Mindful Attention Practice Exercise #1

Start by putting aside 10 minutes for this practice then you can do this sitting or lying down but maintain an alertness of mind. Eyes should be partially open. Then begin by connecting to your breathing. Slow down and let yourself just feel it. No need to analyze or judge. Just notice. Feel the inhalation and exhalation in the lungs. Our breath is a wonderfully effective vehicle for mindful attention. It is always in the present moment and always with us.

Bring your awareness to how you are feeling physically and then emotionally inside right now. You may notice: “I am feeling tense in my chest” or “I am noticing anxiety in my stomach” Be specific and again, we are only noticing. Whatever is present, whether it is a wonderful sense of peace or a feeling of anger you didn’t even know was there, just be aware of it. This can include memories of the past, as well. We are not trying to “get rid” of what we discover, but acknowledge it. Whatever is there, we simply say “hello” to it or “this too, is me”. Just let it be as you continue to breathe in and out.

Whatever is under the surface we just let come up into our awareness in an “open and friendly way”. In this exercise there is nothing to do, or fix or change or solve. No need to judge at all. Just be whatever and whoever you are in that moment. In this way, we begin to discover aspects of ourselves we have sealed off. So now, we begin to bring them back into our consciousness instead of shunning them and as a result, turning away from parts of ourselves. We notice how our moods and feelings change. We see how we repeat old patterns and by breathing, and being willing to simply look at what we feel inside, we are not so apt to just react. As we develop the skill of mindful looking with awareness, we see this is a changeable feeling. We can acknowledge it but we don’t need to act on it. Instead, we can just allow the feeling to be there instead of judging it or putting it into “exile”. We breathe into it. We see all feelings are just part of our being human. As we reclaim these feelings, we begin to feel free and we can choose new ways of working with our feelings.

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