“To understand the immeasurable, the mind must be extraordinarily quiet, still.” – Jiddu Krishnamurti
Mindfulness is a simple form of meditation that was little known in the West until recently.
According to one of the American Masters of Meditation, Jon Kabat-Zinn, Mindfulness is the act of purposely paying attention, while not making any judgment on the present moment. By doing so, you would get to experience the moment for what it is.
When you practice Mindfulness, you don’t replay the past in your head. You do not concentrate on what already happened, but rather on what’s in the moment, and the beautiful things that could happen next.
When Can You Practice Mindfulness?
Any time during the day! Mindfulness is something that you can practice all throughout your day. You can do it while eating—by observing tastes and smells of what you’re eating, while working or doing daily tasks, listening to music or the sounds around you, and also when you’re trying to understand what’s going on with your body.
In other words, it’s easy to add Mindfulness in your day—which also means that you actually have lots of chances for changing your life for the better!
Why You Need to Practice Mindfulness?
Mindfulness could bring forth a lot of positive benefits in your life, such as the following:
It’s the world’s best painkiller.
There are so many painkillers available today. The problem, though, is that when they are used too much, they become dangerous for the patient.
However, a study done in 2005 showed that the effects of meditation are actually 40% better than the effects of morphine. It calms some of the cortices of the brain, making it easy for you to feel better, and deal with whatever is going on in your life.
It helps you rest.
Studies show that people who meditate get more “rested” than people who only get some sleep. When you meditate, you really get to put your brain on “rest” mode—and when you are done meditating, you become more alert—which means that the resting period actually worked!
It keeps you safe from diseases.
The progression of diseases such as cancer or HIV could be slowed down—all thanks to meditation! This is because it slows down the lymphocyte contents of the brain and the body—altering it to just around 48 “volunteers”. It’s then safe to say that mindfulness or meditation is not just good for the brain, it’s great for the body, too.
It keeps you young.
Mindfulness lengthens the telomeres, also known as gray matter, in the brain. These have a lot to do with the anti-aging process. When your telomeres are lengthy, it means that you won’t suffer from early aging problems—and of course, this is something you most-likely want to happen in your life.
The 5 Strategies:
1. Start with Vipassana:
Mindfulness starts with Vipassana, a kind of meditative practice that’s all about clearing your insights—making them better, and helping them to realize that there really is more to life than just what you think there is.
You can do this type of mindfulness by focusing on your breath at all moments of the process. Sit down on a cushion or somewhere comfortable for you to sit while doing this, and watch the way your abdomen rises and falls as you breathe. Sit down and tell yourself that at this moment, you are going to work for the improvement of your mind.
Look down just a couple of inches from your nose. Make sure that you don’t get distracted by looking at other things. Just relax and breathe. Don’t think about anything else, and focus only on your breathing patterns. Imagine how each breath flows throughout each part of your body. If any thought comes up, just tell yourself to stop thinking about it because it does not belong at this moment.
2. Be Mindful of Your Body:
You should also learn to apply mindfulness not only in your mind but also in your body. This means that you’ll now be able to easily feel and understand the shifting of various sensations in your body.
Take note that internal stimuli are responsible for the changes of sensations in your body, which means that they probably have been triggered by certain things that are going on around you. However, you must not focus on the pain, or on the trigger, but on the feeling brought upon by the sensation, and on the sensation itself. This means that you should understand that:
A sensation often arises and it may stay for some time, but eventually, it will pass within the world of awareness.
Feelings associated with those different kinds of sensations also arise, and then pass into awareness.
- Emotions, states, and thoughts of the mind arise and stay with these sensations, and eventually they leave.
To practice, you can try doing the following:
Lie down or sit down comfortably. Stay in a warm, quiet place, and then gently close your eyes. Get in touch with your breathing and the different kinds of sensations in your body. For example, notice how you feel as your body touches the bed, the mat, or the floor as you sit down.
Remind yourself that you have to bring sensation to each experience, and that you have to focus on each part of your body for a time.
3. Focus on the Moment:
The problem lies in the fact that you forget to stay in the present. Your mind swings back and forth from the past to the future in a way that you forget to live in the moment, and concentrate on what you have now—right at this moment. This is unfortunately one of the biggest problems of the modern human being – we are everywhere, but the present moment.
What you have to keep in mind is that time is an illusion of your ego. Sometimes, you fail to realize that the semblance of time only diverts you from the present moment. When you focus on the present moment, your “ego” would not exist.
By living in the present, you would realize that you actually have so much more to look forward to! Life suddenly will seem so large and eternal.
4. Heart and Mind in One:
You also have to make sure that there gets to be harmony between your mind and heart. More often than not, in order to move forward in your life, you have to forgive not only others, but mostly yourself.
You see, when you have so much hate or anger in your heart, you tend to be blindsided. You don’t enjoy life in full because you’re so focused on what’s wrong with your life, or with the world. When you forgive, you prevent your life from being a mere nightmare, and you get to turn it into a dream. When you forgive, you get to transcend the negative things in life with the power of your soul.
Remember that you are always in your heart, more than you are in the matrix. The universal vacuum first notices the heart’s electromagnetic field before anything else. Whatever you decide resonates with your heart—so choose wisely. Think of someone or something that you know you love unconditionally, and focus on that connection. Notice what you feel as you think of the connection, and let yourself get lost init. When you know that you can love unconditionally, you know you are not someone who’s fazed with the superficiality of the world.
5. Be Mindful Inside and Out:
You know what’s a common problem with most people? They fail to realize that they are not alone.
As a person, you’re probably programmed to think that life is not good without friends, or without the company of other people, when in fact, the first relationship you have to nurture is the one you have with yourself.
Try to observe yourself for a few seconds and you’ll notice that it’s as if there’s a monologue going on in your mind. This monologue goes on up until the time you go to bed, and that’s why they say that you only have to think happy thoughts before going to bed so that those thoughts would be the first one’s you’d invoke when you wake up the following morning.
Try the exercise below to be able to create positive self-talk for yourself.
- For five minutes, do nothing but observe what’s going on in your head. It does sound crazy, but hey, those 5 minutes could do a lot for your psyche!
- After minutes of observation, write down what you have been thinking or telling yourself. Write even about the bad things, and next to them, write about what you can tell yourself—instead of focusing on the negative stuff.
- Write about limitations. (e.g., I’ll never visit Japan because I’m afraid of flying, I’ll never eat nuts, I’ll always stay where I am, etc.) Read them. Once you do, you’ll surely realize how limiting they are—and in that moment, you’ll see that you actually want to do more than what you’re limiting yourself to.
- Write affirmations that can remind yourself to feel and do better! Remember that whatever you hear in the outside world may not always be true. You can let go of whatever you picked up in passing. When you make way for positive self-talk, you get to control your subconscious, and in turn, you get to master your own mind, too.
Source: Mindfulness: Beginner’s Meditation Guide to a Life Free of Stress and Anxiety: A Road to Attaining Inner Peace, Harmony, and Happiness by Joseph Gibbins.