Wisdom arises out of our mind’s capacity to be aware—which is not the same as thinking. Wisdom allows us to know what is happening in each moment and respond appropriately, with our words, with our actions, with our thoughts. Sometimes responding appropriately means not doing anything at all, simply meeting each moment as it comes. Wisdom is a moment-to-moment awareness of what’s arising internally and externally. It begins with developing concentration, which allows us to let go of our thoughts and our plans and be in this moment.
In this practice, we’ll begin with concentration, and then we’ll move to what is traditionally called mindfulness meditation, where we simply notice what’s arising without clinging or pushing away. And then finally, just for two minutes, we’ll let go of all the techniques and just rest in our awareness.
A 12-Minute Meditation to Train Moment-to-Moment Awareness
A Guided Meditation to Train Moment-to-Moment Awareness
- Find a seat that’s comfortable. You can sit or stand or walk or lie down. You can close your eyes if you like, and if your mind is sluggish today, or you feel overwhelmed when you close your eyes, keep your eyes open with a low gaze. Use your wisdom.
- Simply notice that you’re here. Notice that you’re getting information from all your senses—sound entering your ears. Taste. Smell. Light. The weight of your body, the air on your skin. You’re also getting information from your mind’s senses. These are thoughts and emotions. Everything is arising. And everything is dissolving. It all comes and goes.
- Turn your attention to your breath. Your breath is always with you. It’s going to be with you until you die. So it’s a reliable object that we can bring our attention to. Place one hand on your belly to feel the rise and fall of your breath, and begin to count your breaths. The first inhale, exhale is one. The next full inhale, full exhale is two. Count to five and then begin again. The trick here is to not control your breath. Allow it. You’re just resting here, counting it, being with it. When you get to five, begin again. If you get caught in a story or a plan, it’s OK. Come right back to counting your breath. Notice where you are. If you’re not with your breath, gently come back, beginning again at one.
- And now choose to open up to mindfulness practice. You can think of this mindfulness practice as noticing everything that’s arising, not just your breath, but thoughts, sound, smell or taste, or any movement in the body. Allow yourself to be with it as it arises and not cling to it or push against it or ignore it as it dissolves and changes. One way to practice mindfulness is to anchor to your breath. You might consider the metaphor of a ship at anchor. It doesn’t go far away. We don’t have to chase it around, it comes right back when needed. So allow yourself to open to these other sensations. If you feel you’re getting lost, you can gently come back to your breath. Just be here for two minutes as you practice mindfulness.
- Now use this quality of awareness to notice: Where is your attention? Let yourself experience this moment as it is, as it arises and as it changes. Light, smell, taste, emotions, thoughts, images, all the sensations of your body. Pleasant. Unpleasant. Neutral.
- And now let go of any technique. You don’t have to meditate or not meditate. Allow yourself to be still and aware just for one moment, resting in this quality of awareness.
- Using your awareness, where is your attention right now? Use it now to recognize that your practice is valuable. Take a moment as we conclude this brief meditation on wisdom to recognize and appreciate your efforts. Thank yourself for practicing today.
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