Surrounded by the latest technology that is designed to improve our lives but something is missing. We are forever advancing forward but what about the here and now. This very minute or has it become part of an endless string of things to do.
We begin our days with heavy to do lists.
Most mornings start with rushing around trying to get yourself or your family up and ready. Hurrying through breakfast, getting lunches ready, thinking about what to do for dinner, or preparing mentally for something at work. Going, going, going.
After a long challenging day our evenings often aren't much better. With dinner, chores, homework, classes etc, etc, etc. Always thinking ahead to what should be done next? What needs to be ready for tomorrow? No time for the here and now.
I feel stressed just writing all that.
The here and now gets lost in what's next.
This constant motion forward can be stressful. Too often things seem to be beyond our control. Perhaps what some of us need is a little slow down from time to time. Releasing the stress and bring your awareness to being alive in this moment.
Could Meditation Help You
Mindfulness meditation gives us the opportunity to do just that through an age old Buddhist practice involving awareness and observation.
Unlike concentration meditation where you bring your focus to an object, mindfulness meditation brings your awareness to a process like air being being inhaled.
The actual practice is quite simple.
The Basic Steps
Find a quiet spot. Be seated comfortably.
Take a moment to relax.
Rest your gaze slightly downward, not staring
As your sitting become aware of your breathing, don't try to change it, just observe your breathing. Are you more aware of your stomach going up and down with each breath or the feeling of the air through your nostrils? Choose one and go with that. Bring your awareness to that. There is no right way or wrong way, just breath.
Try counting your breaths. Count to ten and start over. Air coming in and making your stomach rise, the slight hesitation and then the air going out, that's one and so on. If you go over ten your mind may have wandered.
If your mind wanders and it probably will just be aware that you are thinking, no judgements. It just happens. Bring your awareness back to your breathing and start again.
Try this for ten minutes. Even a few minutes of this type of awareness can help calm you down during a stressful situation by helping you focus on the moment and your breathing and off the situation at hand.
It's easy but meditation takes practice. You can experience it yourself with this guided session.
Bringing Mindfulness To Your Day
Mindfulness meditation can involve more than just focusing on the breath. Awareness of how your body is feeling, or what emotions you are feeling and labeling them have been found to be very helpful.
A report on Live Science reveals that brain scans have shown that when negative emotions are recognized and named and then let go, it helps to calm us. You can read this report yourself at Live Science.
Remaining mindful, present and aware is something that can be done throughout the day along with mindfulness meditation.
Take something you do during the day and bring your awareness to it. As you are showering or washing the dishes or doing the laundry become aware of your breath, be in the moment. If your mind wanders, that's OK just bring it back to your breathing.
More Ideas For Mindfulness Meditation
Visit Jon Kabat Zinn's website for much more information along with guided tapes and best-selling books.
I particularly enjoyed the information found on the
Shambhala website, where you can find videos, listen to talks and learn so much more about meditation and what it can bring to our lives.
The Osho website offers all kinds of meditations and music to help us live mindfully but also suggestions for mindfulness meditation techniques for busy people.
As we bring more awareness in to our life, it may be possible to see some of the things we do that cause us stress and make changes to control our response. Give mindfulness meditation a chance.