30 Day Blogging Challenge (Day 2)
“Between stimulus and response, there is a space.
In that space lies our freedom and our power to choose our response.
In our response lies our growth and our happiness.”
There is no longer any doubt about the benefits of meditation. Scores of research papers have documented the positive effects of meditation on physical, mental, emotional and spiritual health.
However, among all diverse types of meditation practices, the most popular worldwide is mindfulness meditation.
What is mindfulness meditation?
Oxford Dictionaries Online defines mindfulness as a mental state achieved by focusing your awareness on the present moment, while calmly acknowledging and accepting your feelings, thoughts and bodily sensations, used as a therapeutic technique.
Founder of the Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction program, Dr. Jon Kabat-Zinn defines it more simply: “Mindfulness is paying attention in a particular way: on purpose, in the present moment, and non-judgmentally.”
So, being mindful means to be attentive to whatever is happening within you and around you.
How to practice mindfulness meditation
Imagine you’re sitting alone on the bank of a river, watching the river water flow past. All your attention is on the swiftly-flowing water without undue effort – your body and mind is relaxed and yet aware.
Sometimes, the flow of the water is fast; sometimes, it is sluggish. Sometimes, the river flow silently; sometimes, it rushes past noisily. And sometimes, it seems that the river isn’t flowing at all. And you witness all these different states of flow calmly, silently, effortlessly.
Similarly, during mindfulness meditation practice, we direct our attention to the flow of our incoming and outgoing breath.
Sometimes, the breath may be short or long or it may be rough or subtle or sometimes we cannot feel the breath at all. Our only work is to be a witness and to observe the breath as it passes in and out through our nostrils.
- When we breathe in, we are aware: “This is incoming breath.”
- When we breathe out, we are aware: “This is outgoing breath.”
This practice may seem simple and straightforward but, as you will discover, it’s the most difficult skill to develop. And the only way to understand mindfulness is to practice it yourself.
Don’t take my word for it. Try it yourself right now.
Set your timer or smartphone alarm to ring after two minutes.
Sit upright, close your eyes and breathe deeply five times.
Now allow your breath to become normal and witness your incoming and outgoing breath.
Continue until the alarm goes off.
Do this right now.
Congratulations, you have just practiced mindfulness meditation.
Did you observe your breath for two minutes?
If yes, what was your experience?
If no, why didn’t you try it?
Share with us in the comments below.