Zen Blog

This blog collects various internet feeds aimed towards information, experience and technique exchange in support of our shared spiritual journey.....

”Namaste - may the light in me, honor the light in you…”

Three Breath Meditations to Connect to Your Best Self

An 11-Minute Awareness of Breath Practice 

from Susan Kaiser-Greenland

Notice. To simply sit and notice the breath is one of the oldest meditation practices there is. By settling in and staying with your breath for a few moments, you recognize that awareness is always here. You can trust that your breath will find a natural rhythm and that you can simply notice things as they come and go. Take a moment to drop in and notice the stillness that is always with you. 

A 5-Minute Mindful Breathing Practice to Restore Your Attention

from Mark Bertin

Focus. This simple meditation trains your attention, so you can begin to choose what you’d like to focus on, rather than letting your mind wander aimlessly. Each time you notice your mind has wandered, you have a chance to bring yourself back to the present moment by focusing on the breath. Follow this guided meditation to strengthen your attention with every breath.

A 20-minute Compassionate Breathing Practice

from Kristin Neff

Continue reading
  25 Hits
  0 Comments
25 Hits
0 Comments

Six Books to Enjoy this Fall

Silence: A Social History of One of the Least Understood Elements of Our Lives

Jane Brox • Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

An author fascinated by the fundamental aspects of life, Jane Brox has written about family, farmland, and light—all to great acclaim. She is a micro-historian with a farmer’s feel for the value of getting dirt under your fingernails to get to the heart of the matter. Using the modern technique of alternating and intertwining stories, Brox reports on silence as a means of reform in early penitentiaries (thought to be more humane than corporal or capital punishment) and as a means of spiritual development in the monastery.

Silence as means of redemption for criminals is largely a story of the dark side of silence. The prohibition against speaking revealed a deep need to give voice and to commune with others. It was being silenced rather than finding peace within silence: punishment, not reformation. 

Brox leaves us to contemplate the interplay between quiet and community, between a silence born of deep listening and one born of wanting others to shut up.

Continue reading
  20 Hits
  0 Comments
20 Hits
0 Comments

Restorative Breathing is the Key To Vitality

The story in my family is that a coat hanger saved my life.

I was about 18 months old and was suffering with a horrible case of pneumonia that made it difficult for me to breathe. One night I was struggling so badly, my father called our family doctor and pleaded with her to make a house call. When she arrived, or so the tale goes, she took one look at me, grabbed a wire hanger from the closet, and performed an emergency tracheotomy on the spot.

Everything turned out fine, and within a few weeks I was up and crawling again, but what lingered for years was a feeling of vulnerability—and an ambivalent relationship to breathing—that has shadowed me throughout my life. I was hospitalized again with pneumonia in my teens, and even as an adult I sometimes struggled to exhale or mysteriously stopped breathing altogether. I started meditating years later and listened to teachers rhapsodize about following the breath, which was my idea of hell. I danced around it, focusing on noting thoughts or experiencing bodily sensations—anything except following the breath. But you can only hide from your breath for so long. Eventually, I would have to address…

NEW! Unlimited access to our premium Mindful MeditationsFull access to every story on mindful.orgBi-monthly magazine and mobile appComplete PDF library of Mindful magazine

Subscribe for unlimited access


Already a digital subscriber?
Log in to access this article

Original author: Hugh Delehanty
  19 Hits
  0 Comments
19 Hits
0 Comments

Train Your Brain to Build Resilience

It’s one thing to misplace your keys or your wallet two minutes before you have to rush out the door for work. You do your best to breathe slowly, stay calm, and try to think if maybe you were wearing something else with pockets before the early morning mad dash. We all experience these hiccups in life—dropping the lasagna on the way to serve guests, leaving a laptop on a plane, learning that the car needs a new transmission—and these hiccups can create quite a startle in the nervous system. Our capacity to cope with these inevitable ups and downs is then further tested when we layer on our own critical messages: “You stupid klutz!” or “I can’t ever get anything right” or “I knew it.”

But usually we can right ourselves again. We put on our big-kid pants, face the distress of the moment, and deal.

Occasionally we are called on to deal with greater troubles and adversities, not just hiccups but earthquakes that overwhelm our capacities to cope, at least temporarily. They include troubles like infertility or infidelity, a diagnosis of cancer, losing a job several years out from retirement, a child arrested for selling pot, or a…

NEW! Unlimited access to our premium Mindful MeditationsFull access to every story on mindful.orgBi-monthly magazine and mobile appComplete PDF library of Mindful magazine

Subscribe for unlimited access


Already a digital subscriber?
Log in to access this article

Original author: Linda Graham
  18 Hits
  0 Comments
18 Hits
0 Comments

Encouraging Meaningful Conversations about Race and Trauma

Jenée Johnson wants the San Francisco Department of Public Health—all 9,000 employees—to take a deep breath. And another deep breath. And another. She wants them—janitors and judges, IT technicians and social workers—to find, in those breaths, the opening notes of a mindfulness practice. Those moments of calm, she believes, are the foundation of emotional intelligence and its skills of resilience and compassion. In effect, Johnson’s title—Program Innovation Leader: Mindfulness, Trauma, and Racial Equity —positions her as the municipal agency’s chief mindfulness officer.

In that capacity, she is bringing mindfulness into the agency’s ongoing work with trauma. That work includes mandatory training for every employee about the prevalence of trauma; how it can affect both the agency’s clients and its workforce; and how to take a systemic approach to foster wellness and resilience. Johnson also forged the agency’s partnership with the Google- bred Search Inside Yourself Leadership Institute, where she completed a nine-month teacher certification program. Previously, Johnson served for 15 years as the director of the agency’s Black Infant Health Program, incorporating mindfulness into her intervention work with mothers. Johnson lives with her husband in Oakland, where they raised their son.

Tell me about the words in your title at the Department of Public Health: mindfulness, trauma, and racial equity.

Trauma and stress are chronic public health issues. The department is saying we need to address the ways that trauma and stress affect us in the workforce, so that we don’t end up doing harm to each other and to the very people we seek to help. 

And mindfulness? 

Continue reading
  16 Hits
  0 Comments
16 Hits
0 Comments