Mindfulness Practices

 

mindfulnessMindfulness is being fully present to all that occurs. It is not necessarily easy. We have been trained in our culture to be captivated and fixated on the past and future. Mindfulness means being more in-touch with yourself, what you are doing, how you are feeling and how you respond to life. As we become more mindful, pulling ourselves out of  dullness and daze, we become more in touch with everything and everyone. We also gain control in our responses to life. The great news is that mindfulness can be developed by anyone at any time. It may take practice to get comfortable with mindfulness techniques. If one method doesn’t work for you, try another. It doesn’t have to be thought of as a long arduous process. You can start now and benefit today.

Jon Kabat-Zinn is a well-known teacher of mindfulness meditation and the founder of the Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction program at the University of Massachusetts Medical Center. He defines mindfulness as “paying attention in a particular way; On purpose,
 in the present moment, and 
nonjudgmentally.”

“I am not speaking of some distant future in which, after years of striving, you would finally attain something, taste the timeless beauty of meditative awareness and all it offers, and ultimately lead a more effective, and satisfying and peaceful life. I am speaking of accessing the timeless in this very moment–because it is always right under our noses, and in doing so, to gain access to those dimensions of possibility that are presently hidden from us because we refuse to be present, because we are seduced, entrained, mesmerized, or frightened into the future and the past, carried along in the stream of events and the weather patterns of our own reactions and numbness, attending to, if not obsessing about what we unthinkingly dub ‘urgent’, while losing touch at the same time with what is actually important, supremely important, in fact vital for our own well-being, for our sanity, and for our very survival. We have made absorption in the future and in the past such an overriding habit that, much of the time, we have no awareness of the present moment at all. As a consequence, we may feel we have very little, if any, control over the ups and downs of our own lives.”

Try This Basic Mindfulness Meditation
1.  Sit up straight in a chair or with legs crossed on the floor.
2.  Center by focussing on your breathing. Notice the sensation of air as it’s coolness flows into your nostrils, down the back of the throat, into the chest and belly and then out of the mouth.
3.  After centering and narrowing your concentration, begin to expand your awareness, noticing sounds, sensations, and thoughts.
4. Notice each thought or sensation without judging it as being good or bad.
5. If your mind starts to wander, bring your focus back to the breath. Then expand your awareness again.