mindfulness course - PRACTICES, day 6
Putting it all together!
On day 6, we'll start with a period of more free-form formal practice, without an anchor, and then engage in daily-life practice, putting it all together: being aware of all the objects we've practiced with through the week, using "choice-less awareness" - just allowing our awareness to perceive whatever comes up each moment.
Now we'll dispense with using the breath as an anchor, and just stay in freeform awareness, and, as always, gently coming back when we notice we've gotten lost in thought.
During the day, we'll carry this freeform, choice-less awareness into action, also including awareness of thoughts and feelings that come up - noticing them, then being aware of the next action.
Free-form without anchor
For our formal practice today, we'll sit, and be aware of whatever comes into our consciousness, moment-to-moment. We'll dispense with the use of an anchor such as the breath.
Rather than trying to perceive any particular subject of awareness or look for something to be aware of, we'll just stay open and allow whatever comes into our consciousness to come in - a sound, sensation, thought, emotion, etc. - a practice of "choice-less awareness".
When we notice that our mind has been lost in thought, we simply return our awareness to whatever's happening in the moment, without judgment, and continue our open awareness.
This is a wonderful practice of awareness, and also letting go, because once we're aware of something, we automatically let it go to be aware of what's happening in the next moment. Practicing this freeform awareness also cultivates our openness, our freedom from being attached to concepts, and a more relaxed state, all of which come together to make us more open to insights.
We also open up to more unpleasant thoughts, emotions, and sensations, and continue letting those go by moving on to awareness of the next moment. In this way, we stop resisting these unpleasant experiences and stop trying to make them go, which actually makes them less unpleasant - and once again, makes them another opportunity to practice awareness, mindfulness!
Putting it all together -
relaxed awareness of whatever comes up;
segue-ing from mindfulness practice
to mindfulness as a way of life.
Throughout the day, we'll continue this open, freeform, choice-less awareness, moment-to-moment. We'll "loosen things up" - whereas in previous days, we made an effort to notice an aspect of awareness (e.g., thoughts, simple actions, emotions), today we'll begin to drop that in favor of a more relaxed, open awareness that just remains open to whatever comes up, whatever it is.
This will be a kind of awareness we can easily maintain throughout the days to come, as we segue from practicing mindfulness to living in mindfulness - making mindfulness our way of life!
Our main effort now is just to remind ourselves from time to time to live in this open awareness of whatever's going on, now. A good time to start this is upon waking up in the morning. We may notice our mind immediately beginning to think about the upcoming day, but we can return to awareness - feeling our breath, feeling the sensations of our body waking up; then continuing with awareness of what we're doing in our morning routine
Again, when we notice we've been lost in thought, we just gently come back to the next moment..