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Mindfulness Meditation

Mindfulness is natural quality that we all posses. It’s available to us in every moment if we take the time to appreciate it. When we practice mindfulness, we’re practicing the art of creating space for ourselves – space between us and our reactions.

Mindfulness

Here are a few things to consider before you begin:

  • You can practice everywhere. There’s no need to go out and buy a special cushion or bench – just devote some time and space each day to access your mindfulness skills.
  • There’s no way to stop our thoughts. What? But isn’t that what you always hear about meditation? Well yes, it is, but no, that’s not the goal. And it’s not really possible, anyway. And there’s no bliss state or otherworldly communion, either. All you’re trying to do is pay attention to the present moment, without judgement.
  • Your mind will wander. As you practice paying attention to what’s going on in your body and mind, thoughts arise. Perhaps dozens of thoughts, maybe even hundreds. Your mind might drift to something that happened yesterday, meander to your to-do list – it will try to be anywhere but where you are. But the wandering mind isn’t something to fear; it’s part of human nature. It also provides the magic moment for the first essential piece of mindfulness practice, the piece that we believe leads to healthier, more agile brains; the moment when you recognize that your mind has wandered. Because if you can notice this, then you can consciously bring your mind back to the present moment. The more you do it, the easier it is.
  • You judgy brain will try to take over. The second important piece in mindfulness is the “without judgement” part. We’re all guilty of listening to the critic in our heads more than we should. But, when you practice investigating your judgements and defusing them, you learn to choose how you look at things and react to them. When you practice mindfulness, try not to judge yourself for whatever thoughts pop up. Notice judgement arise, make a mental note of them (some people label them “thinking”), and let them pass.
  • It’s all about returning your attention, again and again. It seems like the mind is wired to get carried away in thoughts. That’s why we use the sensation of breathing as an anchor to the present moment. And every time you return to do it again. Call it a bicep curl for your brain.

While mindfulness might seem simple, it’s not neccesary all that easy. The real work is to make time every day to just keep doing it!

How to Meditate

Meditation 1

Take a seat. Find a place to sit that feels calm and quiet to you.

Set a time limit. If you’re just beginning, it can help to choose a short time, such as 5 or 10 minutes.

Noticing your body. You can sit in a chair with your feet on the floor. you can sit loosely cross-legged, in Lotus Pose, you can kneel – all are just fine. Just make sure you are stable and in a position you can stay in for a while.

Feel your breath. Follow the sensation of your breath as it goes in and as it goes out.

Noticing when your mind has wandered. Inevitably, your attention will leave the breath and wander to other places. When you get around to noticing this – in a few seconds, a minute, five minutes – simply return your attention to the breath.

Be kind to your wandering mind. Don’t judge yourself or obsess over the content of the thoughts  you find yourself lost in. Just come back.

That’s it! That’s the practice. You go away, you come back, and you try to do it as kindly as possible.

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