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The Mindful Key to Connected, Clear Communication

”The most precious gift we can offer others is our presence. When mindfulness embraces those we love, they will bloom like flowers.”Thích Nhất Hạnh

It can be incredibly frustrating when you are having a conversation and are left with the frustration that comes with feeling that something is missing. Perhaps it turned into an argument. Perhaps there’s the sadness that comes with feeling misunderstood. You wanted to share a message or an experience that somehow missed the mark.

I want to show you how you can quickly create a presence that will lead to clear communication that will leave you both with a sense that you care, understand and are understood. There is  a satisfying feeling of peace, connection, and possibility.

The key is Mindful Curiosity. The Zen Master Thích Nhất Hạnh says ”The most precious gift we can offer others is our presence. When mindfulness embraces those we love, they will bloom like flowers.” He calls this “Deep Listening”.

Curiosity helps you remain soft and receptive. It helps you establish a mindful presence with ease. You don’t need to “try” to be present…you automatically, naturally are. While you may have a message to transmit, you are also deeply interested in the other person’s experience and perspective. And without even trying, you happen to be fully mindful, attentive, and present. You are calm and there is a relaxed sense of inquiry to the interaction. There is a feeling of connection and wonder. You are not so intent on making your point that you ignore the other person’s concerns or perspective. And we’re not just talking about the content, but the feeling behind the words as well.

If I’m curious about what someone has to say, then I am trying to understand. I am clarifying what I heard the other person say to make sure I got it right. I am listening in between the lines. I am fully present because their words and gestures are not filtered by my agenda or need to be heard. And then, I find that they too are willing to listen. We are not defending our views and trying to convince each other (that typically deteriorates into an argument). We are wondering what is meant without out jumping to conclusions. And then again, I am clarifying to understand and I feel connected and interested.

And if I am presenting my views, I am interested in what you think as well. And you sense that interest, that respect, and the curiosity. It feels like I am with you, I am here. There is no need for either of us to defend, because right and wrong is not as important as simply understanding. Yes, we can press out point, but with respect and care.

If this communication has more to do with providing support, comfort or encouragement, then again, you can just remain curious, wondering about how the other person is feeling or thinking. Just listening and wondering what you will discover. And they end up feeling like they have company, like you care and understand.

And as Thích Nhất Hạnh said “…they will bloom like flowers.” Here you are not so much giving advice, as being present and trusting that they can see clearly if given the caring space to do so. And typically once they have some calm (which your curious, open presence encourages), they will find the clarity they need to sort things out. If they ask for advice, you give it as an option to consider…without the need for them to act on it. And they are more receptive as a result.

So your cultivation of mindful presence is accomplished by simply being curious. And communication becomes connected and clear.

by Michael Gusack

Beginner Meditation Tips

Here’s Some Basics…Valuable For All Levels of Experience

Sometimes getting started is the hardest part. Getting past the unfamiliar is often key to any skill requiring practice. And meditation is a skill that gets easier over time with practice.

It helps to have a sense of what some of the basics are so that you have some confidence that you are proceeding in a useful and effective manner. Being comfortable, in a quiet place without interruption, and staying alert are all helpful.

If you have to lay down due to physical discomfort or medical problems, sometimes keeping eyes open, but softly focused will help distinguish your practice from sleep.

Beach Meditation

Try these different approaches and you will begin to get a sense of your preferences.

Meditation is an energy healing art that has great health benefits. Meditation is great for relaxing the mind, body, and spirit. In addition to boosting immunity to fight off harmful microorganisms, many studies have shown that meditation, mindfulness, and deep relaxation can reduce stress, improve cognitive focus, and affect emotions in positive ways.

How to meditate for beginners

Many beginners of meditation often experience a lot of noise in their head, making it hard for them to clear and calm their mind. This experience is very common and is not too hard to fix. Meditation is about relaxing the mind, focusing on the breath, and becoming a conscious observer of the breathing cycle as each breath gently flows in and out of the body to achieve a deeply relaxed state.

The meditation tips for beginners below will help you clear your mind, making it easier for you to achieve a deeply relaxed state of mind.

Meditation tips for beginners #1: Scan your body

Your mind is always thinking and being distracted by all sorts of messages, so clearing and relaxing your mind can be a huge challenge. One trick to shed the mental side-talk is to scan your body in unison with your breath.

Start by focusing your attention on your toes and silently telling them to relax. Then, repeat this process until you have scanned every part of your body from your legs and abdomen to your fingers, arms, heart, and head. By the time you get through giving attention to your entire body, you will be surprised to find how relaxed you are.

Meditation tips for beginners #2: Peaceful music

The vibration and sound of peaceful music can help relax your mind, making it easier for you to achieve a meditative state. The trick is to select music that is soothing and dreamy and preferably something without words. If you prefer having words in the peaceful music, words with soft and soothing tones are recommended.

Also, the volume should be low enough that it is not all-consuming but more in the backdrop of things. Furthermore, make sure that the music does not end or change significantly while you are still meditating.

Meditation tips for beginners #3: Imagery

When you see or think of an alarming image, your body is flooded with the stress hormone, cortisol, and becomes alert and on edge. The flip side of this phenomenon is that by focusing on calming and peaceful images, your body can tap into your inner stillness, thereby setting you up for relaxation and meditation. These types of images are very powerful for harmonizing the energy of the mind and body.

Practice makes perfect when it comes to meditation, so the more you do it, the more it will become easier to transition into a meditative state of awareness. Also, try to meditate on a regular basis so that your body becomes use to it. One thing you should always do before meditating is to make sure you are comfortable. If you are not comfortable, you are making it much harder to relax your mind to a state of inner peace.

Read the full article including 2 more tips and references here.