Thursday, October 30, 2008

Awareness of the Here and Now

This section highlights an approach to meditation known as mindfulness —moment to moment awareness of your experience as it unfolds. Mindfulness combines concentration (highly focused awareness) and a more receptive awareness that simply welcomes whatever arises. Because mindfulness grows like a house on a foundation of concentration, you’ll need to strengthen and stabilize your concentration before you can proceed to the full practice of mindfulness. That’s why the initial meditations provided here emphasize focusing on a particular object of concentration — your breath. Ultimately, the goal of mindfulness meditation is to develop the capacity to be fully present for whatever is occurring right here and now. When you’ve stabilized your concentration by focusing on your breath, you can expand your awareness to include the full range of bodily sensations — and eventually you can just welcome whatever presents itself in your field of experience. Though supremely simple, this advanced technique can take years of patient practice to master, but you may have glimpses of a more expanded awareness after only a few weeks of regular meditation.

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