MINDFULNESS: An Intro Series Part 5 - Foundation Skills
FIVE: FOUNDATION SKILLS
There are many mindfulness practices, but here in section five we will try three core practice skills.
1. MINDFUL BELLY BREATHING
The first core skill is breathing: Mindful Belly Breathing, otherwise known as mindful diaphragmatic or abdominal breathing. Being aware of our breathing is a part of all other practices. No matter what the focus of our mindfulness practice, we always want to be breathing well.
Here is a five minute mindful breathing practice. Try to do this 3 times today before moving on.
2. NOTICING | OBSERVING
Noticing is about coming back to our senses: simply noticing without judging or elaborating on what anything means. Usually when we see something, or smell something, or taste something, or feel something, we judge it as good or bad. Noticing is not that. Noticing is simply observing what is there. We are going to practice this using the eight focal points (what we can see, hear, touch, taste, smell, think, feel and our physical sensation). As you practice try observe things with a curious beginners mind, as though you have never experienced them before.
Here are two practices. The first is a five minute practice focusing on one sense. The second is 10 minutes and guides you through all the 8 points of attention. Try out the five minute practice twice and the 10 minute practice once before moving on.
3. NAMING | DESCRIBING
Naming is the next step. Naming is simply about naming what we notice, not judging it or evaluating it. We are learning how to describe things objectively without the automatic layers of judgement we have developed throughout our lives. We are practicing the skill of separating objective experience (what’s actually happening) from subjective judgment (our interpretation of, or elaboration on, what is happening). Like noticing, naming helps us to step out of narrative problem solving and judging, and into the present moment.
This is a practice of describing. Again, this focuses on one point of attention. As you do the practice at different times, choose different things to concentrate on. Try it out three times today, with three different points of attention, before moving on to the ‘formal’ practices.
Well done! You have practiced the foundations: breathing, noticing, and naming. Feel free to come back to these core skills any time. In fact, the more we practice these core skills, the better.
Now we will move on to ‘formal’ practices in part six of this course. It sounds serious but really formal just means setting aside a time and place to do focused practice.