Mindfulness meditation is moment to moment awareness. It is being fully awake. It involves being here for the moments of our lives, without striving or judging. Mindfulness involves a formal practice and an informal practice. In formal practice we take time for sitting meditation or mindful movement practices like walking meditation or yoga or chi gong. Informal practice is a way of life in which we meditate as we do what we do. It involves being present in the moments of our lives. Mindfulness meditation is a formal practice of mindfulness or of being mindful. It helps teach us to live in the present moment.
Create a Favorable Environment
- Many experts in mindfulness meditation agree that you should meditate in a place that is not too noisy or disturbing, and you should not be in a situation where your mind is going to be easily provoked into anger or jealousy or other emotions.
- If you are disturbed or irritated, then your practice is going to be affected.
- It is good if the place where you meditate, even if it’s only a small space in your apartment, has a feeling of positivity and sacredness
Beginning the Practice
- It is best to meditate frequently but for short periods of time—10, 15, or 20 minutes, instead of not often but for long periods of time.
- If you force meditation the practice can take on too much of a personality, and training the mind should be very, very simple. So you could meditate for ten minutes in the morning and ten minutes in the evening, and then you just stop, get up, and go.
- In mindfulness meditation we have to create a personal sense of discipline.
- When we sit down, we can remind ourselves: “I’m here to work on my mind. I’m here to train my mind.”
- The Buddhist approach is that the mind and body are connected. The energy flows better when the body is erect, and when it’s bent, the flow is changed and that directly affects your thought process.
- The basic principle is to keep an upright, erect posture.
- You are in a solid situation: your shoulders are level, your hips are level, and your spine is stacked up.
- You can visualize putting your bones in the right order and letting your flesh hang off that structure.
- The practice is very precise: you should be very much awake even though you are calm. If you find yourself getting dull or hazy or falling asleep, you should check your posture.
- For strict mindfulness practice, the gaze should be downward focusing a couple of inches in front of your nose.
- The eyes are open but not staring; your gaze is soft.
- It’s as if you had an overhead light shining over the whole room, and all of a sudden you focus it down right in front of you.
- You are purposefully ignoring what is going on around you.
- Using breath as the object of meditation is particularly helpful because it relaxes us.
- As you start the practice, you have a sense of your body and a sense of where you are, and then you begin to notice the breathing.
- The breath should not be forced. You are breathing naturally, as you would any other time. Simply be aware of how you are breathing without changing it.
- The breath is going in and out, in and out. With each breath you become more relaxed.
- Focusing on your breathing not only helps you relax, but also helps you focus and clear your mind so you can get into a deeper stage of meditation.
- No matter what kind of thought comes up, you should say to yourself, “That may be a really important issue in my life, but right now is not the time to think about it. Now I’m practicing meditation.”
- Everyone gets lost in thought sometimes. You might think, “I can’t believe I got so absorbed in something like that,” but try not to make it too personal and beat yourself up over it. Just try to be as unbiased as possible.
- The mind will be wild and we have to recognize that. We can’t push ourselves. Getting lost in a thought sometimes is very normal and is a part of the process of mindfulness meditation.
- When we notice that we have been lost in thought, we mentally label it “thinking”—gently and without judgment—and we come back to focusing on our breath.
- It helps many people to view our random thoughts that may come up in the process of meditating as clouds that come into and out of our consciousness.
- Watch the thought cloud pass you by in the sky instead of it being a part of you.
- After that, return to focusing on your breathing and clearing your mind.
Below is a link to a good YouTube video by Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) founder Dr. John Kabat-Zinn speaking about mindfulness meditation. There is also a short guided meditation for you to start with if you wish.
By: The Greek Guru Guy