In today’s society, having even just a few moments to yourself can be quite a task. Then try to relax and simply let your mind float into that sea of peace and tranquility and you find it a near impossibility. So how can you calm that relentless pace of life that stifles your happiness, health and creativity? In this article, we’ll take a look at something called Mindfulness Meditation.
Derived today from an ancient Buddhist practice, mindfulness meditation has the quality to allow humans like us to learn how to use something which you already have, but are not aware of its existence. While it may sound like double-talk, it really isn’t. It helps to develop the skills of awareness or paying attention to both inner and outer experiences and doing so with compassion, patience and acceptance. It is learning that which we all have; about an awareness but not thinking about it, but experiencing it through the sensory world of our senses such as smelling, hearing, tasting and seeing.
Mindfulness allows us to be open-hearted, non-judgmental and becoming inviting in whatever should arise from our new awareness. By learning to practice mindfulness meditation, and being more aware of the moment to moment happenings of life, we can be more present within our own life and less on the emotional and irrational responses prevalent today.
There are several key people that come to mind when considering Mindfulness Meditation. Just to briefly name a few whose combined insights will be shared in the comments below are;
- Jon Kabat-Zinn, PhD – Founding Executive Director of the Center for Mindfulness in Medicine, Health Care and Society at the University of Massachusetts Medical School.
- Danny Penman – a noted writer and journalist who is also a qualified meditation teacher.
- Professor Mark Williams – One of the premier researchers in mindfulness meditation and a pioneer in its modern day development.
- Ronald D. Siegel, PsyD – Assistant Professor of Psychology at Harvard Medical School.
Each of these individuals have helped immensely to explore the many uses and techniques common to the use of mindfulness meditation today. It is their work and methods that have helped many to practice mindfulness meditation regularly. In turn, they have helped others to help themselves as now these individuals sense the many desirable changes to their lives such as a better sense of well-being, better concentration, less physical pain (including the relief of joint pains, back pains and more) and less emotional pain (including the symptoms of depression). Ongoing mindfulness meditation has been attributed to the prevention of a relapse in depression in many.
11 Tips for Mindfulness Meditation
- When beginning your meditation, find a quiet spot with few distractions, if any. If you are meditating to relax turn off the cell phone, the television and anything else that will serve as a distraction. One of the purposes here is to rid yourself of those stresses of everyday life to reduce your hypervigilence and negativity.
- Close your eyes and now concentrate on your breathing. Start with the inhalation through your nose and follow it through to the lungs. Fill up the lung and sense the movement as it fills then exhale and follow it out. Continue practicing this until you can sense the rise and fall of your lungs as the breath circulates.
- Now, tune your senses to something that you are either doing or feeling. Concentrate on that one thing and feel how it affects you. For instance, if you eating consider the taste, the smell, the texture, the color or anything else that you senses can discover. This will take your awareness to a different level.
- If you walking, begin by concentrating on your breathing as you walk then simply tune your senses to your stride. How does your weight shift from step to step? What feelings do you have with each step? What do you feel underneath your feet as you walk? Notice your legs as they move and carry your weight.
- Listen to your surroundings; nature, people, cars, noises. Try to single one out and notice just that noise and its characteristics. If you are listening to people; listen without judgment but with a completely open mind shunning any negative thought.
- Don’t be concerned if you mind wanders to another thought during meditation. Redirect it by simply going back to your breathing and then back to your subject before you wandered away. Each time you feel like wandering away, redirect yourself back. Stay in control.
- Do you tend to zone out? We all do it, but this is an excellent time to practice meditation by being more aware of those activities that zone us out. Select one and concentrate on it and embrace it with your senses.
- Don’t let your mind constantly judge things. Using openness, acceptance and curiosity we can develop better understanding by observing our experiences and meditating on them.
- Be at one with nature. Sounds rather cliché, but it is true. Go outside. Do your breathing then let your senses tune into where you are and what you are experiencing. Are you listening to the wind whispering in the trees, a distant bird, the babbling of a stream or brook, watching clouds drift by overhead or something else just a amazing? Discover the miracles of the environment and how it makes you feel.
- Appreciate you thoughts. You may not actually believe some of them, others may be real, but appreciate that you have them. Recognize them simply as that; thoughts.
- Don’t expect to spend all your time doing this. As you develop your meditations, you will find that it will come naturally more and more. Sometimes, your meditation is simply to be in existence and nothing more.
It would seem that Jon Kabat-Zinn realized the benefits of mindfulness meditation in the 1970s and has perfected it much throughout the years. His studies have included using meditation with patients with psoriasis, a painful disorder of the skin. The results noted that those who meditated while receiving their UV light treatments actually healed four times faster that the others who did not meditate.
As noted earlier, hypervigilance is a large problem associated with today’s prolonged stress that most of us live under. These stresses can include daily work life, family life, traffic jams, health issues, financial problems and many, many more. With all of this facing us on a daily basis, it can cause a deluge of negative emotions and put us at a higher risk for anxiety disorders and/or depression.
As we learn more about mindfulness meditations, we may find that it will help us to loose our negativity in life, make us feel better both physically and emotionally, and help us live a more balanced life at one with ourselves. If we are happier in our lives, we will also help others be happier in theirs. ‘What goes around, comes around’ and perhaps learning the art and techniques of mindfulness meditation is just what we need to survive this violent and stressful world we live in today.
About the Author
Katleen Brown is a health, beauty and fitness writer. She loves to publish her articles on various health related websites. In her spare time, likes to do research to bring awareness. Recognizing the unity of body, mind, and outlook, she helps empower women to tune into their innate & inner wisdom to transform their health and truly flourish. Get in touch with her on Google+, Pinterest and Twitter.