Three Summer Mindfulness Practices
Illustration by Karyna Piwowarska
Breathe In

Three Summer Mindfulness Practices

Magdalena Róża Skoczewska
time 2 minutes

Think of Yourself

  1. Discipline doesn’t usually have positive connotations. What would happen, though, if it was concerned with listening to yourself and being open to your needs? Pause at this question for a moment.
  2. Imagine a periodical practice of gentle but decisive listening to your inner voice. Right now is one of these moments when you can pay attention to yourself.
  3. Ask yourself some basic questions: What am I feeling? How is my body? What is going on in my thoughts?
  4. Consider what kind of listening discipline would be appropriate for you. If you feel a strong tension, you can remind yourself in a disciplined way to relax for a while. If you are a person who struggles with procrastination, remember that every little step brings you closer to completing a task. If you are a person who is trying to be more assertive, you can exercise the discipline of saying mindful words that remind you of freedom of choice, etc.
  5. Don’t forget, though, to use discipline in a friendly way. As a good friend to yourself, you should not only cuddle up to and pat yourself on the back when necessary, but also discipline yourself, if what you’re doing isn’t serving you. Indulgence in bad habits is far removed from love and caring. Harness discipline to work to your benefit.

The Elements of the Earth

  1. Imagine a place on Earth where all elements are present: fire, water, earth, and air. What is it like? How does it smell? What does it look like? What sounds are there? What taste does it bring to mind?
  2. In this place, all the elements meet and act together. Feel their power. After you’ve experienced the energy of this place, realize that it doesn’t only exist in your imagination—it’s your body. In it, all the elements coexist. Despite their differences, they function in perfect harmony.
  3. Let yourself feel the power in you. Your body and this imagined place have the same energy.

A Dream Dreamt to the End

  1. Think of a recurrent dream, or a dream theme. If nothing comes to mind, think of feelings that come back to you, which you cannot forget. For example, sometimes I recall the grudge against my parents, which I carry within me, or I experience loneliness, or go back to happy moments of my childhood; when I rolled down a hill.
  2. Select one dream, a dream theme, or a feeling.
  3. Pay attention to what remains unfinished in this recurring sensation. What is unsaid, or incomplete? How can this experience be completed? If at that moment you feel that nothing is lacking, accept that something is missing after all, because otherwise it wouldn’t be coming back to you. Experiment.
  4. Then imagine a stroke of luck: whatever is unfinished, what was incomplete, comes to completion.
  5. Recognize what it is and notice what influence it has on you. What are the consequences of this conclusion?

Also read:

The Apostle of (Inner) Peace
Thích Nhất Hạnh. Photo by Ebet Roberts/Getty Images
Good Mood

The Apostle of (Inner) Peace

The Life of Thích Nhất Hạnh
Paulina Wilk

He was a pacifist, who for his work on behalf of world peace was nominated for the Nobel Prize and chased out of his own country. His non-judgemental approach was a gift; he preferred to concentrate on forgiveness and empathy. That’s what he taught all his life. Thích Nhất Hạnh, a Buddhist monk from Vietnam, the spiritual father of mindfulness, died in January. But can somebody who didn’t believe in death really die?

Following the teachings of the Buddha, Nhất Hạnh didn’t identify with the 95-year-old body he inhabited, nor with its limitations. For eight years, he didn’t speak; an extensive cerebral haemorrhage took that possibility from him. A valued teacher and polyglot, who spoke seven languages fluently (including Pali, Sanskrit, French and English), communicating with his surroundings from that point on using gestures, and was confined to a wheelchair. He didn’t flee from suffering; he probed its nature, convinced that only studying pain allows one to feel the fullness of life and true happiness. Long before he started to weaken physically, he taught that life is existence without borders: if we are never born, we never die. He rejected the concept of death and the fear, widespread among people, that this moment means annihilation. He said over and over that birth and the end of life are mental concepts, illusions. The prescription for freedom from fear of death was the understanding that we’re indestructible. As he taught, only this awareness can bring relief, open up the path to enjoying life and appreciating it.

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