Mindfulness is a natural state of mind where we are just with our direct experience: seeing a blue tit on a branch, cooking a favourite meal, solving a crossword. We are absorbed and focused with an ease which isn't forced or narrowly concentrated. We become interested and relaxed. Mindfulness is practised on all retreats at Taraloka, particularly through the Mindfulness of Breathing meditation. Here, in structured stages, we rest our awareness on the natural, living experience of breathing and, when our mind wanders, we gently bring it back to the breath in a simple, kind way. We thus also begin to understand more the play of our minds – our distractions, our stories, our judgemental tendencies - and how patiently to work with them and become more accepting of how things are. This can be challenging but also creative and liberating.
We cultivate mindfulness in meditation so that it can naturally arise in the flow of our everyday and often busy lives. Very different to the multiple demands of modern life, mindfulness can bring contentment, personal integration, a clearer, appropriate sense of purpose and, as a spiritual practice, a wiser understanding of how life is. Whether catching the scent of lavender on a summer morning, walking the city streets or cradling a sleeping child, we can experience appreciation, calm and the simple joy of the moment.