Bliss Run Mindfulness Community

Mindfulness is the way of becoming friends with others.

Sitting Meditation

"Sit or lie down in a way that allows your body to rest. Sitting, your head and spine form a straight line. Relax all your muscles. Find a way of sitting that allows you to sit for at least 20 minutes without becoming too stiff or tired. As soon as you sit down, pay attention to your breath. Then notice your posture, a little bit everywhere. Relax the muscles in your face. If you are angry or worried, those muscles will be tense. Smile lightly, and you will relax hundreds of muscles in your face. Then notice your shoulders, and let go of the tension there. Don't try too hard. Just breathe mindfully, and scan your whole body."

Thich Nhat Hanh, The Mindfulness Bell, Issue 23, pages 1,4.

Walking Meditation

"Walk more slowly than you usually do, but not too slowly, while breathing normally. Do not try to control your breathing. Walk along this way for a few minutes. Then notice how many steps you take as your lungs fill and how many steps you take as they empty. In this way, your attention includes both breath and steps. You are mindful of both.... Your half-smile brings calmness and delight to your steps and your breath.... After a few hours of serious practice, you will find that the four of them — the breath, the counting, the steps, and the half-smile — blend together in a marvelous balance of mindfulness. This is equanimity, created by the practice of walking meditation. The four elements of breathing, counting, stepping, and the half-smile become one."

Thich Nhat Hanh, A Guide to Walking Meditation.

Bell Ringing

On your arrival you might hear a bell sound and suddenly people around you have stopped still, stopped talking, and stopped moving. It might be the telephone ringing or the clock chiming, or the monastery bell sounding. These are our bells of mindfulness. When we hear the sound of the bell we relax our body and become aware of our breathing. We do that naturally, with enjoyment, and without solemnity or being stiffed.

When we hear one of these mindfulness bells ring, we stop all of our conversations and whatever we are doing and bring our awareness to our breathing. The ringing bell has called out to us:

Listen, listen,
this wonderful sound brings me back to
my true home.

By stopping to breathe and restore our calm and our peace, we become free, our work becomes more enjoyable and the friend in front of us becomes more real. Back home we can use the ringing of our telephone, the local church bells, the cry of a baby, or even the sound of fire engines and ambulances as our bells of mindfulness. With just three conscious breaths we can release the tensions in our body and mind and return to a cool and clear state of being.

Noble Silence

A period of deep silence is observed starting from the end of the evening sitting meditation until after breakfast the next morning. This is very healing. We allow the silence and the calmness to penetrate our flesh and bones. We allow the energy of the Sangha and its mindfulness to penetrate our body and mind. We go back to our tents or dormitories slowly, aware of every step. We breathe deeply and enjoy the stillness and the freshness. Let us not talk to the person walking by our side; she or he needs our support, too. We can stay alone outside with the trees and the stars for about ten minutes, then go inside to use the bathroom, to change and go to bed right away.

Lying on our back, we can practice Deep Relaxation until sleep comes. In the morning, we move mindfully and silently, taking time to breathe, to go to the bathroom and then proceeding right away to the meditation hall. We do not have to wait for anyone. When we see someone along the path, we just join our palms and bow, allowing him or her to enjoy the morning the way we do.

We need everyone to participate for the practice to be deep and joyful. This is the practice we do every day, except on lazy nights and on festival days like the Full Moon Celebration. Thank you for your joyful practice.

Breathing

Our breathing is a stable solid ground that we can take refuge in. Regardless of our internal weather- our thoughts, emotions and perceptions- our breathing is always with us like a faithful friend. Whenever we feel carried away, or sunken in a deep emotion, or scattered in worries and projects, we return to our breathing to collect and anchor our mind.

We feel the flow of air coming in and going out of our nose. We feel how light and natural, how calm and peaceful our breathing functions. At any time, while we are walking, gardening, or typing, we can return to this peaceful source of life.

We may like to recite:

Breathing in I know that I am breathing in.
Breathing out I know that I am breathing out.

We do not need to control our breath. Feel the breath as it actually is. It may be long or short, deep or shallow. With our awareness it will naturally become slower and deeper. Conscious breathing is the key to uniting body and mind and bringing the energy of mindfulness into each moment of our life.