This weeks class: MIDL 48/52: Mindfulness of touch
This weeks class: MIDL 48/52: Mindfulness of touch
MIDL Mindfulness Training offers you a systematic way of bringing the benefits of mindfulness meditation into your daily life
MIDL stands for Mindfulness in Daily Life.
MIDL is also a play on words and points towards the middle balance or ‘Middle Way’ (MIDL Way) as discussed by the Buddha in his first talk given on mindfulness meditation.
The MIDL meditator seeks to find the middle path within mindfulness meditation practice, by neither suppressing or avoiding any experience but rather by softening into and unifying within the experience itself. This path leads to the softening of attraction and aversion towards pleasant and unpleasant feeling and a seamless integration of mindfulness meditation into daily life.
MIDL is a Buddhist Satipatthana Vipassana practice based on the discourse called the Satipatthana Sutta given by the Buddha over 2600 years ago. Translated, 'Sati' means mindfulness, 'Patthana' means a foundation or domain. So this can be understood as "The Foundations of Mindfulness' or as 'The Domains of Mindfulness. This means the areas in which you apply mindful awareness towards to develop understanding.
'Vipassana' means to look into, to separate experience, to observe it in terms of the Three Characteristics of experience; Anicca: impermamance, Dukkha: suffering and Anatta: not-self. Observing experience in terms of these Three Characteristics brings about a change of relationship towards what we are experiencing within our life. Satipatthana Vipassana (mindfulness meditation) is formless, there are many doorways in and therefore different techniques that can be used. The Buddha taught many different methods depending on who he was teaching the practice to and where their sensitivities lay. This is what made him a very skilled teacher.
Satipatthana Vipassana is not one physical method, it is a way of structuring attention in order to cultivate Wisdom. The different methods of practicing Satipatthana Vipassana available, now more commonly known as Mindfulness Meditation, are just different ways of cultivating the same thing, the doorway taken is dependent on the meditator. Each person comes to meditation with different qualities strong and weak within them. It is the role of the teacher to recognize this and guide the meditator towards the correct doorway. I am happy to help you with this.
Mindfulness in Daily Life (MIDL) provides a systematic way for you to practice and experience the benefits of traditional mindfulness meditation within your daily life.
Through developing your skill in softening your relationship towards all experience, of stilling the functions of your mind and self observation through MIDL mindfulness meditation skills you will develop understanding of the patterns of your mind & heart.
This understanding brings about changes in your relationship towards your life and within this the life that you are living will also change. Your relationship with yourself and others will become healthier, your sense of connectedness will increase and the endless cycles of ups and downs will come to end.
When doing the 52 MIDL Mindfulness Trainings you can choose the way that you do your meditation training:
1. Attention Training: Attention – Softness – Stillness
Follow the order of the 52 MIDL Mindfulness Trainings. This systematic progression follows the Satipatthana Sutta: Four Foundations of Mindfulness from the Buddha.
2. Progressive Training: Softness – Stillness – Attention.
Follow the progressive training in the book Step by Step Guidance in MIDL Mindfulness Meditation. This is is based on the progressive training laid out by the Buddha for lay people: Sila – Samadhi – Panna (morality – attention – wisdom). It focuses first on healing the heart before entering into attention training and is especially useful if the meditator comes to meditation with stress / anxiety.
MIDL contains 52 formal seated mindfulness trainings. Think of each training in MIDL as strengthening different mental muscles and refining specific mental skills. Each skill rests on a foundation created by the strength of the skill before it. Moving through your training quickly will ensure that your meditation practice will not develop.
Take your time with each training, take interest in and investigate the experience of each skill, this is what will take you forward. Take your time and observe whatever arises within your mind and body.
Your habitual patterns are the content of mindfulness meditation. The different trainings in MIDL are there to make your habitual defensive patterns arise, allowing you to observe and soften into them until they no longer drive you anymore.
Be curious, observe and relax the desire to move on to the next experience, something new. There is no where to go in this training, it is not about adding more to yourself, creating a new you, but rather about undoing the conditioning that is already there. Patterns that bind you.
There are currently three books available as support for the MIDL Mindfulness Meditation System. They are available in both hard copy and digital format. The cost of both is an email telling me about your meditation practice, I will be happy to provide the books for free when you say hello and share your experience with me. As the books are supported by donation, if you wish to receive a hard copy of the books, there is a postage cost that I will ask you to contribute towards.
How to Practice Mindfulness Meditation in Your Daily Life
This book provides an overall framework for practicing MIDL mindfulness meditation. It does not go into detail of each individual MIDL Mindfulness Training and is meant to be used as a general reference guide to give your meditation practice direction. There is currently no detailed book on the 52 MIDL Mindfulness Trainings but there will be one when I find the time to put it together. For detailed information on each individual mindfulness training the best reference is this website, in particular the questions and answers attached to each mindfulness training that are constantly updated.
Pages 1 – 8 give an intellectual understanding of the framework of self observation during mindfulness meditation in both seated meditation and within daily life.
Page 9 covers posture in formal, seated mindfulness meditation.
Pages 10 – 12 refers to MIDL Mindfulness Training 1/ 52 and discusses how to immerse awareness within our body and use it as a grounding point from which to observe attention move habitually, in order to develop our meditation foundation.
Page 11 refers to MIDL Mindfulness Training 13/52 and is placed here because it is part of the foundation training for meditation. It is placed at training 13/52 because most people when they come to meditation need to develop mindfulness and concentration before experiencing the elemental qualities.
Pages 13 – 14 refers to MIDL Mindfulness Trainings 3 – 5/52 and discusses the development of the MIDL Softening skill. The ability to ‘soften’ answers the question “When my attention moves from my grounding point, what do I do?” “I soften, relax my relationship towards it”. More detailed information on this training can be found in the book “Step by Step Guidance in MIDL Mindfulness Meditation” as this is this books purpose.
Page 15 refers to MIDL Mindfulness Trainings 7 – 12/52 providing the structure for MIDL mindfulness of breathing training.
Pages 15 - 16 refers to MIDL Mindfulness Trainings 6 – 7/52 and discusses the structure of basic mindfulness of breathing and how to observe and decondition habitual control as it reflects within breathing.
Pages 17 – 18 refers to MIDL Mindfulness Trainings 8 – 10/52 and discusses the structure for development of mindfulness of breathing and how to switch to pure mindfulness meditation by changing how we experience breathing from the breath coming in and out to the body responding to breathing by expanding outwards and deflating inwards.
Page 19 refers to MIDL Mindfulness Trainings 11 – 12/52 and discusses borrowing the expansion and deflation of the body as it responds to breathing to ‘open’ to the six senses and to ‘soften’ our relationship with the deflation of the out-breath.
This creates your viewing platform from which all other mindfulness skills can be practiced.
As the mind calms with this deflation we then increase sensitivity to the characteristic of impermanence by turning our attention towards the ending of the out-breath and beginning of the in-breath.
Pages 20 - 21 refers to MIDL Mindfulness Trainings 13 – 18/52 and discusses developing the mental factor of investigation in seated mindfulness meditation.
Pages 21 - 22 refers to MIDL Mindfulness Training 16/52 and discusses the technique of using mental labels to clarify where attention sits.
Pages 23 - 26 refers to MIDL Mindfulness Trainings 19 – 22/52 and discusses how to observe the habitual thinking process during MIDL mindfulness meditation to develop wisdom.
Page 27 refers to MIDL Mindfulness Training 24/52 and discusses the skill of calming all mental activity through softening into mindful non-participation.
Pages 28 – 31 refers to MIDL Mindfulness Trainings 29 - 33/52 and discusses the cultivation of positive qualities of heart.
Pages 32 – 34 refers to MIDL Mindfulness Trainings 27 - 28/52 and discusses practicing changing of posture during meditation and how to bring mindfulness of body into daily life.
Pages 35 – 40 refers to the structure of the habitual mind and how to decondition habitual patterns both during seated meditation and daily life.
Page 41 refers to MIDL Mindfulness Trainings 23/52 and discusses how to intentionally trigger and decondition habitual patterns of reaction.
Other Reference Books
Step by Step Guidance in MIDL Mindfulness Training
This guide provides detailed information for the development of MIDL mindfulness meditation entering through the softness doorway. Its focus is on using the experience of stress and anxiety as doorway to deep mindfulness meditation practice. This could be considered progressive training.
Original Instruction in Training in Mindfulness Meditation
The structure of the 52 MIDL Mindfulness Trainings is based on the Satipatthana Sutta, the original step by step instructions given by the Buddha on mindfulness meditation. A free digital copy is found on the Meditation in The Shire website in the book section. This is an important reference book for your meditation practice
I am often asked how to use MIDL mindfulness meditation to lower stress and anxiety.
The best thing that you can do with anxiety is to focus on gently retraining your breathing patterns. When experiencing stress our breathing patterns change from autonomous diaphragmatic breathing in the belly, to short, shallow chest breathing. If the stressors are continuous then chest, stress breathing can become habitual. This then causes the diaphragm muscle to become weak and the chest hyperventilation that results causes the experience of anxiety to be easily triggered.
Through retraining diaphragm breathing in the belly until it becomes your natural way of breathing throughout the day, your stress response will become less sensitive and the experience of anxiety will arise less often. You will also learn how to mindfully turn off stress chest breathing whenever it occurs.
This increased sensitivity to changes within your breathing patterns throughout your day will allow you to decondition any habitual defensive patterns of reaction that you may be experiencing.
If on the other hand, stress chest breathing is ignored, hypersensitivity and hyper-vigilance will continue and stress and anxiety will return again and again. This comes from the MIDL understanding of the conditional relationship between the mind and body and body and mind.
The book Step by Step Guidance in MIDL Mindfulness Meditation pages 9 – 12 plus MIDL Mindfulness Training 3/52: retraining Autonomous Breathing describes how to do this. There is also detailed information on the Anxiety Softening Room on my website.