Meditation and Mindfulness Practices

by Charles Day

Sitting Meditation
: Sit in a stable and comfortable position with the back, neck, and head straight. Close your eyes and focus your attention on the changing sensations of breathing, as experienced within and around the rim of the nose or in the rising and falling of the abdomen or chest. Observe each in-breath and out-breath in your chosen area as long as possible. When your attention wanders to sounds, thoughts, feelings, or sensations, which often happens, just gently let go of them and return to the breath. (See How to Meditate handout.)

Walking Meditation: While walking normally focus your attention on the sensations felt in each foot as you place it on the ground or on the breath or coordinate both. Or pick a path several feet long, and walk slowly enough to observe sensations in the heel, ball, toes, ankle, and leg when lifting, moving, and placing each foot, in standing briefly at the path's end, and in turning slowly around. Return the attention to the sensations when it wanders.

Mindfulness Practices Anytime During the Day: Observe your breath while waiting for an appointment, in line, sitting on the toilet, waiting for a stop light to change, walking to your car, before answering the phone, or doing routine work, etc. Or sit quietly and observe the breath for just one minute occasionally. Or mindfully attend to the moment-to-moment sensory experiences while eating, washing dishes, dressing, showering, walking, etc.

Meal Meditation: “This food is the gift of the whole universe: the earth, sun, rain, and much loving work. May I live and eat with mindfulness and gratitude. May I think and act in positive ways and overcome negative feelings. May I eat only food that nourishes me and prevents illness. May I accept this food in order to experience understanding and love.” (Reommended by Thich Nhat Hanh)

*Lovingkindness Meditation: Repeat one or more of these phrases whenever you like:
May I be well. May I be well, happy, peaceful, and harmonious.
May I be happy. May I be safe and protected from inner and outer harm.
May I be peaceful. May I live in peace and harmony with all beings.
May I be safe. May I experience lovingkindness and compassion.

*Compassion Meditation: Repeat one or more of these phrases whenever you like:
May I be free from suffering. May I be healed and free of pain.
May I be physically healthy. May I accept inevitable sickness and problems.
May I be emotionally healthy. May I be at ease with all that happens in life.

**Direct lovingkindness and compassion to others by substituting for "I," the name of a person or group, e.g., family, friends, teacher, difficult persons, the sick, homeless, hungry, oppressed, imprisoned, or all beings. Make up your own phrases specific to a person, group, or situation. Visualize in your heart the recipient(s) of your phrases. Do this as part of a sitting, walking, or independent meditation. Return your attention to the phrases when the mind wanders.

Click here to download this handout written by Charlie Day.