A 10-minute mindful awareness meditation led by New York Times bestselling author and Buddhist meditation teacher Susan Piver. Encompassing mindfulness of breath, body, and mind, this meditation helps us relax into a peaceful present moment awareness.
Introduction to Mindful Awareness Meditation
The meditation practice we’re going to do is called shamatha vipassana meditation, which most directly translates to mindfulness awareness meditation. Mindfulness refers to the one-pointed aspect and awareness refers to the spacious, panoramic aspect that grows from focus. So let’s begin.
Guided Mindful Awareness Meditation
There are three things to be mindful of in our practice. The first is our body. We’re in one, it’s always good to acknowledge that. The practice starts by the way you take your seat.
And the basic idea is to sit up straight, not rigid but as a kind of proclamation of your dignity. You can sit up straight, legs can be crossed loosely in front of you or feet flat on the floor if you’re in a chair, on the couch, and kneeling is also good.
The hands rest palms-down on the legs, somewhere above the knee that feels comfortable to you. And let yourself feel very heavy from the waist down: rooted, unmovable, like a mountain. And let yourself feel light and airy and uplifted from the waist up.
Mindfulness of Body
Notice the strength of your back body and the softness of your front body. You can let your belly soften a lot. When you think it’s relaxed, soften a little bit more.
The area around the heart can be soft, and the throat.
And let the shoulders relax. Nothing to carry right now, or tote or hoist. You can let the shoulder blades tuck back in like the wings of a bird tuck in when it lands.
The chin is tucked a little bit, so the back of the neck is long and the mouth is closed because you don’t have to talk right now. And if you look in, there is no one talking, so you can just reconnect with your own quietude.
The breath is natural, in and out through the nose, no breathing technique. You’re already an expert at breathing. In my practice, the eyes are open. You can choose what you like, but for me, the eyes are open and the gaze is soft and cast down to a spot in front, up to six feet or less, and this is a support for practicing being awake.
And let the brow relax. And the forehead reach up a little bit. Mindfulness of body.
Mindfulness of Breath
Next is mindfulness of breath, which does not mean notice your breath. That means feel your breath, feel the body breathe. The gentle expansion of the inhale and the dissolve on the exhale. You come in and you dissolve out.
Come in, full out, repeat.
Each breath is a little bit different. Can you tell how? That’s how closely you’re feeling the breath. Mindfulness of breath.
Mindfulness of Mind
Finally, mindfulness of mind, which means: allow your thoughts to be exactly as they are. No effort to slow down or change or be nice or be sharp or anything. Your mind makes thoughts like your eyes see, your ears hear, no problem. Let that slip to the background and your breath come to the foreground as best you can. Most of your thoughts will just come and go on their own. You don’t have to do anything.
However, should you notice that you become absorbed in thought to the point where you have 0% of awareness of your breath left, you’re not aware of your breath at all: well, that’s very instructive. You just woke up and saw where your mind was and therefore you have choices.
So the choice here has four steps.
Notice your thought, thoughts, notice that you’re thinking. You can label it silently thinking if that helps, gently.
Second, let go. It doesn’t matter what the thought is.
Third, come back gently, kindly to your breath.
And fourth, finally, take a fresh start.
And the amount of fresh starts that you are allowed in any given meditation session is infinite. So you can relax and we’ll sit together in silence for a few minutes. until you hear the gong.
(meditate silently for a few minutes)
To bring your practice to a close, let the technique go. Just stop meditating. And thank you for practicing with me.
Read Susan’s latest book, The Four Noble Truths of Love: Buddhist Wisdom for Modern Relationships (available in hard copy or audiobook).
Susan Piver Bio
Susan Piver is the New York Times bestselling author of nine books, including The Hard Questions: 100 Essential Questions to Ask Before You Say “I Do”, the award-winning How Not to Be Afraid of Your Own Life, The Wisdom of a Broken Heart, and Start Here Now: An Open-Hearted Guide to the Path and Practice of Meditation.
Her new book is The Four Noble Truths of Love: Buddhist Wisdom for Modern Relationships, which we talked about in our interview with her last week. She is a founder of Lionheart Press and a renowned meditation teacher who leads the Open Heart Project, the world’s largest online only meditation center. Learn more about her at susanpiver.com.
Led by Susan Piver
Produced by Tara Anderson and Scott Snibbe
Audio mastering by Christian Parry and Chris Boulton
Digital Production by Jason Waterman