Mindfulness is the basic human ability to be fully present, aware of where we are and what we are doing, and not be overwhelmed by what’s going on around us.
While mindfulness is something we all naturally have, it is something we practice on a daily basis to help keep us grounded and aware. Whenever you bring awareness to what you’re directly experiencing via your senses, or to your state of mind via your thoughts and emotions, you are being mindful.
The goal of mindfulness is to wake up to the inner workings of our mental, emotional, and physical processes.
Meditation is exploring. When we meditate we venture into the workings of our minds: our sensations (air blowing on our skin or a harsh smell wafting into the room), our emotions (love this, hate that, crave this, loathe that) and thoughts (wouldn’t it be weird to see an elephant playing a trumpet).
Mindfulness meditation asks us to suspend judgment and unleash our natural curiosity about the workings of the mind, approaching our experience with warmth and kindness, to ourselves and others.
There is no wrong or right way to meditate, and it does not matter how long you meditate, where you meditate or in what body position you meditate. The only thing that does matter for meditation is that you take time to notice how you feel.
Try it out!
When you are done reading this, find a comfortable position. You can sit or lay down but should make sure your arms and shoulders are in a relaxed position.
We are going to focus on your natural inhaling and exhaling of breath. Focus on your breath. Where do you feel your breath most? In your belly? In your nose? Try to keep your attention on your inhale and exhale.
Follow your breath for two minutes. Take a deep inhale, expanding your belly, and then exhale slowly, elongating the out-breath as your belly contracts.
Try it out! Focus on your breathing in a relaxed position and then come back.
On a piece of paper answer the following questions on how the mini meditation and breathing exercise went.
- What happened?
- What did you notice about your breath?
- How long was it before your mind wandered away from your breath meaning after how long did you think of something else than breathing?
There is no right or wrong way to meditate and it is okay if you struggle to focus on your breathing and clearing your thoughts.The first rule of meditation is to accept whatever happens in your body and your mind and to not judge yourself.
Mindful meditation is a long process, but don’t worry as the more you practice the better you will get with time.
Try to take some time today to practice the same meditation again. See what changes each time you practice and reflect on those changes in your notebook.
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