This section is dedicated to questions on Mindfulness Meditation from many students all over the world. If you have a question that you would like to ask you can said it to this address: Send a Message
thankyou and take care,
QUESTION from Mimi: These are good meditations but would love to have an indicator that it is finished.; Verbal or bell. Since there are many long silent interludes it's hard to know when he's done. Thank you
ANSWER: Hello Mimi, this meditation practice is training for Mindfulness in Daily Life (MIDL), this means that we meditate not only in seated meditation but in all areas of our daily life. To do this seated meditation is used as training for meditating in daily life activities.
This is why MIDL guided Mindfulness Meditations have no ending as such like a bell - because Mindfulness meditation does not end at the end of the seated session - it continues. So to signify the transition between formal seated meditation and standing up and meditating throughout your day, transitional phrases are used to indicate the end of the formal seated training. This is signalled by the phrases "Now anchor your attention back into your body" ........ "Start to be aware of any sounds around you - hear them but don't listen to them" ......... "And now when your ready you can gently open your eyes". This is indicates the ending of the seated meditation throughout the series.
QUESTION from Thomas: Wow... Challenging! Considering the length. One of my longest sessions so far! But a good one to be proud of even though the last minutes were becoming pretty hard... ;-) Thanks for this piece of mindfulness and relaxation! Namaste
ANSWER: Hello Thomas, MIDL Mindfulness meditation training is about observing your mind and in particular its relationship to what is being experienced. With this in mind, when you say "the last minutes were becoming pretty hard" - What does this actually mean?
Something must have changed, some mental 'stance' of the mind, for the meditation to swap from being perceived as 'comfortable' to being perceived as 'hard'. It is within these points of change that the fruit of this practice can be found - investigate this. When you notice this change in 'stance' of the mind - and if you find resistance - use the skills developed in exercise 3: Softening Into - to Soften Into / relax into - the resistance and see what happens.
QUESTION from Carmen: I'm having a hard time understanding the 'there is no body' statement. I understand that my body (?) is not who I am. But I have no idea what 'there is no body' means? How else would I take a meditation posture either sitting or lying down?
ANSWER: Hello Carmen, there are two ways to know your body, one is mental processes such as perception and thought, the other is through direct experience which is used during meditation. When we think about our body it is always in terms of "My body is Standing, sitting or laying down" "My body is tall or short" "My body is fat or thin" "My body is this colour or that colour" "My body is attractive or ugly" "My body is healthy or unhealthy" etc.
This is how we approach our bodies through the thought process and in everyday life. Mindfulness meditation is not concerned with what we think about our body but rather how we can 'experience it directly". When we close our eyes and experience our body it is experienced as a series of sensations known as the Four Elemental Qualities. They are a range of Soft - hard, Cool - hot, Dry to wet, Expansion to Contraction - movement. This is how we actually experience our bodies and breathing during meditation, as these different elemental qualities. When you focus in on these elemental qualities the borders of the perception of your body fade, the mental constructs cease and you experience 'no body', just these different sensations.
QUESTION from Dorothea: Dear Stephen, I love this practice but I can't grasp the moment thinking arises. I experience moments without a thought and then I find myself in the middle of thinking and don't know how I got there. I will repeat this lesson quite a bit maybe I get the idea. Have you any suggestions for improving this process? Thanks a lot! Have a wonderful peaceful day! Thank you!
ANSWER: Hello Dorothea, these gaps between being aware of your meditation object, in this case the touch of your hands and the mental silence and when you suddenly realise that you have been lost in a thought is the basis for Mindfulness meditation training. Your effort should be towards noticing the moment a thought arises.
Treat it like a game, feel the touch of your hands, relax your mind - mental silence - then watch. You suddenly realise that that you have been lost in a thought again - wonderful - the realising is how Mindfulness is strengthened. Next notice what it feels like now to be Mindful again / fully aware, compared to what it felt like to be lost in the thought, unaware - then go back to the touch of your hands, relax your mind - mental silence - then watch - like a cat watching a mouse hole.
This is the game of MIDL Mindfulness meditation training. I also suggest practicing this without the guided meditation playing - you will develop greater results. This very act of watching, trying to notice the these moments of unawareness is the key, in this way the sharpness of your mindfulness will develop and you will catch the beginning of a thought - but it needs to be approached with the right attitude - of interest and fun - like a game. .