The Little Book of Being: Practices and Guidance for Uncovering Your Natural Awareness

The Little Book of Being: Practices and Guidance for Uncovering Your Natural Awareness

by Diana Winston
The Little Book of Being: Practices and Guidance for Uncovering Your Natural Awareness

The Little Book of Being: Practices and Guidance for Uncovering Your Natural Awareness

by Diana Winston


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A practical guide for experiencing natural awareness—an effortless and spacious state of resting in the depth of our being.

Do you recall, as a child, being enthralled by a drifting cloud, a rain-soaked leaf, a wandering ladybug? Or suddenly having a sense of timelessness, contentment, and ease? If so, then you've already had a taste of natural awareness.

Known and revered in many traditions as a complement to focused mindfulness training, natural awareness transcends even these wondrous childhood moments. Some describe it as a profound "awareness of awareness"—an effortless, boundless state of resting in the depth of our being.

For those new to meditation and experienced meditators alike, these 72 "mini-chapters" guide you on an in-depth odyssey into natural awareness, illuminated by many simple and enjoyable insights and exercises. The Little Book of Being invites you to explore: The spectrum of awareness practices, from focused mindfulness to flexible mindfulness to natural awareness
• How classical mindfulness and effortless natural awareness enrich and shape each other, and how to practice both
• Three ways to move into natural awareness—relaxing effort, broadening awareness, and dropping objects
• A treasury of "glimpse practices" to spark natural awareness anytime, in just a few moments
• How to bring this way of "simply being" into your daily life, into your connection with others, and into the world
"At first natural awareness may seem far away, just a whisper, but then it will begin to grow and expand and permeate aspects of living. Over time we may feel more peace, more connection to ourselves. We may find ourselves taking life a bit more lightly. We may feel a sense of relaxed ‘beingness’ throughout the day, and when we do get caught in our dramas, we may find ourselves moving out of them quicker than we imagined we could." —Diana Winston

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781683642176
Publisher: Sounds True, Incorporated
Publication date: 03/05/2019
Pages: 248
Sales rank: 518,996
Product dimensions: 5.30(w) x 7.90(h) x 1.00(d)

About the Author

Diana WinstonDiana Winston is the director of Mindfulness Education at UCLA Semel Institute’s Mindful Awareness Research Center (MARC) and the coauthor, with Dr. Susan Smalley, of Fully Present: The Science, Art, and Practice of Mindfulness (DaCapo, 2010). She is a well-known teacher and speaker who brings mindful awareness practices to the general public to promote health and well-being. Called by the LA Times "one of the nation’s best-known teachers of mindfulness," she has taught mindfulness since 1993 in a variety of settings, including hospitals, universities, corporations, nonprofits, schools in the US and Asia, and online. She developed the evidence-based Mindful Awareness Practices (MAPS) curriculum and the Training in Mindfulness Facilitation, which trains mindfulness teachers worldwide.

Her work has been mentioned or she has been quoted in the New York Times; O, The Oprah Magazine; Newsweek; the Los Angeles Times; Allure; Women’s Health; and in a variety of magazines, books, and journals. She is also the author of Wide Awake: A Buddhist Guide for Teens (Perigee Books, 2003) and the audio program Mindful Meditations, and has published numerous articles on mindfulness. Diana is a member of the Teacher's Council at Spirit Rock Meditation Center in Northern California. She has been practicing mindfulness meditation since 1989, including a year as a Buddhist nun in Burma. Currently, Diana’s most challenging and rewarding practice involves trying to mindfully parent an eight-year-old. She lives in Los Angeles.

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Table of Contents

Introduction 1

How to Use the Glimpse Practices 9

Part I Foundations: Understanding Natural Awareness

1 What Is Natural Awareness? 12

2 What Makes Natural Awareness Natural? 15

Glimpse Practice: Recollection 17

3 Why Is Natural Awareness So Hard to Find? 18

4 What's In It for Me? 20

5 Um, What Is Meditation? 23

Glimpse Practice: Ask Yourself… 26

6 But What About Regular Old Mindfulness Practice? 27

7 The Spectrum of Awareness Practices 29

8 Did I Say, "No Hierarchy"? 34

Glimpse Practice: Reminder Phrases 36

9 The Science of Natural Awareness Practice 37

10 Natural Awareness in Light of Religion 39

11 The Multifaceted Diamond 42

Glimpse Practice: A Quote 44

12 Developing a Natural Awareness Practice 45

13 Living from Natural Awareness 48

14 A Caveat: Don't Be a Bliss Ninny 50

Glimpse Practice Bank of a River Analogy 53

Part II Techniques: Meditating with Natural Awareness

15 Medication Practice Basics 56

16 Clarifying and Setting Intentions 59

Glimpse Practice: Ask Yourself… 61

17 Classical Mindfulness Meditation: Focused Awareness Practice 62

18 Classical Mindfulness Meditation Expanded: Flexible Awareness Practice 65

Glimpse Practice: Back-Body Awareness 67

19 Classical Mindfulness Meditation Expanded Further: Fully Flexible Awareness Practice 68

20 Shift into Natural Awareness 72

Glimpse Practice: Notice the Noticer 82

21 Natural Awareness Meditation: Marinate and Refresh 83

22 Structuring Your Natural Awareness Practice Session 86

23 Eves Wide Open 88

Glimpse Practice: Open Your Eyes 90

24 Mix It Up 92

25 Trust the Healing 94

Glimpse Practice: A Mirror Analogy 96

26 Difficult Emotions: Rain 97

27 Difficult Emotions: Salt in the Lake 99

Glimpse Practice: Listening Expansion 102

28 What about Thoughts? 103

29 Concentration and Natural Awareness 105

30 Anxiety: When There's No Ground 107

Glimpse Practice: 360-Degrec Body Expansion 110

31 Spacing Out: Who Am I Kidding? 111

32 Busy Mind 113

Glimpse Practice: The Space Between Things 115

33 Sleepy Time 116

34 Subtle Sleepiness or Dullness 118

Glimpse Practice: Expand Everything 120

35 Embodiment: Don't Get Caught in the Head 122

36 Clinging to Natural Awareness 124

37 Drop the Banana 126

Glimpse Practice: Ask Yourself… 127

38 Caught or Free? 128

39 Hooked? Melt Back 130

Glimpse Practice: Melting Back Like Chocolate 132

40 Doubt: Is This It? 133

41 Clouds and the Sky 136

Glimpse Practice: Mind Like the Sky Analogy 138

42 Self-Judgment: The Tyranny of Doing It Right 139

43 Inner Goodness 141

Glimpse Practice: Ask Yourself… 143

44 How Compassion Fits In 144

45 Intend Compassion 146

Glimpse Practice: Heart Awareness 148

46 Retreats 150

47 Don't Do It Alone 153

48 Find Two Teachers 155

Glimpse Practice: A Quote 157

Part III Embodiment: Living Natural Awareness

49 Formal and Informal Practice 160

50 Do Nothing: There Goes the Barge 163

51 Hang Out with Children 165

Glimpse Practice: Fake It till It's Real 167

52 Find the Flow in Sports or Art 168

53 Tap into Nature 170

54 Practice with Your Pets 172

Glimpse Practice: Invoke It 174

55 Extend the Whispers 175

56 Bring Glimpse Practices into Daily Life 177

57 Give Yourself Practical Reminders 179

Glimpse Practice: I'm Reminding You Right Now 181

58 Postmeditation 182

59 Waiting? Default to Awareness 184

60 Take a Neighborhood Walk 186

Glimpse Practice: Ask Yourself… 188

61 Shift (into Natural Awareness) While Driving 189

62 Wash Your Dishes with Natural Awareness 191

63 What to Do When You're Not Aware 193

Glimpse Practice: What's Here Instead? 196

64 Practice While You Listen 197

65 Practice in Computer Hell 199

66 An Ethical Life 202

Glimpse Practice: An Ocean Analogy 204

67 Something Changes Inside 205

68 What Will You Let Go Of? 207

69 And It's Okay 209

Glimpse Practice: A Quote 211

70 I Can Handle It! 212

71 Finding a New Address 214

72 You Can Live from Natural Awareness 216

Glimpse Practice: Ask Yourself… 218

Afterword Evolutionary Imperative 219

Notes 221

Appendix: Guided Meditation on the Spectrum of Awareness Practices 224

About the UCLA Mindful Awareness Research Center 228

Acknowledgments 229

About the Author 232

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