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Chapter 3: MIDL Formal Seated Meditation


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Formal Meditation Structure

MIDL is based on the Satipatthana Sutta and follows a very specific and clear path of development that guides its seated Mindfulness meditation training. Below are step by step instructions on the progression of this path of practice. Follow these stages for steady progression and strong foundation.

Settling the Mind Section

1. To begin your MIDL Mindfulness Meditation training take a meditation posture.

2. Close your eyes over gently, take a deep breath and as you breathe out - relax.

3. Start by becoming aware of what it feels like, just to be here.

4. Becoming aware of any sounds around you, focus on the change within the sound, allowing it to 'ground' your attention.

5. Next, bring awareness into your body, the experience of warmth, coolness, gently holding them in mind.

6. Gently place your attention on the feeling of heaviness in your body, remember it continuously.

7. Allow your awareness to take in the touch of your hands, the point of touch with the chair or floor.

8. Widen your awareness now to experience your whole body: 'heaviness', 'warmth, 'coolness', 'hardness', softness or 'pressing', 'heat', maybe 'vibration' or 'aching'. Whatever you are experiencing is ok, your task is to gently be aware of them, holding them in mind.

9. Observe whenever your attention moves away from the experience of your body to a thought or sound. Wandering of attention is ok, just acknowledge it, relax and come back to the experience of your whole body just sitting there.

Softening Into Section

10. Next turn your attention towards any tension within your body, take a deep gentle breath in – then with a gentle, slow breath out, relax the tension, soften into it.

11. Take another deep breath in then wherever you feel tension within, let that relax as well, as you breathe out.

12. Focus on nothing else except relaxing with every out breath; allow your body to become heavier, moment by moment.

13. Do not rush relaxing, forget about time, obligations and the world. This time is yours, enjoy it and let go. During this technique do not think but soundlessly watch, ignoring past and future or any external distractions.

14. Once your whole body is relaxed start focussing on mentally relaxing, relaxing with each breath and practice softening, allowing your body and mind to sink deeper and deeper.

Mindfulness of Breathing Section

15. Now relax your chest and belly and allow your breathing to happen naturally, not controlling it in any way.

16. Become aware of the full length of the in-breath from ‘nose > chest > belly’, out-breath from 'belly > chest > nose', as they move within the experience of your whole body. Be aware of the experience of breathing within your body as if watching from a distance.

17. Use a simple, silent mental label such as 'in' and 'out' concurrent with the experience of breathing to help train your attention.

18. If your attention wanders to thinking or a sound, acknowledge it with a mental label such as “thinking, thinking” or “hearing, hearing” and return to the breathing.

19. Next widen your awareness and experience the ‘expanding / contracting’ feeling in shoulders / upper back as your body responds to breathing.

20. Allow this awareness to grow until you can experience ‘expanding / contracting’ throughout your whole body, develop it until the whole body appears to breathe.

21. 'Open' to whatever you are experiencing 'now' on the in-breath, 'Soften' into whatever you are experiencing 'now' on the out-breath.

22. Start paying attention to only the out-breath – (contraction) following it inwards to the very end. Notice the end of the out-breath and sit ‘in / relax in’ the gap between the in- breath and out-breaths.

23. When the gap between the in-breath and out-breath becomes clear start to notice the end of the out-breath > gap > beginning of in-breath, allowing the gap between the breaths to clarify.

Mindfulness of Distraction Section

22. If anything draws your attention from your breathing like an itch, thought or sound, place your attention on the distraction and see what it feels like. Once its pull weakens, you can come back to placing your attention on the experience of each breath as it comes in and out.

23. You can use mental labelling to hold your attention in the present such as “in, out” concurrent with your breathing or “thinking, thinking” “hearing, hearing” “itching, itching” or wherever your attention is sitting. Be careful to focus on the experience itself rather than the content of the experience, an example of this is when observing thinking do not focus on what the thought is about but on the feeling of thinking itself.

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Chapter 4: MIDL Developing Your Foundation

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© Copyright © 2013. All rights reserved

This article was written by Stephen Procter, Meditation Instructor from Meditation in The Shire, Kirrawee NSW, Australia. If you wish to post this article on another website or in a publication please respect the author and reference / link back to this website, thank you

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