This book is different. It is meant to provide brief and easy access to the essence of mindfulness meditation and its applications, for people whose lives may or may not be dominated by immediate problems of stress, pain, and illness. It is offered particularly for those who resist structured programs and for people who don’t like to be told what to do but are curious enough about mindfulness and its relevance to try to piece things together for themselves with a few hints and suggestions here and there.
Every time you get a strong impulse to talk about meditation and how wonderful it is, or how hard it is, or what it’s doing for you these days, or what it’s not, or you want to convince someone else how wonderful it would be for them, just look at it as more thinking and go meditate some more. The impulse will pass and everybody will be better off—especially you.
In times of great turmoil or darkness, use your breath as the string which will guide you through the labyrinth. Keep mindfulness alive even in the darkest moments, reminding yourself that the awareness is not part of the darkness or the pain; it holds the pain, and knows it, so it has to be more fundamental, and closer to what is healthy and strong and golden within you.
You can feel the body from head to toe, breathing and radiating warmth over the entire envelope of your skin. It’s the whole body that breathes, the whole body that is alive. In bringing mindfulness to the body as a whole, you can reclaim your entire body as the locus of your being and your vitality, and remind yourself that “you,” whoever you are, are not just a resident of your head.