“The little things? The little moments? They aren’t little.” – Jon Kabat-Zinn
What is Mindful meditation?
Mindful meditation is a way of escaping the echo chamber of the mind and allowing oneself to simply exist. Mindful meditation can be manifested in many forms. When people think of meditating, most would think of a monk in a monastery or someone sitting criss cross on the floor with their palms facing up. These are both examples of meditative states, but are not the only ways to mindfully meditate.
Everyone is different
One form of mindful meditation may work great for some and not so great for others. That is why meditation is an artform, not a science. It is not something to be learned completely, but to be practiced throughout a lifetime to achieve a better self. The key to understanding meditation is to first understand there will be mistakes made along the way, but that those mistakes are part of the process. Mistakes are proof that we are all human and understanding we are human is the first step in successfully tapping into a mindful state of being.
Ok, tell me how to do this
To meditate, focus is usually placed on the blank slate mind and/or breathing. The reason focus would be placed on breathing is if the person naturally has a mind which races. Slow, calm breathing naturally calms the Mind down, so if one focuses on breathing, an empty mind is more attainable. Thoughts are bound to come up while sitting in a meditative space, however, these thoughts are not proof the meditation is ill-effective, but again, proof we are human. Successful meditation comes from the ability to keep a blank slate mind through focus and awareness on existence in the Present Moment.
Existence is the purest form of being so any outwards focus is not going to help the Mind get to a peaceful state. Figuring out oneself can only come from self-talk, to self-evaluation and then back to self-talk, repeated. This self-talk is not saying “You can do this” and other motivational self-talk phrases, but actually feeling out one’s own existence through meditation, to understand the Mind better. One can mindfully meditate while driving in busy traffic to work on a Monday morning or in the middle of a tropical forest where the nearest city is hundreds of miles away. The only tool needed to meditate is the Mind.
Mindful meditation for just 20 minutes a day has proven to improve moods and to reduce fatigue and anxiety levels (source). When the Mind is racing, it naturally speeds up other body functions, resulting in tiredness from over-exertion of anxiety evoking thoughts. Fatigue could be stopped in its tracks if anxiety never occurred to generate a bodily response.
Understanding the Mind (and yourself) is the key to moving past these natural panic responses. The problem is instability of the Mind and also inability to control how a situation is interpreted. A panic attack does not happen because of some external event (that may appear to be the case); it happens because a person has a mental attachment to some event which was previously thought to be in control. The Mind took the external world out of proportion into a total disaster. What people have to start understanding is the power of the Mind and the power humans have to control our own interpretations of events.
If we do not keep up with the body, we may lose muscle, or be focused on food or other distractions; however, if we do not keep up with the mind, our whole life can start its spiral down because a healthy mind is a base for a growing body.
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