We can’t control what thoughts and emotions arise within us, nor can we control the universal truth that everything changes. But we can learn to step back and rest in the awareness of what’s happening. That awareness can be our refuge.
Some of your thoughts and feelings may be fascinating and delightful; some may make you uncomfortable; some may be deadly dull. You’ll practice letting them all go, without taking the time to judge them. This is a crucial first step in learning how to be more centered and present.
Meditation teaches us to open our attention to all of human experience and all parts of ourselves… to focus and to pay clear attention to our experiences and responses as they arise, and to observe them without judging them.
“Meditation is essentially training our attention so that we can be more aware–not only of our own inner workings but also of what’s happening around us in the here and now. Once we see clearly what’s going on in the moment, we can then choose whether and how to act on what we’re seeing."
Concentration is a steadying and focusing of attention that allows us to let go of distractions. When our attention is stabilized in this way energy is restored to us–and we feel restored to our lives.
“Meditation has made me happy, loving, and peaceful – but not every single moment of the day. I still have good times and bad, joy and sorrow. Now I can accept setbacks more easily, with less sense of disappointment and personal failure, because meditation has taught me how to cope with the profound truth that everything changes all the time."
A very good place to become familiar with the way mindfulness works is always close by–our own bodies. Investigating physical sensations is one of the best ways for us to learn to be present with whatever is happening in the moment, and to recognize the difference between direct experience and the add-ons we bring to it.