I woke to bright shining sky and snow-covered earth. The woods looked absolutely beautiful with tree branches cloaked in a fresh covering of white.
During this morning's T'ai Chi Chih class we slid slowly through the movements of the form. It always feels delightful to experience the body as it unwinds and untangles stiff cords of tension that run through the muscles and tendons.
After TCC practice we returned to our discussion of Buddha's Brain, Chapter 11, "Foundations of Mindfulness." The section entitled, "Set Intentions," offered some helpful hints:
Establish a deliberate intention at the beginning of any activity that requires focus. Use statements such as May my mind be steady. Or just call up a silent feeling of determination.
Get a bodily sense of being someone you know who is extremely focused. That uses the empathy systems in the brain to stimulate within yourself the mindful nature of that other person.I told the class that my intention in beginning each class with a guided meditation is to help students notice their breath, tune into their bodies, and relax tight muscles. However, this approach assumes that when students relax their bodies they'll also automatically focus their minds.
Keep reestablishing your intentions ... every few minutes you could resolve anew to stay focused (p. 183).
It may help to include May my mind be steady as a integral part of each guided meditation. By stating that intention directly I'm telling each person's Monkey Mind that it's okay to settle down during the time of our practice. It can't hurt to try.