Mindful meditation is increasingly popular these days, but how to do it can seem elusive and downright confusing. Many believe that in order to “do it right” you must rid yourself of all thoughts. The reality is, we are thinking beings, and if you are conscious, you will have thoughts.
The key to mindful meditation is to acknowledge any thoughts, feelings, or sensations that arise during your meditation period, and gently let them go, returning your awareness to your breath.
Below are the basic steps to mindful meditation.
- Find a quiet place where you won’t be distracted.
- Sit in an upright, but comfortable position, this will help you stay alert and to breath properly. It doesn’t matter what you sit on, it can be a cushion on the floor, the floor, a chair, the front seat of your car, etc.
- Close your eyes or gaze softly downward and turn your focus toward your breathing. Breath comfortably and naturally from your diaphragm and up through your lungs, and simply notice how the breath feels as you inhale and as you exhale. Continue to focus on your breathing.
- As thoughts, feelings, or sensations arise, as they will, simply notice them and return your awareness to your breath. Sometimes it is helpful to label what is happening as a way of acknowledging and then letting go. If you are having thoughts, simply silently state, “I’m having a thought about xyz.” Then return to your breath. If you are having a feeling, simply silently state, “I’m feeling xyz,” and return to your breath.
That's all there is too it! Depak Chopra says, “If you have the intention, make the time, and attempt to meditate, then you are doing it right!”
If you are new to meditation, begin with a few practice periods of five to ten minutes each day. As you become more experienced, you can expand your meditations to what is best for you, but a good aim is for 20 to 30 minutes per day. Regardless of how short or how long, every practice period counts!
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