Simple is best when beginning anything. So, today, I’ll give you a simple practice for making the most of every moment. This technique comes from Thich Nhat Hanh. Use this practice for a month — if you are low on energy or if you are lacking sometimes in concentration, you will notice a substantial difference — or if this sort of practice is entirely new to you.
Thich Nhat Hanh is one of the world’s leading teachers of mindfulness and meditation. He claims that life is available only in the here and the now; it is our true home.
Thich Nhat Hanh’s mindfulness meditation is simple and isn’t at all religious.
I’ll summarize his most basic teaching here.
Thich presents mindfulness (here and the now) living as a practice of five simple steps that you can use in just about very moment of your day.
1) Mindful Breathing,
3) Awareness of Your Body,
4) Releasing Tension, and
5) Walking Meditation
Most people are in a state being preoccupied… forgetful of true self; not really there a lot of the time. Is your mind is caught in worries, fears, regrets, anger, of not being here? That state of being is forgetfulness — here but, not here…. caught usually being preoccupied.
Thich Nhat Hanh’s method is designed to bring mindfulness home, into your body, to become more fully alive, and to perform the miracle of mindfulness — always. If you discipline yourself to practice the simple five steps, you can do so in every moment. The more that you are fully in the moment, the healthier will you be as we’ve discovered in my previous article.
Simple… the “Five Steps to Mindfulness” is a simple way to relax and energize. It brings more blood into the brain and it facilitates a deeply relaxed peacefulness. It is so simple you can use it all the time. Use it always.
1. “Breathing in, I know that I am breathing in.”
You don’t make an effort. Allow your breath to take place. Become aware of it and enjoy it. Effortlessness. Enjoyment.
2. “The energy of mindfulness is the energy of concentration.”
Follow your in-breath from the beginning to the end. If your in-breath lasts three or four seconds, then your mindfulness also lasts three or four seconds. Breathing in, I follow my in-breath all the way through. Breathing out, I follow my out-breath all the way through. From the beginning of my out-breath to the end of my out-breath, my mind is always with here with my breath.
3. “Breathing in, I am aware of my whole body.”
My body is here, so my mind ought to be here. Put peace and harmony in your breathing; the peace and the harmony will penetrate into the body, and the body will profit.
4. “There is peace and harmony in your breathing.”
Practice this simple affirmation often during the day: “Breathing in, I’m aware of my body. Breathing out, I release the tension in my body.”
5. “Every step is joy. “
You don’t make any effort during walking meditation, because it is enjoyable. You are here, body and mind together. The last step is to remind you during every transition that may occur in your day, be here, be relaxed, breathing and aware of peacefulness.
Thich Nhat Hanh’s recent book, You Are Here: Discovering the Magic of the Present Moment, is a comprehensive teaching on mindfulness. You can read that. However, you can also read up on the essentials at Mindful.org. My summary is drawn from the website basic teaching… “Five Steps to Mindfulness” taking time for what matters.
Five Steps to Mindfulness
by Thich Nhat Hanh
Beginning the day
I begin the day with a simple mindfulness morning Meditation followed by a simple prayer and breakfast. It takes only a few minutes to get the day started and thus retain the benefit of rest and to charge up my body with lasting daytime energy.
Alternatively, you may prefer this simple standing movement:
If you like a more varied routine, try the video technique one day and the morning Meditation another day… the essential key to making progress is really that by increasing mindfulness, you will become more healthy, more energetic, and peacefully relaxed.
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