each exhale, you sink more deeply into the present moment. Inhaling, you expand. Exhaling, you release. Inhaling, you experience the breath. Exhaling, you let it go. Inhaling, you settle into the body’s natural stillness. Exhaling, you gently harmonize your body and mind. Inhaling and exhaling, you are aware that you are alive in the present moment.

Three, you are anchored here by your awareness of your thoughts. Notice them as you would notice the sights and sounds around you. Notice them as you would notice a cloud passing through the sky. Notice that certain emotions may arise with certain thoughts. Don’t stop them. Don’t be afraid of them. Don’t react to them. Just notice them. Let them come and go like changing weather patterns. And in doing so, may you realize that they are just thoughts and emotions– nothing more. And in doing so, may you realize that you are still here– still anchored in the present moment.

Five

In this excerpt from the article “Teaching Mindfulness to Young People” in the September 2016 issue of The Lions Roar, Ofuso Jones-Quartery (aka Born I Music) describes a simple exercise he uses to teach meditation to young people:

“Finger Breathing”

In this exercise, the students hold out their left hand and, with their right pointer finger, trace around each left-hand finger.  Each time they trace upward they breathe in; each time they trace downward the breathe out.  By the time they’ve done the whole left hand they’ve taken five focused breaths, then they trace in reverse to make it ten.  This is something they can practice discreetly by putting their left hands on their laps and tracing and breathing at any point in the day when they need to focus, come back to the moment, or relax.

(extra)Ordinary Moments

Excerpt from “Bowing to Each Other” (Shambhala Sun, November 2015) by Brother Phap Hai:

Recently, a practitioner asked me about the benefits of meditation.  I knew that she was hoping I would talk about dazzling lights, profound insights, or psychic powers.  Perhaps to her disappointment, I shared with her my growing sense of appreciation for the ordinary moments of my life– a cup of tea in the morning, warm sunshine, laughter.  Before, I had taken these things as a given rather than a gift.  Now as I practice more, my experience of them has become richer, deeper, and more meaningful.