Thursday, June 14, 2012

Playing With Mindfulness

Mindfulness is a serious matter, no doubt. There is also a real danger in taking one's practice too seriously. A persistent frown, jaws clenching, shoulders becoming stiff, shallow breath, knot in the stomach . . . these may all be manifestations of an overzealous attitude, a case of practice taking a wrong turn. U Tejaniya spends a lot of time on this, teaching about the right attitude:
You have to double check to see what attitude you are meditating with. A light and free mind enables you to meditate well. Do you have the right attitude?
There is a game I play often during practice, and that helps me stay light and concentrated. I call it playing catch with the breath. Sitting with the intention of resting in the breath, I allow myself to be surprised by each new inhalation. Over and over, breath out, noticing pause, and then, the delight  of breath coming in. Sweetness of body being breathed once more. Being grateful for yet another moment, alive. 


  1. Playing! I am interested in exploring this in relation to mindfulness practice with children in my new blog
    Patrice Thomas exemplifies this at

  2. Once I heard Thich Nhat Hanh say something like "If your practice is not light and easy, you are doing something wrong." My immediate response was "Gee, I guess I'll have to try harder."

  3. So refreshing and beautiful to even read! Thanks for the brilliant idea. Will practice this when I sit for meditation today. Thanks!

  4. HockeyBuddhist, thank you for the Thich Nhat Hanh's quote. Mindfulness practice is an art as much as a science . . . Gil Fronsdal really helped me get it with this simple exercise: sit with a friend and take turns. First person just sits and listen with eyes closed. Other person also sits with eyes closed but says out loud what is coming in their field of awareness. After doing this, I realized how simple mindfulness is. Just noticing what is.

  5. Between Life, I wish you a happy, relaxed practice!

  6. That's a brilliant strategy, letting yourself be surprised by each new inhalation! I sometimes struggle with tensing too much during meditation or yoga practice.

    Especially lately when I am more anxious about things, I feel my throat clenching when I breath.

    Following breath, rather than forcing breath seems to help.

    Thanks so much!

  7. You're welcome!

    Anything to make it easier to live with ourselves, moment to moment . . .