The Four Foundations of Mindfulness

The Thailand Refresh and De-Stress Retreat program classes are based on the Four Foundations of Mindfulness: Mindfulness of Body, Mindfulness of Breath, Mindfulness of Effort, Mindfulness of Mind.

We have inherited great wealth, but we behave as if we are poor. We have a treasure of enlightenment, of understanding, of love, of joy inside us. It is time to go back to receive our inheritance. Being mindful will help us claim it.
— Thich Nhat Hahn, Vietnamese Buddhist monk and author
 
 
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Mindfulness of Body

Synchronizing mind and body is called joining heaven and earth and is accomplished primarily by sitting meditation. Mindfulness of body includes tuning in to all of your senses, not just bodily sensations. The meditative posture is very important whether sitting in a chair or on a meditation cushion. Particular attention and care should be paid to one's posture during sitting meditation. Mindfulness of body is enhanced by walking meditation, gentle yoga, Qigong, and the Body Scan practice. Each morning we will be engaging in one or more of these ancient, powerful life-changing practices.


Mindfulness of Breath

Another mind settling practice is Mindfulness of Breath meditation,which gives us a single focal point in which to return when we notice our mind has wandered. Our breath is always with us and using the breath as a focal point is both natural and profound. Simply sitting in a meditative posture and relating to the breath is an expression of our innate mindfulness and awareness.  We are training to be present with ourselves so that we can be present with others in our daily lives.

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Mindfulness of Effort

Never give up.  Training your mind to be present with whatever is happening in mind and body, including positive and negative emotions, defeating or grandiose thoughts, feelings of vitality or bodily discomfort, all the while maintaining awareness is the heart of mindfulness practice. The Buddha said the practice should be "not too tight and not too loose." Mindfulness of effort means you continue to practice the technique no matter what is going on. 


Mindfulness of Mind

Letting go of the ‘watcher’ and incorporating awareness and presence into every aspect of life, both on and off the meditation cushion. Noticing when we are caught up in our ‘automatic pilot’ and gently returning our awareness to whatever we are doing in the moment. If we notice that our mind has become pre-occupied with or carried away by  thoughts, wherever we are, we can take a mindfulness break and settle the mind with a very brief informal meditation on a focal object such as the breath and body sensations, or we can just flash onto space to instantaneously regain our seat.

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It’s helpful to remember thoughts are thoughts, not reality
— Larry B.