Patience

In a fast-paced, relentless environment that we live in, patience could be short in supply. Here we practise mindful patience, training the mind to focus on where we want it to be, steadying it.

Patience, Rabindranath Tagore

If thou speakest not I will fill my heart

with thy silence and endure it.

I will keep still and wait like the night

with starry vigil and its head bent low with patience.

The morning will surely come,

the darkness will vanish,

and thy voice pour down in golden streams

breaking through the sky.

Then thy words will take wing

in songs from every one of my birds’ nests,

and thy melodies will break forth in flowers

in all my forest groves.

Guide: Noelle Lim

Image credit: Anna Kumpan, Unsplash

Celebrating moments, life and the road not taken

Life may have its ups and downs. We celebrate each moment by willingly showing up for it as it is. This gives us the steadiness and calmness to decide the next best course of action if one is needed. Celebrating moments, we cumulatively celebrate life. It seems apt to end off with a favourite poem, The Road Not Taken by Robert Frost.

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,

And sorry I could not travel both

And be one traveler, long I stood

And looked down one as far as I could

To where it bent in the undergrowth;

Then took the other, as just as fair,

And having perhaps the better claim,

Because it was grassy and wanted wear;

Though as for that the passing there

Had worn them really about the same,

And both that morning equally lay

In leaves no step had trodden black.

Oh, I kept the first for another day!

Yet knowing how way leads on to way,

I doubted if I should ever come back.

I shall be telling this with a sigh

Somewhere ages and ages hence:

Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—

I took the one less traveled by,

And that has made all the difference.

Guide: Noelle Lim

Image credit: Jan Huber, Unsplash

Meditating On Four Elements

Mindfulness meditation is so practical because we use what’s available to us right this moment. In this practice, we pay attention to the four elements as they arise for us.

eeling the contact points as support (earth), our breath (air/space) , moisture such as sweat, saliva (water), and our energy and mood (fire).

Fire, Water, Air And Earth, Soren Barrett

A soft silvery glow

A distant symphony of frogs and crickets

Play in concert under a shower of stars

Distant thunder rolls, lightning flashes

Drops patter on the clay tile roof

The smell of fresh rain on dry ground

Fire, water, air and earth

All that was, is or ever will be

Guide: Noelle Lim

Image credit: Jeanie de Klerk

In Silence We Sit

A practise of sitting in silence because we allow ourselves too.

Sound of silence (extract), Paul Simon

Hello darkness, my old friend
I’ve come to talk with you again
Because a vision softly creeping
Left its seeds while I was sleeping
And the vision that was planted in my brain
Still remains
Within the sound of silence

Noticing the choices we make

It’s said that the choices we make shape our destiny. Here’s a practice of noticing the little choices we make moment-by-moment to deepen our capacity to become more conscious of the important choices we make on a daily basis that could have far-reaching consequences. In mindfulness, the invitation is to notice that we always have a choice of how we want to engage with whatever thought that arises – sometimes we can’t help thinking about something – how we choose to face it is a choice. We could choose to judge ourselves or simply just watch that thought.

Inspired by the Autobiography of 5 short chapters

I.

I walk down the street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk. I fall in. I am lost. I am helpless.
It isn’t my fault.
It takes forever to find a way out.

II.

I walk down the same street. There is a deep hole in the sidewalk. I still don’t see it. I fall in again.
I can’t believe I am in the same place. It isn’t my fault.
It still takes a long time to get out.

III.

I walk down the same street. There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I see it there, I still fall in.
It’s habit. It’s my fault. I know where I am. I get out immediately.

IV.

I walk down the same street. There is a deep hole in the sidewalk. I walk around it.

V.

I walk down a different street.

Guide: Noelle Lim

Image credit: Nine Koepfer, Unsplash

Titration For Healing

Like a dance, we move towards and away from something so that our nervous system, mind and body can process what is occurring whilst learning to get comfortable with difficult emotions or when being out of our window of tolerance. We’re practicing self-regulating, finding balance and staying flexible in the present moment. So we start by grounding ourselves, and then feeling what’s arising for us, be it a thought, emotion, mood or sensation, and where it gets uncomfortable, we shift our attention back to our breath or a part of the body that feels safe for us, for example the belly or feet, and returning again to feeling what’s arising. We allow ourselves to move from one point to another according to what feels “safe” or “right” for us – a titration process.

It is a useful meditation when you’ve had a hard day and are finding it difficult to sit, or if you generally find it hard to sit through a meditation due to constant intrusive thoughts and difficult emotions. Also useful for those who are experiencing PTSD or had experienced trauma and are wanting to practice meditating as part of healing.

Whole & Worthy, by Jennifer Healy

A miracle is known not by its fullness alone,

But by its emptiness.

Even a blank piece of paper is a miracle,

Like a sky is worthy even if

The stars are hiding.

Guide: Noelle Lim

Image credit: Abed Ismail, Unsplash

Open Mind

Here we are training the mind to stay open and steady whenever unwelcome emotions and experiences arise. Keeping an open mind, meaning when thoughts come through the mind, or emotions and sensations arise, we just meet them as they are, noticing them, as best as we can not judging although we might not be able to help ourselves. When that happens, not judging ourselves further! And when thoughts get too overwhelming, we can choose to return to an anchor like the breath or a part of the body that feels stable. The poetry Door by Miroslav Holub is read as we bring the practice to a close.

Door by Miroslav Holub

Go and open the door.
Maybe outside there’s
a tree, or a wood,
a garden,
or a magic city.

Go and open the door.
Maybe a dog’s rummaging.
Maybe you’ll see a face,
or an eye,
or the picture
of a picture.

Go and open the door.
If there’s a fog
it will clear.

Go and open the door.
Even if there’s only
the darkness ticking,
even if there’s only
the hollow wind,
even if
nothing
is there,
go and open the door.

At least
there’ll be
a draught.

Guide: Noelle Lim

Image credit: Yoonjae Baik, Unsplash

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Showing Up

Showing up in the present moment means showing up for ourselves in the bloom of the moment, instead of being lost in the head or lost in the “busy-ness” of our lives.

I’m Busy by Brooke Hampton

I’m busy;
but not in the way
most people accept.
I’m busy calming my fear
and finding my courage.
I’m busy listening to my kids.
I’m busy getting in touch
with what is real.
I’m busy growing things and
connecting with the natural world.
I’m busy questioning my answers.
I’m busy being present in my life.

Guide: Noelle Lim

Image credit: Bogdan Farca, Unsplash

Coming Home To Ourselves

Ruminating or over-thinking, thinking in circles with no solution in sight, making inferences that are not valid, is exhausting and kills our wellbeing. This is an invitation to come home to ourselves, to be in the present moment instead of getting lost in the jungle of our striving, depressive and anxious thoughts. An act of coming home is to be present with the body or the breath. So each time we find our minds slipping away into rumination, we bring the mind back to the body, we come back home.

This draws inspiration from the poetry by Oriah Mountain Dreamer, Coming Home To Myself. It speaks about mindfulness – savoring the present moment as it is.

I had wandered so long

I’d stopping missing or even looking for myself.

But I longed.

Although even that became muted,

an underwater echo, blue green, and easy to miss.

Each day now a little more of who I am

is retrieved from the ocean floor:

the pleasure of my own cooking—

fresh eggs scrambled

with rosemary, and mushrooms, and sharp cheese;

the feel of silk across the back of my neck,

a cool caress to tender skin,

reawakening the need for touch;

the strength in my legs,

the joy of taking long strides with nowhere to go;

the quiet of the morning,

as I sit facing east just before the sun appears,

and then, the moment when the sun crests the horizon,

my gaze behind closed eyes flaring crimson and gold.

No recrimination for my absence

I am welcomed as the prodigal daughter

Longed for,

Looked for,

Home at last.

Guide: Noelle Lim

Duration: 20 minutes

Image credit: Tucker Good, Unsplash

Disengaging From Rumination

Rumination is the source of stress. Thinking, thinking, mental chatter. Perhaps useful when trying to solve an external world problem, but not so when we’re judging our inner world experiences such as thoughts and feelings.

In mindfulness we recognize that thoughts are like like random photo-bursts or mental events and so we don’t have to cling on to them nor need to take them as the absolute truth. The invitation is to mindfully watch thoughts like sitting at the bus stop watching cars come and go without engaging with them. Until when we are feeling more calm do we only look at thoughts that really need our attention. We end the practice with writings by Rumi.

Be empty of worrying.

Think of who created thought!

Why do you stay in prison when the door is so wide open?

Move outside the tangle of fear-thinking.

Live in silence.

Flow down and down in always widening rings of being.

Guide: Noelle Lim

Duration: 25 mins

Image credit: Eric Han