Mindful Meditation - Practicing the Power of Now
Practicing the power of now in mindful meditation greatly benefits your mental and spiritual well-being as well as your physical health.
Meditation mindfulness is inherent to all meditation practices. The trick is to bring mindfulness or presence into as many moments as you can throughout your day. You can practice presence while you sit, walk, eat, work, play, and prepare to fall asleep.
Why Practicing Mindful Meditation Important
Your mind is free of stress when it is focused on the present moment it is free of stress. Most mental distress comes from fretting over the past and worrying about the future. These habits limit your ability to heal and create. They challenge and block your body mind resources.
When you are at ease, your energies focus on healing, problem solving and attracting your conscious desires.
Being present is the state of mind you want to experience more often than not whether your goal is inner peace, holistic healing or creating a life you love.
Unfortunately, less experienced meditators get discouraged by a common plague of mindful meditation called 'monkey mind'. We sit with the best of intentions, chanting "aum" and following our breath only to be distracted by constant mental chatter about the past or future. This makes it almost impossible to focus on what is present for more than a few moments and reduces the benefits of meditation.
After much frustration, I figured there had to be a way to practice presence without being undone by monkey mind. Here's what I learned to make mindful meditation easier.
How to Practice Mindfulness
- Be okay with lapses in focus. Mental distractions are to be expected. Just bring your mind gently back without getting stressed out about it. What you resist, persists. Expect forays, welcome them even, and then redirect your focus.
- Experiment with different meditation styles until you find the right match for you. Mindful meditation practices are not 'one size fits all'. You may find that a walking meditation, mindful exercises, or guided meditation quiet your monkey mind enough to help you relax and become present for most of it. Hypnosis audios work along the same lines. Some guide you all the way through, and others give you a few quiet minutes to follow your breath or visualize on your own.
- Brain entrainment audios help quiet your mind. They either have a sound like a metronome keeping the beat, or a technology called bi-aural beats that slow your brain waves. Brain entrainment simulates true meditation and helps you reach brain wave frequencies that experienced meditators achieve only after years of practice. I like to use my brain entrainment audios while taking a hot bath.
- Create moments of mental presence throughout the day. Practicing the power of now can be done at any time and any place. It is better to experience a few seconds of meditation mindfulness over none. You may not achieve the deep states known to those who meditate for hours, but the benefits are still appreciable. Here are a few ways to do that: Anytime you are waiting, close your eyes and take a deep focused breath. Notice your feet and feel the floor below them. Observe what you are thinking. Name what you are hearing, seeing, touching. These are fun ways to pass the time.
- You do not have to sit up straight and cross your legs like a monk for long periods of time to experience the benefits of practicing presence. There are benefits to that pose such as increased alertness and energy flow through the spine, but most of us can't hold it for at first. If you are not comfortable, you will have a difficult time. Move when you need to. Find a comfortable spot. Use a cushion on the floor or sit in a recliner or a good chair. Do not lie down as you will probably fall asleep.
Walking Mindful Meditation
Walking mindful meditations are great because they give your body something to do. Practicing the presence of now in mindful meditation is easy when you have engage your body and your senses.
My most enjoyable meditation mindfulness routine came together as I was riding my bicycle.
Here is how to practice mindfulness as you walk (or do just about anything else):
- Focus on one sense at a time and just notice for a minute or so. Start with any sense you like. Seeing or hearing are the two easiest.
- Begin by noticing everything you hear (or see). Give your full attention to each individual sound for as long as you like. Really tune in to the sounds within and around you. You will be amazed how much you hear that you normally tune out.
- When your mind starts to wander, bring it back or move on to the next sense. Repeat with all your senses. Or choose just one or two.
- To end, become aware of all your senses. Be aware of what you feel, see, hear, taste and smell all at once for just a few moments.
This meditation is not limited to walking. Try it while you ride your bike or sit on your porch. Notice what you feel as you shower. Take a minute to notice all you see while waiting for the light to change as you sit in your car. At the next light, notice what you hear. Perhaps at another light, focus on your breath and how it feels going in and out of your body. How does it sound. Don't control it, just observe.
If you are with someone else, really look at them and listen to her. Tune in and sense her energetically. What do you notice? How has your awareness of this person shifted?
Enjoy meditation mindfulness while eating a meal. Give your focused attention to each bite. Notice the smells, tastes and texture of your food. Be attentive as you lift the food into your mouth, chew and swallow it. Do this for each mouthful, or as long as you like.
As you can see, mindful meditation is not about any particular method. At best, practicing the power of now is woven throughout your day. It doesn't really matter what you focus on or for how long. What matters is that you train your mind to attend to the present moment, which is all there really is. Being mindful and present is one key of spiritual well-being.
Healthy? Happy? Relaxed? Matt Clarkson is offering this complimentary mini- course teaching simple meditation exercises for busy people. Each part gives you an exercise, inspirational message or tip to help you calm the mind and reduce stress. Get yours today.
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