Mindfulness is not a thought process, interpretation, or evaluation. It is instead, an open-minded state which does not anticipate the future or embrace the past. Anything can be done using mindfulness. A phone conversation, driving, or even studying can be integrated into the practice of mindfulness.
At intervals throughout the day, reflectively pause and allow yourself to seek an awareness of where you are, what you are doing, and how you are feeling. Do this in such a way that it doesn’t force you to discern your experience. For example, if you notice you are anxious, don’t think “Oh, I’m anxious, that’s foolish of me…” Simply record that you are feeling anxious without evaluating whether the emotion or feeling is good or bad. Just notice that the anxiety is present.
When mindfulness is utilized as your primary mode of meditation,it will allow a deeper awareness of those things we take for granted, such as the rhythm of our breath or the pace of a walk. Allow your mind to expand so that it includes both the physical and mental processes of the day.
A common misconception of meditators is that they have the ability to stop all thought and rest the mind as if it were a blank slate. A common complaint of novice meditators is that they have a difficult time finding quiet within because they cannot prevent thoughts from infiltrating their mind. In reality, having thoughts is perfectly normal. In fact, it’s what’s supposed to happen.
Dealing with thoughts is how mindfulness meditation works. When you notice that you are distracted by a thought, use mindfulness to gently bring your focus back to the object of your process. In doing so, you slowly become able to control your mind and increase your powers of concentration.
There are many forms of meditation – and many distinct methods of practice! The most productive way to learn meditation is to find a local teacher (guru) or group to work with. Yoga centers, athletic clubs, senior centers and houses of worship offer some type of instruction. You may also wish to ask your health care professional. Be patient, a good instructor is worth the time and energy involved in the search.
Instructions for Mindfulness Meditation Practice
Begin by sitting in a chair or on a meditation cushion with your back straight. Relax your sitting posture with a few deep breaths. Allow the body and mind to become totally relaxed while still remaining alert and attentive to the present. Feel areas of your body that are tense and areas that seem relaxed. Allow the body follow its own natural flow. Do not try to force or fix anything. Let your mind be still and quiet, while simultaneously allowing a spacial awareness to wash gently over you.
Simply feel the sensation of sitting, bypassing the minds desire to interpret, define or think about what sitting looks like. Allow such thoughts to come and go without being vexed by them, and simply tune your thoughts to the simple sensation of sitting. Feel your body with a consciousness that arises from within not from your head. Awareness of the body anchors your attention to the present moment. Gently motion this awareness throughout your body, feeling sensations without an agenda or goal. Allow a sense of total awareness by just staying mindful of these sensations.
After some time, allow your awareness to expand into the realm of sound. This awareness of sound will create an openness, spaciousness, and receptivity in the mind. Be aware of both sound reverberations as well as the space or silence between the sounds. As with body sensations, move your awareness away from the definition of the sound, and simply allow the sound to be what it is.
After several minutes both body sensations and internal and external sounds, to help focus your attention on the breathing process. Locate the space where the breath is most clear and allow your yourself to gently rest there. For some it is the sensation of the rising and falling of the abdomen. For others it may be the sensations experienced through the nostrils while inhalating or exhalating. Feel the full breath cycle from beginning to the end. The awareness you experience will create a deepening ability to listen and be more attentive to the actual texture, shape, and form of each sensation.
Let go of everything, or at least allow it to fall into the background. Allow each breath to breathe unto itself. Rest into a space of total relaxation with the sensation of each passing breath. As soon as you notice the mind wandering off, be cognizant of it with a non-intrusive awareness, gently allowing it to be your anchor. Just allow yourself to feel !
As you bring the exercise to a close, do not anticipate or pounce on the thought of being finished, but instead allow your self back into the present, reflecting back to what was or reflecting on what just happened, keeping your focus totally in the present moment. Stay focused on your breathing, one breath at a time. Mindfulness of breath begins to collect and concentrate the mind so that the distraction of thoughts, emotions, sensations, and sounds soon become objects of awareness themselves. Insight is gained into the true nature of the body and mind.
As your ability to concentrate grows, mindfulness opens you to the entire mind /body experience via the senses (sight, sound, smell, taste, touch and the mental/emotive). Seeing things simply as they are begins to untangle the web of attachment, fear, and confusion that grips us on our daily journey. Through Mindfulness, one is able to live more freely from a place of joy, compassion, equanimity and wisdom.
Related articles and Videos:
- Mindfulness Meditation (hofholistichealingcenters.wordpress.com)
- Reduce Pain With Mindfulness Meditation (fitsugar.com)
- 6 Benefits of Practicing Mindfulness Outside of Meditation (psychologytoday.com)