THREE KINDS OF MINDFULNESS MEDITATION
Practice one or more of these from between 1 – 20 minute daily. It helps to keep your eyes closed and to be physically comfortable. That said, people who suffer from physical/chronic pain can especially benefit from mindfulness practice. Pain is really the result of energy blocks in the mind-body system. Through mindfulness practice, energy is once again allowed to flow freely, thereby alleviating and even eliminating pain.
Wherever you are, begin to take notice of your breathing. Do not try to change it and do not try to analyze it. Simply notice the movement of air as it enters your nostrils and as it travels into your body. Then notice the movement of air as it leaves your body through your nostrils.
Take note of the temperature of the air, the way in which the air moves, the speed at which it moves, the sensations you feel at the rims of your nostrils. Do not evaluate or judge anything. Just observe. Just be mindful i.e fill your mind with everything about the breath!
Wherever you are, tune in to the sounds around you. Start with the loudest or most obvious sounds, then move on to the more subtle sound including the sound of your breathing. Do not fix your attention on any one sound but keep scanning the environment for all the different sounds it holds. Enjoy the flow of life as you remain mindful! As a post-meditation reflection, be amazed at the diversity of life.
As you practice more, you will be able to attend to several sound simultaneously.
THINKING (MENTAL NOTING)
Tune into your thoughts. Become aware of them. Do not get caught up in them. This will be difficult to do at first because it has become a mental habit to get embroiled in your thoughts and in the many stories and dramas they create. But during this practice, try to notice when you have become caught up in your thoughts. When you do notice it, gently bring your attention back to just observing the thoughts come and go. There will be many.
When you first start, you may experience a ‘mental blank’. That is just your mind’s way of reacting to something new and which it perceives to be threatening. Remain relaxed and after a while, you’ll begin to notice the thoughts rushing through. This time, you’ll be alarmed at the traffic!
Try to relax by ‘stepping back’. This is just your mind doing what it normally does. It’s just that you’ve never noticed it before!
Watch your thoughts arise and fall away. Experience the great sense of liberation at being able to just watch your thoughts without becoming embroiled in them and therefore directing your life on autopilot. Realize how much decision making power you have by not allowing yourself to be directed by habitual, unexamined thoughts.
As you practice more, you will be able to broaden the sphere of your attention by including the feelings and bodily sensations that arise and fall away.
With these and any other meditation practice, please do not hurry to do ‘more’. Every practice, whether at the most ‘basic’ or ‘advanced’ level, has the ability to provide the greatest benefits.