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The instructions below are intended for your own use, with a child’s body scan available separately below. When doing this meditation, remember that, as always, there’s no need to strive to make anything happen. Expect your mind to wander, and when it does, return your attention to your feet without judging yourself or giving yourself a hard time.
Continue turning attention to the rest of your body in the some way, spending several minutes each on your bock, then your hands, then your arms. Finally, bring attention to your face and head, noticing expressions and reflections of emotions that occur around your mouth and eyes in particular. So often, we lose track of the fact that we would give someone else the benefit of the doubt in a particular situation but not ourselves. You love your child, but sometimes it may seem like he chooses to be a pain—resisting bedtime, forgetting his backpack, or whatever else gets under your skin.
You may wonder how you can make strong decisions, protect yourself, and still acknowledge others’ perspectives in this way. Find a comfortable, stable position, either seated or lying down, and observe several breaths. After several minutes, imagine a close friend or someone unconditionally supportive, a person for whom you have almost entirely positive feelings.
After a few minutes have passed, move on to a neutral person, a stranger, someone you see around but don’t really know—maybe someone at a local store or gas station, or who works nearby.
Now think of a difficult person—not the most difficult, but someone you’ve disagreed with in a smaller way. This practice will help you guide your attention more often to what’s going on in the present, rather than being caught up elsewhere in your mind. Sit comfortably, finding a stable position you can maintain for a while, either on the floor or in a chair. Draw attention to the physical sensation of breathing, perhaps noticing the always-present rising and falling of your abdomen or chest, or perhaps the air moving in and out through your nose or mouth. Practice pausing before making any physical adjustments, such as moving your body or scratching an itch. Breathing in and breathing out, return your attention to the breath each time it wanders elsewhere.
Please leave your comments below and let me know what you thought of this 10 minute meditation. This is a post by Vishvapani, a mindfulness trainer and senior member of my Buddhist order.
We’re in the middle of the Mindfulness Boom as Buddhist-derived meditation practices enter the cultural mainstream. For a visual cue, imagine your body as like a bunch of children’s wooden blocks, stacked one on top of another.
Doing this in effect also creates an upward flow of energy that allows you to stack the blocks up high – certainly higher than if you piled them crooked.
People often come to my meditation courses because they want to learn how to slow down their crazy busy lives.
This past spring, I attended professional training in Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) — a program started by Jon Kabat-Zinn at the UMass Medical Center. In the metta bhavana meditation practice, we imagine that we’re connected to all humanity and all life – and send our lovingkindness out to them.
One of my clients — I’ll call him Mark — took up meditation to help with his lifelong anxiety. We’ve all been told since childhood that if we want something to happen, we have to MAKE it happen. After tossing and turning through some sleepless nights, I discovered a few things about the discomfort at the root of my insomnia. Enchanted by how long this lizard could go without moving or blinking his open eyelids, we moved even closer. He was in a deep and peaceful state and as a long time meditation practitioner, strangely, I recognized this.
It wasn’t until I was in my thirties and having children that I started to make the connection between daily meditation practice and life “off the cushion.” Before nursing my four kids, the night was my time to go inward—to sleep and rise before the sun to meditate. But as all parents know, “my time” morphed into “our time” and remained that way for many years. Although daily meditation practice requires commitment, just like a marriage or a career, the payoff is priceless. Have you ever felt you were observing the mind’s chatter from a separate place, even for a few moments?
If you are interested in this experience, here is a simple meditation practice you can try in the very early morning or late evening when everyone is sleeping and your home is silent and still. Get our Meditation Made Easy Beginners Guide along with weekly articles and free resources delivered to your inbox.
Want to join the the community of teachers and practitioners who write for About Meditation? You may be familiar by now with the physical, emotional and psychological stress that are the unfortunate side-effects of caring for a loved one with dementia. The good news is that the practice of mindfulness meditation can actually reverse the negative impact of stress on your body, cultivate more compassion for yourself and others, and even shrink your amygdala – the fear center of your brain. Preliminary research indicates that people who care for family members with Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias in the home experienced a decrease in perceived stress and mood disturbance when practicing Mindfulness-based Stress Reduction (MBSR) (Brown, 2015).
The awareness that emerges through paying attention on purpose, in the present moment, and non-judgmentally to the unfolding of experience moment to moment. The goal of mindfulness is to find liberation and reduce suffering by training your mind to respond, rather than react, to your experiences. Mindfulness is not “zoning out,” “day dreaming,” or “relaxation,” though it can be relaxing once you learn to control your reaction to your thoughts. Find a comfortable position; your eyes can be closed or with a soft focus on a point in front of you. Set your intention for your practice (to cultivate patience, to get a break, to better your health). When you feel your attention is steady, let go of these “subtitles” and experience your breath just as it is, being aware that you are aware.
When you find that you are no longer paying attention to your breath – or other object of focus – just begin again. When your time is complete, consider the possibility of carrying this mindful awareness with you throughout the day.
Allowing (Acceptance) – Be willing to be present to your experience, no matter how unpleasant. Investigate – Unhook yourself from the object or story, so you can witness the emotion with kindness, and from an unbiased perspective. Use a kitchen timer, your phone or an app such as the Insight Meditation Timer so you do not have to keep opening your eyes.

About Mindfulness & GriefMindfulness & Grief is an inspirational grief book by Heather Stang, and is based on the 8 week program she created.
Breath integrates your mind-body relationship by helping you to release stress and calm your mind while working with your natural physiology to relax. You can use this mindful breathing exercise as often as you like, and do it as often as you need. I suggest that to experience a mindful breath most effectively that you, as much as you are able, set aside 5 minutes or so without distractions or interruptions. Let yourself calm your mind and open your heart as you do this simple mindful breath meditation. When I started exploring mindfulness in the 1990’s, it was also described as evolving from those ancient Eastern traditions, but it wasn’t connected directly to spirituality or the soul. Over the past 30 years, mindfulness has proved to be very effective--not only for stress management, but for coping with chronic pain, depression and addiction, and for improving relationships. However, Sleep in Heavenly Peace by Genevieve Gerard stands out from other tapes I've listened to. If lying down, let your arms and legs relax and fall to the sides; if seated, find a balanced and stable position. Notice the pressure of your feet against the floor or bed, the temperature, comfort or discomfort, itches, or anything else. Notice physical sensations, such as breathing, internal feelings like hunger or fullness, and the resonance of any emotions—physical manifestations of happiness, sadness, tension, anger, feeling open or closed, and so on. Then bring attention to your neck and shoulders, releasing tension when you’re able without fighting what remains. Take a moment of stillness, and then, with intention, choose when to move on with your day. Whether we’re on autopilot or even when giving a situation our full attention, we can make mistakes. When you’re caught up in the struggle of trying to keep him on track, frustration may sometimes mask your larger wish for his well-being. You may feel vulnerable when extending compassion to both yourself and others, as if you are in some way condoning their perhaps inappropriate actions. You can take care of yourself, or take firm action to protect yourself from someone, and yet still maintain this larger perspective. This person also desires happiness, whether going through a stretch of relative ease or more acutely in need of your emotional support. Extend the some wishes to this neutral person without judging whatever you actually feel or aiming to push yourself. Your perspectives differ and you must firmly take care of yourself, yet this difficult person’s actions are also driven by a wish for happiness. In an unforced way, send this compassionate wish for well-being to anyone you imagine, anywhere. If you feel unmoored, lost, or pulled in different directions, take a moment to wish yourself peace, just as you’d comfort a friend.
The sensation of breathing is often used only because you­­­r breath is with you all the time. With intention, shift at a moment you choose, allowing space between what you experience and what you choose to do. For these few minutes, create an opportunity to not plan or fix or whatever else is your habit. Maybe notice if you can find a moment of stillness inside you, like the pause at the end of each breath. I have found this meditation effective in keeping your attention in the present moment thereby letting go of anxiety and fear.
But is this the Dharma touching and transforming western society, or is Buddhism being turned into a self-help technique and a consumer product?
So even though we think of gravity as a force that pulls downward, when it’s used well you can think of it as creating a natural upward lift as well.
But after some weeks of this, you still feel like things are crazy busy and all over the place. I often sat there wondering what the heck metta was supposed to feel like, because I just didn’t get it.
Basically, MBSR is a way of presenting meditation in a secular context — for health, wellness, and self-awareness.
He told me that every sit still featured that same old frenzied monkey mind swinging from tree to tree.
Realizing that it’s always there on some level, it’s given me something real to work with, day and night.
In fact, this lizard taught me a surprising lesson about mindful parenting and meditation that I want to share with you.
Knowing how to spontaneously “tune in” to mindful awareness at any moment is the long-term benefit of a strong meditation practice.
In the wee hours of the morning, I look forward to meditating and plugging into my deeper pulse. I have found that the benefit of knowing and accessing your deepest self, free from the mind’s busy thoughts, is incredibly useful for daily life. Start to notice that your mind is thinking lots of thoughts (incessant chatter—this is what the mind does, this is the mind’s function). Start meditating today and release the source of your stress with these proven meditation techniques.
Receive her One Dozen Rituals for Sustainable Happiness by email request.  You can work with Betsi or join her at her evolving blog space.
As if the pain of someone dear to you wasn’t difficult enough, your own body and mind may begin to suffer as you use your own precious resources to care for them.  Left unchecked, this constant exposure to the stress response known as fight-or-flight can compromise your health. Mindfulness techniques can be practiced formally (seated meditation, walking meditation) or informally (awareness breaks, mindfully engaging in day to day tasks, mindful communication). You don’t have to clear your mind, or have a particular set of spiritual or religious beliefs. Catching yourself and bringing yourself back is what Sharon Salzberg calls the “magic moment in meditation.” This is the practice – leaving the present and bringing yourself back again and again. Ask yourself, “What is happening inside me right now?” You can gently label it non-judgmentally: Fear, fear.
Start with 5-10 minutes 3 times a week, and work your way up to 10-20 minutes 5 days a week.
This site is designed to be a companion to the grief book as well as a standalone grief resource. As you sit, you can use this technique as a little consciousness shift in the midst of your day. However, I take this technique one step further to increase your consciousness and your awareness by breathing mindfully.
In medicine and psychology, mindfulness is still presented as secular: it works just as well for people who are not religious as for those who have strong spiritual beliefs.

When something uncomfortable grabs your attention, like pain or an itch, observe it first and see if it changes.
Yet our desire is for happiness, and we’re trying to find our way there—we don’t intentionally make a misstep. With effort and repetition, it’s possible to hardwire new neural pathways that reinforce compassion in interactions with yourself, your child, and the world. Rather, the practice is simply to remind yourself that you deserve happiness and ease—no more and no less than anyone else—and that the same goes for your child, your family, your friends, your neighbors, and everyone else in the world. If this person found relief from his own suffering, it’s likely that his behavior would change. If your child frustrates you and you lose your temper, briefly practice this meditation for his sake and your own. Some days meditation allows you a few moments of peace; other days your mind will remain busy. No one can pay attention all the time. Just keep returning to noticing your body whenever you find yourself thinking of something else. If it’s time for sleep, let that happen, remaining still and continuing to pay attention to your breath or feelings in your body.
Things happened that were so overpowering that all my usual routines went out the window just so I could get through each day.
Its time for Buddhists to start reflecting seriously on the mindfulness movement and to learn its lessons. How was I supposed to feel warmth and affection for somebody I admitted not getting along with? He’d been meditating on and off for two years, gone on retreats, read tons of dharma books, done everything he could think of.
And eventually, I discovered that there is a fountain of peace in each and every one of us (Giant Lizards included!). It means that you found the portal to what I like to call, the ‘secret treasure,’ otherwise known as meditation.
You are now “practicing” a basic meditation (10 minutes a day, every day, is a great start!).
Whether you want to relax, stimulate creativity, gain enlightenment, or cultivate compassion and mindfulness, we help you learn how to let go.
So often we are stuck in our heads – this gives you the chance to notice the rest of your body, which creates more space in this moment. She holds a Masters degree in Thanatology (Death, Dying, and Bereavement) from Hood College in Maryland, and is a certified Phoenix Rising Yoga Therapy practitioner.
If you can, close your door and ask your co-workers or family to give you a few undisturbed minutes. It seems so different from Touch of the Soul, which is clearly the work of a spiritual teacher who has combined a variety of techniques to guide people toward the experience of higher consciousness.
But if you fall back on these kinds of reactions repeatedly, it may affect both you and those around you. Remind yourself of your child’s desire for happiness and your own wishes for the same, whatever he may have done. Seek balance in this way; if you find yourself mostly daydreaming and off in fantasy, devote a little extra effort to maintaining your focus. You might feel a blanket or socks on your feet, or you might feel them pressing against the bed or the floor. Relax them if you can, and if not, simply paying attention to your hands for another moment. When your mind gets busy or angry or scared, you can always come back to how your body feels in this way for a moment. And if it’s time to wake up, open your eyes and sit for a few moments before deciding when to move again. It’s a way to balance your natural ability to relax with the forces of gravity to find a well-aligned posture that’s effortless and free.
I am now moving toward offering MBSR classes of my own in the Boston area, starting this fall. Over the past 27 years, several meditation teachers have given me life-altering instruction, guiding me to the deeper ground of my being.
She has led mindfulness-based grief workshops for organizations such as the National Fallen Firefighters Association and Hospice of Frederick County, and is a member of the Association of Death Education and Counseling.
Let’s look at what mindfulness is, then I’ll describe how mindfulness and Touch of the Soul meet and blend so well, as Genevieve Gerard takes us beyond today’s mindfulness practices into the experience of spirituality. Her pauses are perfectly placed and the listener has time to actually repeat, reflect, refresh. Even when we completely disagree with others or how they’re acting, their intent is still happiness. And if you practice, you’ll find yourself focusing more often on life with less effort. Without giving yourself a hard time or expecting anything different, when you discover that your attention has wandered, notice whatever has distracted you and then come back to the breath. But looking at it from a common sense perspective, is it reasonable to expect a 30 minute sit to cancel out the effect of 15 hours of frenetic activity? Even a few seconds can help your body interrupt the fight-or-flight response and bring you more peace and health. A pilot randomized controlled trial of mindfulness-based stress reduction for caregivers of family members with dementia. Heather’s mission is to help people who are grieving to stay healthy and benefit from the transformative experience of grief, using mindfulness-based practices, relaxation, and expressive arts. The basic technique is to sit or lie down, and simply pay attention to your breath or your body sensations. The most important thing is that you start over and over and over as often as you need to – with a gentle and kind attitude to yourself. She has an established practice offering Phoenix Rising Yoga Therapy sessions, day-long retreats, and 8 Week Yoga for Grief groups. My meditation practice began with the same steps presented in the Meditations for Daily Joy: first getting centered by relaxing my body and calming my feelings and thoughts, then opening my heart and visualizing a brilliant point of light over my head as a symbol of my soul.
Anytime the mind starts to wander, bring it back over and over to these sensations in the present moment: breathing awareness, and the five senses.
I was learning that variations of these techniques had been passed down through generations of spiritual teachers in the East over thousands of years.

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