Excerpts from "Beginning Mindfulness"
Here is an excerpt from the first chapter of Beginning Mindfulness. Please remember that Beginning Mindfulnessis a copyrighted work, with all rights reserved, and no portion of it can be copied or distributed in any form without my express, written permission.
Mindfulness practice comes in two varieties: formal and informal. The formal practice is what we would normally call "meditation": that is, it involves setting aside a specific time to sit silently with mindful awareness of our breathing or to walk slowly and silently with mindful awareness of our breath and our walking. The informal practice is mindfulness of our daily life activities, and is just as much "meditation" as the formal practices are. Because the heart of mindfulness practice is the enactment of mindfulness in everything in our lives, both the formal and informal practices of mindfulness are equally important. Each supports the other, and both support our lives. Without formal practice, it is difficult to develop a deep understanding of ourselves, our minds and our true nature as living beings. Formal practice gives us a controlled, simplified environment where we can encounter ourselves and the world in the present moment. Informal practice enacts mindfulness in every act and increases our concentration and awareness. Without informal practice, we would become schizophrenic, with one, deeper level of awareness when we are doing sitting or walking meditation and with another, less open level of awareness everywhere else.
Daily Formal Practice
It is important to do some formal mindfulness practice every day. It strengthens our concentration and gives us the opportunity to do nothing but be present in the moment. "Be" is the operative word here: "be" and not "do". We all have plenty of "do-ing" in our lives, and not enough "be-ing." We need both. Not only do we encounter ourselves and the world differently when we are be-ing rather than do-ing, we also learn quickly that the secret to living well is to "be" in the center of our "do-ing". Or, to put it another way, we learn that the secret to an awakened life is to be completely, deeply still, spacious and present in the heart of whatever we are doing. We stop, come to rest. Only when we can rest from our mind's constant running can we be present to this moment.
In this first week we have our introduction to the formal practice of sitting meditation.
To support your formal sitting practice at home, it helps to find a special place. You don't need much room -- a place for a cushion or chair, and perhaps some beautiful object you enjoy looking at like a small vase of flowers, or a plant or rock or carving. Try to use this space only for your meditation practice: this will help encourage you to meditate every time you sit down there. Remember, meditation should be enjoyable and rewarding (if it isn't, you won't want to do it), so make the space as inviting as possible. Try to make sure that your meditation set-up encourages you to keep your back straight and not to lean into a wall or chair-back.
Don't set unrealistic goals for yourself. Even if you do sitting practice for 5 minutes after you wake up in the morning and 5 minutes before you go to bed at night, it will help you. Once you see the benefits of sitting practice, you may find it easier and more natural to spend a little more time at it.
It is important to establish a special time of day for formal meditation practice, just as it is to create a special place for it. Try to do your sitting meditation at the same time every day. If you're a morning person, try sitting before breakfast. If you're an evening person, try sitting about ½ hour after dinner. If you do formal walking meditation (something we will be introduced to in the next section), whether it's outdoors or indoors, try to do it at the same time every day. This kind of discipline really helps.
Daily Informal Practice
Because the heart of mindfulness practice is the enactment of mindfulness in everything in our lives, encouraging ourselves to be as mindful as we canfrom moment to moment is essential. Here are some suggestions for how to reinforce mindfulness in your daily life. During your first week of practice, please pick one or two and give them your wholehearted attention. You can use conscious breathing -- awareness of breath -- as a foundation to encourage daily life mindfulness, just as you use it as the foundation for your sitting and walking meditation practice.
Daily life mindfulness is essential in helping us stop. The complete focus on a simple act, such as turning on the ignition of our car or putting the key into the lock of our front door, allows our mind to rest in the present moment. Everything that you read in the sections of this book on formal practice applies equally to the informal practice of daily life mindfulness. The act of washing dishes can be just as precious an opportunity for this kind of awakening as the time we spend doing sitting meditation.
In order for mindfulness to mean anything, it must be engaged in our lives, whether we are doing sitting meditation or preparing a meal. Being engaged in the moment means being present -- putting aside our subterfuges, the ways in which we hide from being right here right now, and giving ourselves completely to whatever we are engaged in, whether it's breathing, walking, or peeling a potato. One meditation teacher described the process of mindfulness practice as the slow settling of water in a pond. As the pond settles, the water becomes clearer and clearer. Similarly, as we become more mindful and our mind comes to rest more steadily, our understanding and true presence becomes clearer and clearer. For me, it is as though a veil dropped away and I come into direct contact with myself and the world.
The concentration necessary for completely engaging in our daily activities is something we cultivate over time, so please don't be discouraged if you find your attention wandering at first. As with formal meditation practice, we do not expect our mind to stop completely when we engage ourselves mindfully in daily life. The thoughts or feelings which come up while we are mindfully engaged are important windows on understanding and provide their own opportunity for us to wake up. We want to acknolwedge them and be with them in an accepting, non-analytical way, just as we are during sitting meditation.
Many of us find it helpful to use gathas -- little poems -- to encourage mindfulness of what we're doing. Some of these are included in the second section of this book, and are for some common everyday acts, such as waking up in the morning, washing dishes, turning on the television, etc. Please feel free to take more from the two books of gatha in the recommended reading list, or you can make up your own.
You will see that each week's "home play" includes adding another daily life mindfulness activity to your daily routine, so you will be referring back to this list frequently as you go along.
* Try eating breakfast without reading the newspaper or watching television. If possible, try eating silently. Before you eat, allow yourself to breathe in and out three times and bring your awareness to the food in front of you.
* Take a few minutes, either at home or on your way to work, to notice something enjoyable about the morning: perhaps the sunlight, or the rain, or the face of a child, or a flower, or the sound of the birds or of the wind.
* On your way to work, try to be mindful of your traveling. Be aware of your walking, your sitting on the subway or strap-hanging, your driving if you're in a car. Allow a few mindful breaths to relax your body. Do your best to allow your steps and actions to be peaceful ones.
When you get into your car to drive, try allowing yourself a few mindful breaths to calm yourself and bring yourself in tune with the car and the act of driving before you turn on the ignition. Be aware of how you're holding your body, and allow your breathing to help you relax your shoulders, soften your face. See if you can break the pressure of pushing to get where you're going, and just enjoy the process of getting there. When you see a red light, allow that to be a bell of mindfulness for you and come back to your breath. Remember to smile - it's a great contradiction to all our attitudes about driving!
In my meditation classes we use a bell as one way to help us focus our attention. You can use this same tool at home. The bell can be an enjoyable and easy way to share your meditation practice with your family and to get support from them. Every time you hear the bell, you'll be reminded to return to your breathing, and this reminder will help strengthen your mindfulness.
The kind of bell which we use in my meditation class is called a Japanese "rin gong". It is a small bowl made of spun brass and comes with a small cushion and a small stick. We use the stick to "invite the bell to sound."
The phrase "invite the bell to sound" originates from the Vietnamese language and custom. It implies treating the bell with a lot more respect than "hitting the bell" or "striking the bell." Would you hit or strike something or someone whom you care about? "Inviting the bell to sound" creates a different, more mindful relationship.
When you invite the bell, here is a gatha you can use to help focus your attention. Say it silently to yourself, and coordinate each line with your breath:
Voice of the bell, voice of my heart, (breathing in)
I invite your sound to awaken me. (breathing out)
May all beings live in mindfulness, (breathing in)
Our hearts open and our minds clear. (breathing out)
When you hear the bell, try saying this gatha silently to yourself.
Listen, listen (breathing in)
Thel sound of this bell brings me back to my true home (breathing out)
Repeat this for three in and out breaths.
It helps to keep the bell in a special place where everyone can find it. If you have children, it is especially helpful if you let them be the keepers of the bell! There are instructions on how to invite the bell to sound on the tape accompanying this book, and you can teach this to other people in your family.
Home Play
Formal Practice:Create a sitting meditation place for yourself at home. Try doing sitting meditation for five minutes in the morning after you get up and for five minutes in the evening, either after dinner or before bedtime. See whether you are a morning sitter or an evening sitter -- or perhaps you are both! Morning sitting sets us up well for our day. Evening sitting helps us clear the thoughts and feelings that have come up during the day. During your five minutes of sitting, try using the exercise of counting the breath.
Informal practice:Take one item from the list of daily life mindfulness activities. Do your best to remember to remain mindful every time you do that activity throughout the week. Notice how your relationship to that activity changes over time with your mindful attention.
NEW! Excerpts from "Crossing The Divide"
Here are two extensive excerpts from "Crossing The Divide", a new book in process.  Please remember that "Crossing The Divide" and these excerpts are copyrighted material, with all rights reserved.  Because these are drafts, I am prohibiting all copying of these excerpts by any means, mechanical or electronic, and any use of these excerpts and their contents for any purpose other than your reading them online on this website.
(Excerpt from Chapter 1)
Our goal in this course will be to develop an integrated spiritual practice which can maintain expansive awareness in our daily lives.  We will be devoting much of our time to learning visualization practices which we can easily move from our sitting meditation into our daily routine.  These practices will help us move beyond our preconceptions, become more familiar with our emotions and less reactive, balance our relationships with family, friends, and even those we don’t know, and maintain command of our own being no matter what happens — something my old Zen Master used to call “Primary Point.”
To do any of these things, we first need to be inside our beings and in the present moment.  The only way to be really present, to be in a spiritually-aware state, is to keep our selves in our bodies.  That’s a simple statement and seems obvious, but it is also controversial.  For many people, the goal of spiritual practice is to transcend the body, to leave the body behind and somehow experience a “pure” spiritual energy, one untrammeled by the physical world. For many years I believed the same thing, but I have since discovered that such a perspective doesn’t work well in practice and can create problems.
I first encountered an alternate point of view when I began practicing Buddhism and started chanting the “Heart of the Prajnanparamita Sutra.”  This is an ancient Buddhist text which records a conversation between Avalokiteshvara, a great Buddhist saint, and Shariputra, one of the Buddha’s students.  In it, Avalokiteshvara encapsulates the experience of attaining enlightenment.  He tells Shariputra,
“Form is emptiness, emptiness is form.
Form is not other than emptiness, emptiness is not other than form.
The same is true of feelings, perceptions, mental formations and consciousness.”
The word “emptiness” here represents the state of pure essence, the reality beyond form, thinking and emotion where separateness dissolves.  This is the point where we live the reality that our “I” and this world are no more than the confluence of matter and energy and have no separate, abiding substance.  At that point, our “I” dissolves and all becomes One.  “Emptiness” is the equivalent to the “True Tao” in Lao-Tzu’s famous statement, “The Tao which can be known is not the True Tao.”  
Once I really understood what I was chanting (and that took awhile), it was a lightning-bolt.  Avalokiteshvara is saying that there is no way of knowing or experiencing “emptiness” outside of the world of form.  Form and non-form, the confluence and dissolution of elements, all exist together.  The world of the body, of the emotions, the perceptions, the thoughts, even our consciousness, is the only way we can experience “emptiness”, or, to translate that into more western words, our True or Divine Essence.   The more I practiced meditation, the more clear it was to me that Avalokiteshvara was correct.  We can’t separate out our emotions or our thoughts or our perceptions from the things we feel about, or think about, or perceive.  Our doorways are our six senses: touch (the body), taste (the mouth), smell (the nose), hearing (the ears), vision (the eyes), and thinking/consciousness (the mind).  When I broke through to that realization as something alive in me for the first time, it was during a retreat.  It was as though everything had dropped away and was still there at the same time.  Borders and boundaries were anachronisms: they existed and didn’t exist at the same time.  There was “I” and there was “no I” at the same time.  And there was no “time” as we understand it, except as it existed as a construct of my consciousness.  I had never felt more alive or more HERE than right at that moment, and I had never felt more “me” and more “beyond me”.  Everything was inside me and I was inside everything.  I’ve had this experience many times since, sometimes during spiritual retreats or talks and sometimes spontaneously at home or at work or even in my car.  It’s never exactly the same but it is clear and unmistakable.
Yes, I am more than this particular body.  I am also more than this particular consciousness called “I”.  But this consciousness, like my body and the rest of my sense organs, is my doorway, my avenue to what is inside, around and beyond them all.  This body may drop away, and maybe I will manifest in another form (or even a non-form).  Or, as my old Zen Master used to say, “Didn’t get such a good used car this time, maybe get a better one next time.”  
The purpose of our practice is to walk through doorways into that awareness, that “emptiness” which cannot be separated from form, at any moment in our daily lives, and thus bring that awareness into the “mundane” moments of our daily lives.  This is simple to manifest, and, for most of us, it is also quite difficult because we are so completely attached to our “I.”
Now, be prepared for the first of the great counter-intuitive contradictions: to get to this point of awareness, we first have to become completely established in the body, in all of our other sense organs, and in our personalities.  I know this from personal experiences (like the one related above) and from observation.  I’ve had the good fortune to be in the presence of many great beings in my life, from my old Zen Master Seung Sanh to Thich Nhat Hanh to Gurumayi Chidvalasananda to the Dalai Lama and so on.  One thing I’ve noticed about all these beings is that they have very powerful and strong personalities.  They are profoundly charismatic at the same time as they are profoundly still.  It was both disconcerting and liberating to look into Seung Sanh’s or Gurumayi’s eyes and to see absolute stillness and absolute, unbounded “emptiness” — and at the same time to hear them joke and prod and take absolute command of their environments.  I saw the truth of Avalokiteshvara’s words in action.
We have to start by becoming fully present in our bodies.  Then we can become fully present to the energy which makes us up and which manifests as our bodies.  Our first step to becoming truly liberated is to become truly at home in our own being.
    Bring the Breath Into the Body
    Sit in a chair which can support you without leaning backwards or forwards.  Keep your back straight and relaxed.  Put your hands on your legs with your palms up, and close your eyes.  Become aware of your breathing at your diaphragm.  Become aware that when you breathe in, a spaciousness literally opens in your body (your abdomen and lungs expand), and when you breathe out, you can feel the breath move through your abdomen and lungs.  
    Once you are established in that awareness, allow it to expand downward into your lower abdomen and down to your hips: breathe in, and allow the spaciousness to open from your diaphragm down to your hips; breathe out, and allow the movement of the breath to occur in that entire area of your body. 
    Now allow the awareness to move further down.  Breathe in and allow the spaciousness to open from your diaphragm all the way down through your hips and into your legs, down to the knees.  Breathe out and allow the breath to move throughout that entire area of your body.  Expand the awareness even further: breathe in and allow the spaciousness to open from your diaphragm down through your hips and your legs to your ankles and your feet, down to the soles of your feet and tips of your toe-nails.  Breathe out and allow the breath to move throughout the entire lower half of your body.
    Once you’ve established your breath in the lower half of your body, bring it up into your torso.  Breathe in and allow the spaciousness of the breath to expand from the tips of your toes up through your diaphragm and into your chest and back, up to your shoulders.  Breathe out and allow the breath to move throughout that entire area of your body.  Then breathe in and allow the expansion of the breath to occur from the tips of the toes all the way up to the top of the head and down your arms and into your hands.  Breathe out and allow the breath to move throughout your entire body.  With each breath, let the spaciousness expand more and more, let your being expand from the inside.  Keep your focus on your breath and the center of your attention on your the area at your diaphragm.  If you lose your focus, come back to your breath at your diaphragm and re-establish your awareness in the spaciousness of your breath.  Once you’ve started it, you don’t lose it.
    Grounding the Breath in the Body
    Your next step is to create a grounding cord through visualization.  Please don’t worry if you can’t “see” it; simply by putting your attention on creating it, you will manifest the grounding cord.  You may feel it more than you see it.  If you can feel the grounding cord holding your attention in your body and pulling you toward the earth, you are in very good shape.
    Create a column of golden light starting at the inside of the top of your head.  Bring it down through your neck, your torso and your abdomen and down to your hips.  Let the cord divide into three parts: bring one half down each of your legs, out the soles of your feet and into the ground, and the third down from your tailbone into the earth.  Let that grounding cord go deeply into the earth, through the dirt and the rocks and into the molten core at the center of the planet.  
    Then allow the earth’s energy to come up through the grounding cords in your legs.  When it gets to your hips, direct the energy back toward your tailbone, and let it descend from the grounding cord back down into the earth.  This will establish an earth-energy flow to keep you solidly present.  The grounding cord from the top of the head down to the earth-energy flow will help keep your attention, and your being, in your body.
    Once you have learned how to bring your breath into your body and ground your breath in your body while you’re doing sitting meditation, you will be able to do it any time, anywhere.  After a few weeks of doing this practice daily at the beginning of your sitting meditation sessions, you will become so adept at it that you will be able to bring your breath completely into your body in one or two breaths and ground your breath in your body in one or two more.   
    This is a fundamental practice.  I’ve been teaching it as part of both my beginners’ and advanced classes for several years and my students uniformly tell me how much better, more settled, more calm and unshakable they feel after doing it.  Doing it during sitting meditation is just the beginning.  I strongly recommend you try it when you get into your car: get seated, put your key in the ignition and start your car, and then give your car about 30 seconds to a minute to warm up and bring your breath into your body and ground your breath in your body.  You will be more attentive and aware as you drive because you’ll be more grounded.  At first, you may want to do this with your eyes closed, but if you do this practice regularly and diligently, you will be able to do with with your eyes open, no problem.   Then you can try doing it when you sit down to eat, either at home or out, or while you’re standing in line somewhere, or when you arrive at work and settle in for the day.  No matter what the occasion, bringing your breath into your body and grounding your breath in your body is easy and quick to do and will help you tremendously.
(Excerpt from Chapter 6)
I don’t know when I first experienced what I call the collective consciousness.  As is normal for me, there was no one dramatic incident, but rather a slow settling that eventually revealed a different reality.  I can best describe that new reality as a realization that the consciousness I experience is not only mine: it is both mine and is much larger than that.  I began noticing that when I was upset with some quality in myself, I saw the same thing in other people.  After awhile, this became routine.  I visited a science and natural history museum where I saw a polar bear skull, and immediately I experienced viscerally in my consciousness being that huge mammal on the ice, catching a fish with my claws and then pawing at the sky when a loud metal object — my human mind knew it as an airplane — flew overhead.  The things I saw and heard, all of these sensations I knew as a deep reality inside myself, did not belong to “me”.  Where they exist and where “I” exist, and where everyone and everything exists, is all the same.  The sound of a car going by, even my perception of it, no more belongs to me than it does to the person driving that car or to the tires flying on the asphalt.  I have no ownership of these things; they and I are part of something else.  They are mine and not mine; the substance of my own consciousness is mine and its elements are everyone’s, all at once. 
I began doing meditations to develop compassion by letting myself inhabit the consciousness of people with whom I had a difficult time. These practices were an extension of the lovingkindness or “metta” meditations I describe in chapter 9 of “Beginning Mindfulness.”  .  .  .  These meditations had the effect I intended, of allowing me to experience as a reality that the feelings and mental formations other people hold in their consciousnesses are in fact in mine as well, and of opening my compassion to those feelings in myself and to them as well.   They also had the effect of opening my consciousness beyond the confines of “I” “me” “mine”; I began to experience that all these feelings are universal, as are many of the mental formations that they create.  .  .  .  
This world we live in is the creation of our common consciousness.  Every aspect of it, from the ones we love like the beautiful sunset to the ones we abhor like the ethnic cleansing in Somalia, is the created, manifested result of different aspects of our common consciousness.  Ethnic cleansing, whether it occurs in Somalia, Yogoslavia, Tibet or Nazi Germany is the inevitable consequence of deeply held fear of those who are different from ourselves; so are the resulting mental formations which tells us that only we know the real truth, only we are truly pure, and those “other people” deserve to be slaughtered and tortured.  Look deeply into yourself and see whether that fear of the “other” lives in you; unless you have worked with it already, I have no doubt that you will find it deep inside, whether you have ever acted on it or not.  
The inevitable karmic conclusion, the result of cause and effect, is simple: we will continue to have ethnic cleansing so long as those mental formations about the “other” play a dominant role in the collective consciousness.  Once that settles in, you will begin to see what a big and powerful undertaking it is to work on changing the collective consciousness.  The more of us who hold a different point of view, who see the fear of the “other” as an opportunity to work toward peace and understanding, the more likely those old mental formations are to give way.  
We play out our collective karma on the stage of this planet and this universe.  The karma each of us embodies is both a piece of our collective karma, the result of our collective consciousness, and our own individual karma, the result of our individual actions.  If we have a common consciousness of scarcity, of rich and poor, then for each person playing out the manifestation of surfeit there is someone playing out the manifestation of lack.  And it just may be that the person playing out the manifestation of lack is doing so, not because she did something awful in this lifetime or a former one which would mean she “deserved” to be poor, but because she is a great being who has taken on this manifestation out of her compassion and love so we can see how degrading and destructive poverty is.  When we delve deeply into our collective consciousness, we can see how many beings have sacrificed themselves, lifetime after lifetime, in their effort to change our collective consciousness by showing us the consequences of our collective karma and trying to awaken our compassion.  We can listen to them.  The Cambodian Buddhist monk Maha Ghosandanda wrote a prayer for world peace which begins, “The suffering of Cambodia has been deep.  From this suffering arises Great Compassion.”   We have the opportunity to harness this great compassion and change that deep suffering by changing our consciousness.
* * * * * * * * * * * *
One way each of us manifests our karma is through a series of karmic agreements.  These are “contracts” through which we play out our relationships with all the significant people in our lives.  We call these “karmic” agreements because they are both the products and the progenitors of cause and effect.   .  .  .  
Karmic agreements are built from emotions and their resulting mental formations.  The emotions create the cords which bind the contract; the mental formations create the terms of agreement.  We have karmic agreements with every significant person in our lives.  Sometimes the terms of these agreements are beneficial to us; sometimes the terms are harmful; most often, they are mixed.  We do not have to live with the terms of these agreements, however.  We can change them.  We can keep the useful terms and change the harmful ones.  We can even declare a karmic agreement null and void if it has served its purpose or is inherently abusive and destructive.  If we want to change the relationship, we must change the agreement.
The best place to start is with the agreements we have with our parents, spouses, siblings and children.  These are the most powerful and the toughest to acknowledge.  Our agreements with our parents in particular form the basis of our  other relationships.
Parent and children karmic agreements are the easiest to understand because there can’t be any doubt about causation: it’s right there in our bodies.  You will sometimes hear people say things like, “My relationship with my mother is all screwed up because I was her father in a past life and she still resents me.”  You can be forgiven if you raise an eyebrow when you hear this; it does sound like an excuse for some uncomfortable feelings.  If you are skeptical about other lifetimes, I remind you of my teacher Eleanore Moore’s comment: “What a great imagination you have!”  If you are someone who accepts other lifetimes as a reality, you should realize that any relationship you had with anyone in another lifetime will be reinforced and laid down by circumstances in this lifetime as well.  We have to deal with these relationships in this lifetime, in the here and now.  Only in this way can they be transformed.  
Step One: Become aware of the karmic agreement.  Sit down with a pad of paper and write out all of the terms you can think of.  For example, you might have a relationship with your father in which one or both of you assume that you are responsible for caring for him in his old age.  That is a term or condition of your karmic agreement.  Some of the terms can be light and fun; for example, my relationship with Avril has a term that I will make tea for her every morning.  That term I am happy to fulfill.  Another term, such as one saying that you will engage in sexual relations with your uncle whenever he wants, are more serious and dangerous.  You can, and should, desire to change those terms to remove the sexual abuse.
Step Two: Look at the terms of the karmic agreement and find the ones you want to change.  Take another sheet of paper and start writing a new karmic agreement containing only those terms which you want to see there.  Try to keep the terms simple and specific.  To continue our example, you might rewrite the terms with your father to say “My father and I are both self-sufficient and mutually respectful,” or, “If my father asks for my help, I am not obliged to do what he asks.”  Both of these terms create a situation where you can respond to your father out of love rather than obligation.
In some cases you may want to end the relationship.  If your uncle was sexually abusing you, you might want to write a new agreement which says, “My uncle and I have no relationship with each other.  Our prior karmic agreement is null and void.  All of our karma is clear and balanced.”
Step Three: To complete the transformation of your karmic agreement, it’s important to do a ceremony which symbolizes the change.  Burning the old contract is symbolic of its dissolution: the contract is converted into smoke and ash, the smoke floating away on the wind and the ash returning to the earth.  Burning a copy of the new contract is a form of prayer for help and support in enacting the new agreement and not stumbling back into the old one.  Remember to make a copy of the new agreement, thought; you will want to re-read it.
When I burn my karmic agreements, I go into our garden and dig a hole in the ground (during the wintertime up north, I’d use a large flower-pot on our 3-season porch).  I place the agreement in the hole and set it ablaze, and as it burns I say to myself, “This old agreement is completed; it has no further effect on my life.”  I then burn the new one in the same way and say to myself, “This is my new agreement.  May it work to the benefit of all of us.”  Then I cover the ashes over with dirt and tamp it down.
Step Four:  A week later, take out the new karmic agreement and review it.  See whether you’ve been able to stick to the new terms or whether you’ve unconsciously (or, perhaps, consciously) renewed the terms of the old one.  If you are happy with the new agreement and all is going well, put the agreement away.  If you need to make changes, treat that agreement as another old one and repeat steps one through three.  Do this as many times as is necessary to complete the transformation of the relationship.
All excerpts from "Beginning Mindfulness" are copyright 2004 by Andrew Weiss, and all excerpts from "Crossing The Divide" are copyright 2008 by Andrew Weiss, with all rights reserved.  They may not be reproduced, in whole or in part, stored in a retrieval system or transmitted in any form or by any means, whether electronic, mechanical or otherwise, without written permission from the publisher (for "Beginning Mindfulness") or the author (for "Crossing The Divide").
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Beginning Mindfulness