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Mindfulness in Daily Life

In this practice we’ll introduce a powerful way of waking up out of autopilot mode both in meditation and in life.

Today, we're going to practice

a technique to help us return to

the present moment, both in our

meditation practice and in daily life.

Specifically, we'll be using our sense

perceptions as a cue to bring us back

from distraction and return us to the

calm, vitality and wisdom of mindfulness.

By paying attention to our sense

perceptions, we can redirect our

focus out of autopilot mode and

back into the present moment.

It's one of the most simple and

powerful mindfulness practices.

In fact, most meditations involve

some kind of awareness of our

senses, from feeling the breath

to noticing sounds and sensations.

So now we're going to begin to

cultivate an awareness of our senses

and train in using this tool, not only

in meditation, but also in our lives.

So just starting now by finding a

comfortable position for meditation.

And when you're ready, just taking

three deep, slow breaths in.

And out.

And doing that two more times.

And at the end of the next exhale, just

letting go of any control of the breath.

But letting the breath settle into

its own natural rhythm and pace.

And settling awareness now right into

your physical body, and right down

into the contact points between body

and the ground or the surface beneath.

Feeling all of the different

sensations at the contact points.

Grounding your awareness right here

and right now in the sensations

of the contact points between body

and the ground or surface beneath.

And now beginning to scan slowly

around your body, just noticing

the touch of clothing against skin.

Noticing the different textures.

Perhaps noticing the movement of the

clothing against skin as it gently

brushes when the body breathes.

Perhaps around the chest or the back.

And if the mind wanders, gently

guide it back to feeling the

sensation of clothing against skin.

And now noticing feeling into those

parts of the body exposed to the air.

Noting, perhaps if they are a little

cooler than the parts covered by clothing.

And feeling the breath flowing

into and out of the nostrils.

Noting the slight temperature difference

between the in-breath and the out-breath.

In-breath, a little cooler.

Out-breath, just a little warmer.

And now letting go of this awareness

of the breath and shifting the

focus to noticing sounds in

the surrounding soundscape.

Seeing if you can have a sense of

taking in sounds in all the different

directions - in front, behind,

to the sides, above, and below.

See if you can listen for the

softer, quieter sounds as well as

the ones that are more obvious.

So taking in the subtleties

of the soundscape.

Noticing if there's any tendency to

start thinking about the sounds or

judging them to be good or bad or

liking and disliking certain ones.

How easily sounds can create a story.

And if you notice this, just coming

back to the sounds themselves and

allowing them to be just as they are.

Seeing if you can get that sense of

hearing the sounds with fresh ears as

if hearing for the very first time.

And so far, we've been deliberate

about choosing the various

objects for our attention.

We've felt the breath and the clothing

against skin and listened to sounds.

So now just opening to all the

various sensations of the present

moment with a light touch.

All that's here to be

known, heard, and felt.

And this is often known as open

awareness or in the Zen tradition,

it's spoken of as just sitting.

So just sitting here fully present.

There's no need to choose any

particular thing to pay attention to.

Just being open to all that

is arising here and now.

There may be a momentary awareness

of the breath or a sensation

or a sound, and that's fine.

Just staying present,

noticing sense perceptions.

If at any time you notice the mind

wanders off, just notice what distracted

you and then gently guide the focus back

to the present moment via the senses.

So you might notice a sound that

you can gently land your focus on.

Perhaps the sound of a

bird or a passing car.

Or you could draw the focus to

the contact points between your

body and chair or floor beneath.

Or simply feeling the flow of

your breathing as an anchor

into the here and the now.

And then when you're ready, just

coming back to this more open

awareness of the present moment.

In our daily lives, there are so many

ways we can use this awareness of our

senses to help us become more present.

For instance, you could slow down and

really taste and savor your food today.

You could feel your feet on the ground

as you walk or take a pause to take in

all the different sounds around you.

So today, try and remember that

you can use this awareness of

your senses as a mindful reminder.

And now, just bringing

this meditation to a close.

Take a deep breath in.

As you breathe out, begin to

wriggle the fingers and toes.

And when you're ready,

gently opening the eyes.

Similar to this

Awakening Out of Autopilot ModeMeditation by Melli O'Brien
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Awakening Out of Autopilot Mode

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