Are you one of those people that heard about all the benefits of forming a regular meditation practice and would love to give it a try, but can’t manage to squeeze one more thing into their daily life? Mindfulness meditation is your answer, and it’s a great way to start a meditation practice because it is so easy to learn and do! In this last blog post on meditation, you will learn that mindfulness meditation is the most valuable tool for quieting the mind and reducing stress.
Over the years, spiritual gurus have taken the concept of mindfulness and created what we call mindfulness meditation. When being “mindful,” you have focused awareness in each moment. For example, when you are taking a test in school or conducting a speech, you are being mindful because you need to focus all your attention on the task at hand. We are lucky that most of our day is not involved in heavy concentration. Our “free mind” is where we can create and manifest, but most unknowingly use it to worry or dwell on unbeneficial thoughts. You can tell yourself to be more mindful, but it’s amazing that it doesn’t last long before we start drifting again to the past or future. To maintain a “mindful” state for a long period of time, requires an intention to stay focused, and this is really the foundation of mindfulness meditation.
A perfect time to start cultivating mindfulness meditation is when we are feeling stressed, rushed, worried or depressed. Like other meditations, it gives you all the benefits that come with quieting the mind. Mindfulness meditation can be done during any task that doesn’t require focused concentration. Start with picking a small task that you do each day that doesn’t require concentration. Brushing your teeth is an excellent way to learn mindfulness meditation because it’s first thing in the morning and for a small amount of time. It is in the morning when our mind gets busy thinking of all we have to do. Take my suggestion and start here, then move on to longer forms of mindfulness meditation in your day.
Here is an example of how to do a mindfulness meditation while brushing your teeth. As with any meditation, you need a start time and finish time, because you don’t want to have to “think” about the time. With this exercise, we are going to establish our start time when we put the toothpaste on our toothbrush, and the end time will be when we wipe our month after spitting. Now let’s try to not think but simply do the task with no judgments. The trick is to “feel” and observe but with very little thought. Focus on how brushing feels and the task of brushing. If you catch yourself drifting in thought about something else, then without judgment simply go back to focused awareness on brushing. It is a very simple exercise to do, but at first, it will be challenging because this is the start of training your thoughts to stay focused!
As you know, there are many things we do in a day where our mind easily drifts. Using mindfulness meditation can be extremely helpful to clear the clutter from our mind. The more you practice being mindful from a start to stop meditation, then the more you are committing to reducing any form of anxiety. This type of meditation can be the most beneficial because anyone can make time for this if they are committed. Just being mindful takes you out of suffering, it brings you peace, and you will be amazed at how fast time passes when in a state of just “being” without judgment!
Let’s look at the opportunities during your day to practice mindfulness meditation:
- Anytime you are eating a meal and by yourself.
- While commuting to and from work. (Perhaps you will remember your drive!)
- While doing basic chores around the house like vacuuming, dusting, laundry or folding clothes.
- While working on projects or crafts like painting or art.
- Showering or bathing.
- This can be done while on the job if your work is task oriented and doesn’t require a lot of concentration.
I would like to recap the different meditations covered in this three-part series. The first blog talked about authentic meditation and you learned how to meditate like a Buddhist. The second blog gave you examples of how meditation changed over time to be what I call westernized meditation. Now, you have learned the very useful tool of mindfulness meditation. Please take the pieces of these articles and develop a good daily meditation practice. Remember a good meditation practice should consist of “quieting the mind” and setting an “intention” or some valued outcome.
Buddha was asked, “What have you gained from meditation?” He replied, “Nothing! However, let me tell you what I have lost: anger, anxiety, depression, insecurity, fear of old age and death.”
Susan J Witt