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Pema Chodron...excerpts from "Making Friends with Your Mind" 12-11-23 Part B

Updated: Dec 18, 2023

Mindfulness for Bad Habits: Guided Meditation

Choose a place to sit where you feel comfortable. If you are in a chair, sit close to the front edge and make sure your feet are flat on the floor. If you are on a cushion, make sure your knees are lower than your hips. Feel your body upright and relaxed. Imagine your head is suspended from a string attached to the top of your head.

Close your eyes. 

Take a minute to check in. In this meditation, we are not looking to control or change anything. Just see what you can notice. Buddhist nun Pema Chödrön suggests beginning the process by asking yourself some questions.

So the first question is: What are you feeling?

Can you contact what you’re feeling? It could be your mood or your physical body, a quality of drowsiness or peacefulness, agitation or physical pain—anything. Can you contact that nonverbally and just get a sense of what you’re feeling?

To refine this question a little bit: Are there any emotions? Can you be present to them? Can you contact them?

We’re not talking about having to name anything or remembering the history of the emotion, or any- thing like that. Just be present to what you’re feeling right now.

Are you experiencing any physical sensations right now? pain, tightness, relaxation?

What about your thoughts? What’s the quality of your thoughts right now? Is your mind very busy? Is it quite drowsy? Is it surprisingly still? Are your thoughts raging or peaceful or dull? Obsessive or calm?

If I were to ask you personally, right now, “What is the quality of your mind at this moment?” Whether it’s still or wild or dull, whatever it might be, what would you say?

From How to Meditate: A practical Guide to Making Friends with Your Mind, by Pema Chödrön.

Just allow whatever feelings you are experiencing to be there, without doing anything about them. They may be uncomfortable. See if you can allow them to be there despite the discomfort. Conversely, you may feel yourself getting excited about some new idea that just popped into your head. You can allow this to just be there as well without doing anything about it. 

*Just noticing my thoughts is part of my meditation practice; also if my mind starts to wonder (daydream, sexual fantasies, things I SHOULD be doing or past experiences, etc.) I bring my awareness back to my breath. Always to back to your breath. Feel the air going in and out of your nose or mouth. Also, sometimes I use a candle to focus on. Also note--that cliche of "stopping your thoughts" is just that, a cliche and hence useless. But if I really find myself wanting to move or act out on something then I strong (again) remind myself that "Now I am meditating." This is especially helpful if you find yourself becoming drowsey or wanting to "dose off." Also remember, one of the primary componets of meditation IS that you are one respect "resting" and that it is OK for you to rest. (smile).

Thanks for reading.


*There was more to this article from "How to break bad habits"

but frankly the excerpt above was about the only part of the article I found helpful. Lots of globble-y-gluck and "New Age Sou" IMO. But then again, anything by Pemo is fabulous for self-growth and self-actualization.

Immediately when I think of so-called bad habits for me-it goes to alcohol and I am reminded by what a past therapist said to me, straight up and out; "If you want to stop just stop." Also complete abstinance doesnt have to be total. You can stop for example for 3 days and just test the waters. I do this often when I find myself becoming too drained energy-wise by my daily alcohol intake. Edibles I find are also a nice substitute for booze, and they are also a great tool for focusing and opening up my "poet's voice" when I feel stuck or blocked. Beer on the other hand is great "to go" with dinner and movie or watching your fav CRIME VIDEOS. LOL.


& Good luck


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