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Discover one Path to Happiness and Wisdom in Your Life - mindfulness of breath

Buddha
Mindfulness of the breath teaching

I wanted to share this as it has such a profound impact on me. It is quite 'Buddhist' obviously but it can be applied by anyone at all as a 'piece of enlightened wisdom that has changed the lives of millions'. I'd go as far as to say 'It's one of the things worth knowing' and transformed my life at a deep healing level. I hope you find interest or something valuable in it. The full teaching is here, from the original translation of the scripture, from Thich Nhat Hanh. When I teach the techniques, it is easy to learn, achievable and practical.


Here is a testimony of someone who came to learn mindfulness with me:

I can strongly recommend The Mindful Counsellor. Her therapy session are gentle, intuitive and focused on what you most need help with on the day. With her help I have the tools to soothe and help myself. I feel stronger and more centred. I felt cared for and nurtured by her calm, friendly and tailored approach. She is supportive and kind and very practical.  Feedback from mindfulness client J (6 sessions)


The Discourse on the Full Awareness of Breathing, or Ānāpānasati Sutta

This is a key text within Buddhist teachings, attributed to the Buddha. It can be found in the Majjhima Nikāya (Middle Length Discourses), sutra number 118. The text outlines a method for developing mindfulness through the practice of mindful breathing. It describes a step-by-step practice of becoming fully aware of the breath, which serves as a foundation for developing mindfulness, concentration, and insight.


It is the insight which is how I am able to teach mindfulness as a therapeutic tool. You do not have to be Buddhist to practice this in the same way you do not have to be a Christian to care for the poor.


The Four Establishments (Steps of) of Mindfulness


The sutra outlines sixteen practices divided into four tetrads (groups of four):

1. Body (Kāya): Recognizing and being fully aware of one's in-breath and out-breath, discerning long and short breaths, experiencing the whole body, and calming bodily formations. This is the step that I am quickly able to teach you and you will experience the scientifically proven benefits of mindfulness of, if you continue to practice.


2. Feelings (Vedanā): Cultivating joy, happiness, awareness of mental formations, and calming these formations. Again I am able to teach you and help you to cultivate this within your practice and if you continue to practice, I believe you will experience the benefits in daily life.


3. Mind (Citta): Being aware of the mind, gladdening the mind, concentrating the mind, and liberating the mind. This takes longer but is based on confident, steady ability in the first two steps. It is certainly achievable within six sessions, with practice.


4. Dhammas (Teachings): Observing impermanence, fading away of desire, cessation, and relinquishment. Again this is something I have seen achievable in part over just six sessions. For full depth of experience it will take a full life time of course but focussing on one issue at a time, I can help you find your wisdom and insight into the issue for yourself from your mindful practice in the earlier steps.


“When the practitioner can maintain, without distraction, the practice of observing the body in the body, the feelings in the feelings, the mind in the mind, and the objects of mind in the objects of mind, persevering, fully awake, clearly understanding her state, gone beyond all attachment and aversion to this life, with unwavering, steadfast, imperturbable meditative stability, she will attain the First Factor of Awakening, namely mindfulness. When this factor is developed, it will come to perfection."


Mindfulness is the first factor of awakening which leads to wisdom, resulting in energy, joy, tranquility, concentration, and equanimity. The culmination of these seven factors of awakening, is deep insight, understanding, and ultimately the liberation of the mind from all forms of suffering and dissatisfaction.


The sutra (teaching) emphasizes the importance of practicing mindfulness in a quiet place, such as a forest or the foot of a tree, and maintaining a straight posture. This conducive environment and posture help the practitioner to develop concentration and insight more effectively. If you work with me, to teach this practice, we practice together in my home and we generally tend to sit on a chair but I have cushions and floor mats if you want to try sitting traditionally with me.


The teachings of the Ānāpānasati Sutta are not only meant for monks but are accessible and beneficial for lay practitioners and anyone interested in mindfulness practice.


By following the step-by-step guidance on mindful breathing, anyone can cultivate a deeper sense of peace, happiness, and understanding in their lives. These practices formed the core of my own recovery from delusion, unhappiness, emptiness and trauma. I would love to teach and share these practices to you and to work with you on a one to one basis. Please do get in touch.


The process from the scripture I use as one of my taught practices (of many I teach) is translated and reproduced below.


What is the way to develop and practice continuously the method of Full Awareness of Breathing so that the practice will be rewarding and offer great benefit?


“It is like this, bhikkhus: the practitioner goes into the forest or to the foot of a tree, or to any deserted place, sits stably in the lotus position, holding his or her body quite straight, and practices like this:


My note: take time to practice each step until you 'experience' it. You can pop back and forth to what appeals. You may only get one and two steps completed that feels peaceful. it takes practice.


Preparation: ‘Breathing in, I know I am breathing in. Breathing out, I know I am breathing out.’


  1. ‘Breathing in a long breath, I know I am breathing in a long breath. Breathing out a long breath, I know I am breathing out a long breath.

  2. ‘Breathing in a short breath, I know I am breathing in a short breath. Breathing out a short breath, I know I am breathing out a short breath.

  3. ‘Breathing in, I am aware of my whole body. Breathing out, I am aware of my whole body.’ He or she practices like this.

  4. ‘Breathing in, I calm my whole body. Breathing out, I calm my whole body.’ He or she practices like this

  5. ‘Breathing in, I feel joyful. Breathing out, I feel joyful.’ He or she practices like this.

  6. ‘Breathing in, I feel happy. Breathing out, I feel happy.’ He or she practices like this.

  7. ‘Breathing in, I am aware of my mental formations. Breathing out, I am aware of my mental formations.’ He or she practices like this.

  8. ‘Breathing in, I calm my mental formations. Breathing out, I calm my mental formations.’ He or she practices like this.

  9. ‘Breathing in, I am aware of my mind. Breathing out, I am aware of my mind.’ He or she practices like this.

  10. ‘Breathing in, I make my mind happy. Breathing out, I make my mind happy.’ He or she practices like this.

  11. ‘Breathing in, I concentrate my mind. Breathing out, I concentrate my mind.’ He or she practices like this.

  12. ‘Breathing in, I liberate my mind. Breathing out, I liberate my mind.’ He or she practices like this.

  13. ‘Breathing in, I observe the impermanent nature of all dharmas. Breathing out, I observe the impermanent nature of all dharmas.’ He or she practices like this.

  14. ‘Breathing in, I observe the disappearance of desire. Breathing out, I observe the disappearance of desire.’ He or she practices like this.

  15. ‘Breathing in, I observe the no-birth, no-death nature of all phenomena. Breathing out, I observe the no-birth, no-death nature of all phenomena.’ He or she practices like this.

  16. ‘Breathing in, I observe letting go. Breathing out, I observe letting go.’ He or she practices like this.


Here is a youtube link of the Plum Village nuns singing the dharma.


If you would like to work me, please get in touch. I teach mindfulness at your pace, meeting your needs and preferences in accessible, easy steps and can combine with tapping EFT and listening inquiry to explore specific issues of concern like anxiety, fear, phobia, grief, life change, identity, health etc.


Picture of mindfulness teacher
Mindfulness for beginners 1:1 with me, Dionne

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