This is the ‘at home’ practice assignment for the Walking the Path course.
How do you settle yourself to begin your meditation practice? How do you establish mindful attention at the beginning of your daily meditation session? Some people dive in upon their meditation object (such as the breath) so quickly and forcefully that they agitate the mind, control their experience, and pressure themselves to accomplish too much. Other people don’t bother to establish a clear intention toward mindful awareness, and sit down relaxing into a period of day dreams. These may describe extremes, but notice how you begin your meditation session, and consider ways that you might approach those initial precious minutes to diligently yet gently establish mindfulness as a priority. You might explore the possibility of starting with a reflection, chant, or dhamma verse; articulating your intention; settling the mind in the body with body scan techniques, metta, postural awareness, a practice of your choice that develops tranquility, or just deciding that you want to be present. Experiment with various approaches to discover how you might begin your daily practice establishing mindfulness as the priority.
Then practice bringing mindful awareness into daily activities by noticing how you approach various work, family, and daily life events. Try entering those situations by making mindfulness a priority and see how the intention toward mindfulness affects the quality of your engagement.
Note: This reflective assignment was inspired by our course text, The Art of Disappearing, by Ajahn Brahm, page 30.