MINDFUL LIVING

Probably when you come to this page, you have some expectation to really find out what is mindful lifestyle. I’d appreciate your definition to it in the comments below, too.
From my side, I would put it in the following way: maintaining mindfulness at its utmost in our life as lay (non-monaistic) people. (Otherwise, mindfulness at its best directs to monkhood and nunhood).
Here one may find several aspects:

☞ 1. Developing and maintaining mindfulness in daily meditation practice.

See about the theory of mindfulness here, and about its practice here. Meditation is the best way to work on your mindfulness. However, one can also do contemplation, which is thinking, reflecting on a specific subject with concentration, which will also require mindfulness.

As for the meditation practice, it is commonly recommended to conduct your sitting meditation sessions in the morning, upon wake up, as the first activity, and in the evening, before bed, as the last activity. In this way you awaken together with your mind, and you fall asleep with it, which is supposed to make that meditative state of mind for the whole period of the night, creating meaningful counterbalance to the other part of the day, when most people forget about mindfulness, thus happening to spend most part of their life in forgetfulness.

☞ 2. Participate in retreats regularly to strengthen your meditation skills

The affect of egregor on us is well known. It is always more likely one will do something what others do, rather than doing it on his/her own. The same concerns the power of  meditation. During 7-10-21 days retreats we stay in the atmosphere of full immersion in meditation together with the others. Everyone performs the same activity; you free yourself from any duties at home and at work; you get support of teachers – thanks tto all this your mindfulness is likely to grow. The created energy will feed you with the ease of practice during a period of time after a retreat.

RECOMMENDATIONS

☞ Vipassana meditation by S.N. Goenkais the most famous meditation course well spread around the world.

It is based on long, from 1 to 2 hours sitting sessions of meditation, with very short breaks. Information for intellectual understanding is provided through audio recordings, and the practice is maintained in a large group. Quite nominal consultations with the teacher. Quite a difficult course, which teaches very well the theory and it’s application in practice. The advantage is availability of the course in all many languages and its proximity to your country, almost no matter where you are. Strict separation between males and females and usually quite limited spaces to walk during your rest time.

If you want to experience other more or less serious and real (means not adapted to our western countries) Vipassana meditation course, you might want to travel to Asia. Thailand offers many options, I’ll note two which seem quite outstanding for me.

☞ Koh Pangan meditation center

The course duration is 7 days. The level is easy, but quite serious to give a first taste of meditation and understanding of Buddhist teaching about life. This course can become a good start to introduce the practice into your life. More over, the place by itself is very beautiful with picturesque views and amazing food! Besides, you can spend another week enjoying beaches of the Southern island. The course consists of 45 minute sessions of a sitting meditation, 30 minutes walking meditation, long breaks, karma-yoga activities (works to help maintain the place), and 1.5 hrs long lectures. Personal discussion with the teacher. The space is just sufficient to walk around to spend your rest time.

☞ Chom Tong monastery.

A very serious meditation course very effectively introducing meditation and mindfulness into your everyday life. Individual approach, every day discussions with the teacher. The program is built in a way very easy to begin and gradually growing in time and intensity. Provided very good conditions for meditation, plus a bit of experience of monastic life. Sitting meditation time always equals to walking meditation time, starting from only 10 minutes and reaching up to 1 hour each. No any lectures or teaching, but the practice together with regular consultations with the teacher discover to the mediator a lot about mind and our experience of the laws of the Nature. The proposed full course is 21 day and it is quite challanging teaching you besides all about our conditioning with sleeping, which makes it so fruitful. However, they are flexible to adjust with the program to your schedule. Big center with lots of choice of where to walk and spend your mindful rest time.

☞ Tushita is a center in India

It also offers a course of Vipassana meditation with sitting a walking, which I haven’t tried, so can’t say more. But they offer a really nice Introductory course to Buddhism, where give a lot of lectures and 30 minutes guided meditation sessions by monastics as well as experienced lay practitioners. Questions are welcome, individual discussion with the teacher is upon request, also discussion groups with other students are formed to apply the knowledge from the lectures to personal situations in life. Meals are three times per day, unlike in other cases where food is served only twice. The course is 10 days and is conducted in half silence. The walking area is just enough. Our of all suggested options, Tushita is the only one paid course. Others are based on voluntarily donat

☞ Thabarwa Nature Center is one more exceptional meditation center not to forget to mention.

I would better call it a recreation center based on practice of meditation too. This is a unique experience of life among monks and nuns in a community with an extraordinary approach of its creator, Sayadaw Ottamasara, who accepts all without almost any rules, and lets everyone stay and participate, have meals – all for free. This is possible due to the volunteering spirit of the center, where one learns about mindfulness through the practice of doing good deeds with mindfulness and detachment. The master gives Dhamma (Buddhist teaching about the Truth) teachings when he stays in the center, and it is possible to join him on his trips when he goes outside with his visits to other communities to give wisdom teachings in Burmese.
Thabarwa is a village with another adjoining village, where life is very intense, lots of unusual experience happens. Conditions of stay are quite challanging due to the simplicity of free of charge buildings. The experience of stay in Thabarwa Nature Center is very life enriching and mind changing.
Communication with the master is welcome and possible upon your strong interest. Otherwise, there is no strict schedule for meditation and one can learn by joining some sessions conducted by nuns or experienced followers of the master. There are great opportunities to develop own skills of initiative to help, do, create. Fun life and lots of sharing together with other visitors and dwellers, locals and foreigners of Thabarwa center.

☞ 3. Study corresponding materials in the form of books, lectures.

As we have spent too much time of our life without any mindfulness, we have soaked a lot of dust in our mind. Therefore, it is important to counterfeit it with the weight of the new incoming information to our mind. Along with that, it is proven as a stable effect to change some habits in life: elimination of TV and computer games, as well as journals and excessive news sources helps us build mindfulness better. It’s just that mind receives less distraction, less data to process, it is not led by external tricks of media and advertising.

As we have spent too much time of our life without any mindfulness, we have soaked a lot of dust in our mind. Therefore, it is important to counterfeit it with the weight of the new incoming information to our mind. Along with that, it is proven as a stable effect to change some habits in life: elimination of TV and computer games, as well as journals and excessive news sources helps us build mindfulness better. It’s just that mind receives less distraction, less data to process, it is not led by external tricks of media and advertising.

Instead, make a healthy habit of listening to plural lectures on YouTube by such famous masters,as Osho, Sadhguru, Mooji, Ekhart Tolle, who challange your understanding of life and provoke awakening processes. Listen on the go, listen while cooking, cleaning, etc.

Read books that can be comprehensive to you and will increase your level of understanding more. It can be “What Buddha said”, “What Buddhists teach” for the beginners.

To continue, you might like Dhamma as it is. Books and articles teaching about the Four Noble Truths, Dépendant Origination, the Nature of Suffering and elimination of suffering.

For advanced learning, study Abidhama, use books of Ledi Sayadaw, master about 5 khandas, nama and rupa, jhanas absorption and more and more.

☞ 4. Live every day life by making mindful choices, understanding why you do something, where it should take you to.

Everything you do should fall under one and the same purpose – developing mindfulness in your life experience. Thus, next time switching on a TV you will either switch it off immediately, realizing this is just a habit, or you will direct your mind in line with your understanding, what you are going to watch and how it is going to help you.

Going to sleep early or late, eating everything or by choice, visiting places, meeting friends, etc – all should become filled with sense. There is no philosophy and deep analytical/psychological processes here. It is just mindfulness, one pointedness, stability in mind orientation towards something and keeping own “word”.

☞ 5. Analyze your actions/behavior/attitude towards others, accept own mistakes, make conclusions for a change next time.

Mindfulness has to do with truthfulness. It is the truth of the present moment happening, as well as it is the truth of any situation. In that case when we take responsibility for our doings, sayings, we look at the result and try to understand the cause that created it, we remain truthful. Thus we learn a lesson and we take another chance to do better next time.

Learning a lesson and growing with it is a bigger priority rather than avoiding embarrassment or even shame. This is why no matter that our ego may tell us to keep face and our pride, we should take responsibility for our deeds, behavior, if we have fallen to be wrong and we should correct either the situation or the attitude towards related people. Here mindfulness plays a role of concentration on the subject even when it is unpleasant. Choosing the power of the truth of happening is right, no matter who is right or wrong, important is the outcome.

☞ 6. Experience everything.

It means a) not to avoid any situation out of fear/not knowing/discomfort; b) participate in any situation with awareness of experience happpening.

7. See where else you can improve yourself, what efforts you can invest into your personal growth.

8. Care about others, help them with the understanding that they are an integral part of your existence in this world.

9. Be considerate about what we contribute into this world: harm VS care.

Additional points:

10. Keep precepts, take extra precepts

11. Challange your mind by practicing ascetism

12. Visit monasteries, try monastic way of life temporary


DISCUSSION ON MEDITATION AND UNDERSTANDING. SUCCESS STORIES AND PITFALLS ON THE WAY.

Real life examples of how meditation proves useful in life or how smth that looked impossible with meditation before became possible. In the beginning 5 minutes of sitting meditation seemed such a long waste of time! Now I meditate an hour and consider that more time should be devoted to siittting through the day.
Just share anything that looks like a good change, let’s support and inspire each other! Leave your stories here.

A situation on the plane. The effect of meditation.

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