Exploring Mindfulness and Meditation
By: Rich Whiteknight
In our every day lives, we are all guilty of neglecting our minds, allowing our brains to be lulled into a lazy, neglected, and unaware state. It is as if we are allowing ourselves to be sculpted by bland and repetitive consumerism, our individuality being chiselled away by a tedium we cannot even be bothered to challenge with any will.
Life need not be like that. We are each blessed with a powerful mind; but normally people have forgotten or, most likely, never even knew how, to use it. It is such a waste of our own greatest resource.
One way to start to extricate ourselves from the mindless quicksand is to gently exercise our minds, using mindfulness and meditation as a way of bringing ourselves more emphatically into the real world, and start the process of exercising control over our minds and our lives.
Creating a mindfulness meditation is a gentle but powerful exercise. But how do you go about it?
A Simple Mindfulness Meditation Exercise
As with any meditation session, you need to get into a relaxed and comfortable position, eyes closed, and then commence with deep nasal breathing, focusing your thoughts on the breathing to ease yourself into a meditative state.
Once you feel that you are calmed by your breathing and that your breath is under your rhythmic control, then you can move on to focusing on your own body, a part at a time. I was first taught this at yoga class, where we were taught to concentrate first of all on the left foot, focusing on it from a position above ourselves. Then move up the body slowly, left ankle, knee, thigh and so on. When reaching your head, you then do the same in reverse on the other side of the body: right shoulder, right elbow, right hand and so on.
Once you have completed your tour of your own body, as if you were someone else examining it, then it is time to open your eyes and increase your mindfulness of your surroundings.
To do this, focus on any object in the room; it does not have to be anything special: a cup on the coffee table, a vase, a plastic flower, anything. Try to maintain that focus for half a minute, and then move on to any other object. You can repeat this several times, always maintaining a focus on your own body and your own breathing, creating a triple harmony with each object on which you focus.
By using this simple mindfulness meditation you are increasing awareness both of yourself and your surroundings, in a very gentle and easy way. It can serve as a prelude to some mental task, as well as being part of an ongoing mindfulness campaign to strengthen and expand the use of your own mind.
For example, most days I write, but sometimes I just do not seem able to concentrate on what I am supposed to be writing about. I find this type of exercise, even just for 10 minutes, will snap me out of that inexplicable malaise, and I can get right on and write what I should have written earlier.
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