Beginning or Deepening a Personal Meditation Practice
1. The real meditation is how you live your life.
2. In order to live life fully, you have to be present for it.
3. To be present, it helps to purposefully bring awareness to your moments – otherwise you may miss many of them.
4. You do that by paying attention on purpose, in the present moment, and non-judgmentally to whatever is arising inwardly and outwardly.
5. This requires a great deal of kindness toward yourself, which you deserve.
6. It helps to keep in mind that good or bad, pleasant or unpleasant, the present moment is the only time any of us are alive. Therefore, it’s the only time to learn, grow, see what is really going on, find some degree of balance, feel and express emotions such as love and appreciation, and do what we need to do to take care of ourselves – in other words, embody our intrinsic strength and beauty and wisdom – even in the face of pain and suffering.
7. So a gentle love affair with the present moment is important.
8. We do that through learning to rest in awareness of what is happening inwardly and outwardly moment by moment by moment – it is more a “being” than a “doing.”
9. Formal and informal meditation practices are specific ways in which you can ground, deepen, and accelerate this process, so it is useful to carve out some time for formal practice on a regular daily basis – maybe waking up fifteen or twenty minutes earlier than you ordinarily would to catch some time for ourselves.
10. We bring awareness to our moments only as best we can.
11. We are not trying to create a special feeling or experience – simply to realize that this moment is already very special – because you are alive and awake in it.
12. This is hard, but well worth it.
13. It takes a lot of practice.
14. Lots of practice
15. But you have a lot of moments – and we can treat each one as a new beginning.
16. So there are always new moments to open up to if we miss some.
17. We do all this with a huge amount of self-compassion.
18. And remember, you are not your thoughts or opinions, your likes or dislikes. They are more like weather patterns in your mind that you can be aware of – like clouds moving across the sky, – and so don’t have to be imprisoned by.
19. Befriending yourself in this way is the adventure of a lifetime, and hugely empowering.
20. Try it for a few weeks – it grows on you.
From Cultivating Mindfulness (PDF) by Jon Kabat-Zinn, a helpful guide offered at the site Mindfulness CDs, with links to CDs for purchase based on the Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction clinic series and other books from Kabat-Zinn, links to talks for free download, recent articles, etc.