Step 5 – Mindfulness
“May I Be Mindful Through My Breathing”

Wherever I shine the lamplight of Divine breath,
there the difficulties of a whole world are resolve
The darkness which the earthly sun did not remove,
becomes through My breath a bright morning.
(Mathnawi I, 1941-2 of Jalaluddin Rumi translated by Camille and Kabir Helminski in Rumi Daylight)

Focus on breath and breathing is central to contemplative practices within all religions. Vigilance of the inner workings of our mind is a carefully honed discipline.  Mindfully, concentrating on our breath and our breathing we are able to calm, clear, observe, and restore our connection with the essence of being. Thoughts, memories, and feelings are observed and released. We focus on our breath, drawing our conscious awareness into our heart center.  Opening ourselves to the reciprocity of universal love, healing, and  wisdom we establish the tranquil focus that leads us into deep meditation. 

Mindfulness meditation requires us to cultivate the following attributes.

1. Body position: developing the right way to situate or move our body.
2. Attention: keeping our mind attentive on the object of our meditation.
3. Focus on Breathing: releasing all distracting thoughts, emotions, hopes, memories and expectations.
4. Patience: calmly persevere when we loose our focus and our mind wanders.
5. Inner Observation: cultivate the capacity to be vigilant and to watch for distractions while focusing on breath.
6. Recollection: remembering to keep focus on breath when challenged by distractions.

(1) Video Intro: 

(2) Readings: ISM Part II, Step Five, Pages 113-130 and MIP 183-200

Our readings this week also include articles and guided meditations on Buddhism (Ed Bastian), Christianity(Tessa Bielecki), and Yoga (Yogi Mataraja Kallio). Please reference these in your discussions.

(3) Resources: Take a look at the additional resources I have provided for this topic and do some of your own research.  Gather together and reflect on your own resources, life experiences and the breathing and mindfulness practices of a variety of traditions.  Determine how you will engage in this step whether you are sitting, standing, walking, exercising, or laying down.

(4) Journaling: Contemplate and journal about the following attributes of Mindfulness meditation.  Familiarity with the attributes implied in the following questions will help you cultivate a satisfying and sustainable practice.

  • What is the importance of achieving mental calm and focus?
  • How can focus on breath help you to develop calm, in-the-moment attention?
  • What are the best body positions for your meditation?  Sitting, walking, laying down, standing, yoga asanas, chi gong?
  • What is the importance of self-patience in the midst of distracting thoughts, emotions, feelings, etc?
  • How are you gradually able to to observe and be aware of the inner workings of your mind that were previously invisible to you?
  • How are you able to refocus on your breath in the midst of physical and mental distractions?
  • What is your experience like when you breath into your heart center and let your undistracted conscious awareness reside there?

(5) Meditation: Practice the seven steps with special emphasis on Step Five.  Do your best to practice this on your own, relying on the guided meditation as necessary.

Click here to download a copy an MP3 file of ISM onto your own computer.

(6) Weekly Class Audio-Video Recordings

If you weren’t able to attend the live online class, or would like to watch/listen again, please click the following link.

Click here for the video recordings of our weekly classes.

(7) Reflections:

Mindfulness is essential to the cultivation of our overall contemplative practice.  As you develop your mindfulness practice, it is helpful to focus on the individual attributes that are listed above.  Please reflect on one or more of these attributes and how you are working to cultivate them.

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