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Mindfulness and Meditation by Zangmo

Mindfulness is part of meditation. It involves being aware of and paying attention to what is happening, as it is happening. This includes awareness of seeing, hearing, touching, smelling, tasting, thinking, feeling, and bodily energy as we experience them.Contrary to popular belief you do not have to be able to stop thinking in order to learn to meditate.

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Calm Abiding (Shamatha) and Insight (Vipashyana) meditations both entail practising Mindfulness, but can, with practice, go beyond mindfulness in their scope for personal transformation and working with the roller coaster of getting to know ourselves. You do not have to be Buddhist, or even religious, to practice Shamatha or Vipashyana.

Shamatha Meditation involves learning to be aware of, settle and focus the busy, monkey mind, resulting in feeling more spacious, appreciative, and at peace with a greater feeling of well being.

Vipashyana Meditation in the Tibetan Buddhist Kagyu school of Mahamudra includes meditating on who we are, the nature of mind and phenomena in an experiential way. It offers a full path to enlightenment.

Meditation can be used in a secular way just to relax and improve health and well being through mindfulness and Shamatha, or it can also lead to enlightenment, the permanent cessation of suffering, the waking up to the full realisation of who we really are at the deepest level.

As mindfulness entails being aware, accepting our experience as it happens, with practice we become less caught up with concepts and anxiety about the future on the basis of our suffering from the past. We are in the present moment. This can really open us up to appreciating and enjoying the amazing qualities of the ever living present moment. We can relax, truly enjoy ourselves while appreciating what we are seeing, feeling and doing! For cen­tur­ies med­it­at­ors, doc­tors and heal­ers in east­ern tra­di­tions such as Buddhism, Hinduism and Tao­ism have be­lieved that mind­ful­ness and med­it­a­tion im­proves health and well-be­ing. Now sci­ent­ists are find­ing evid­ence for this.

As mind­ful­ness med­it­a­tion be­came in­creas­ingly ac­cep­ted in Europe and Amer­ica, sci­ent­ists began to re­search its ef­fects. Clin­ical stud­ies have doc­u­mented how it helps people stay health­ier, im­prove men­tal focus and feel less over­whelmed by emo­tions. Used as a sec­u­lar heal­ing tool in mod­ern health care and ther­apy, reg­u­larly prac­tising mind­ful­ness and med­it­a­tion have been shown to lessen suf­fer­ing and im­prove phys­ical, emo­tional and men­tal well being.

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