“Nothing is worth more than this day. You cannot relive yesterday. Tomorrow is still beyond your reach.”Quote by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
What is Mindful Meditation?
Mindful(ness) Meditation entails bringing and focusing your attention consciously to the present reality. This is is often done non-judgmentally. Essentially, mindfulness or being mindful enables one to be aware of and accept your moment-to-moment experiences. Then, one can concentrate on the current or perceived/desired mental state, and avoid the notion of having dispersed thoughts. Eventually, this allows one to live each live moment and restore wholeness. Below is a YouTube video illustrative of mindfulness meditation.
Mindful(ness) Meditation is an innate/intrinsic phenomenon/thing (everyone naturally possesses it). However, one needs quite an amount of gradual practice to attain an advanced level. After the gradual practice, one can then trigger the mindful state in a matter of seconds.
Elements of Mindfulness
There are 2 major elements of mindfulness namely;
- Accepting non-judgmentally your present moment-to-moment experience.
What are the Benefits of Mindful Meditation?
Mindful meditation helps you acquire multiple benefits, ranging from mental, physical, and spiritual health benefits. All in all, the most apparent and almost instant if not instant benefits are mental health benefits, specifically psychological benefits. Below are some of the popular and proved benefits of mindful meditation;
- Mitigates and/or eliminates psychological distress such as – stress, anxiety, anger, worry, among others.
- Ease of emotion regulation
- Increases brain’s attention, while enabling one to decrease mental distractions with ease.
- Mindfulness-based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT) – Can be employed in physical pain management cognitive – therapies to ward off physical chronic pain.
- Enables one to have an advanced mental acuity and agility.
- Boosts creativity in general
- Strengthens neural connections
Simple and Effective Practice of Mindful(ness) Meditation
There is no one-fits-all guide to practicing mindfulness meditation to attain the desired benefits. However, there are some simple, proved and well-known universal practice protocols that even the beginners can implement and become experts, depending on their discipline in practicing frequently. Therefore, patience is important as it could take some time to become adept in this practice.
It is also important to differentiate simple meditation with mindfulness meditation. Mindfulness is in itself a meditation practice, making mindful(ness) meditation an advanced meditation practice than mere meditation. Thus, below, lets look at some basic prerequisites of getting into a mindful mental state, which is a vital condition before proceeding to mindfulness meditation. Binaural beats frequencies are also vital in getting one into a mindful meditative state.
Basics of Mindfulness Practice
- Decide and set time for the practice – You do need some time, say 5-10 minutes to be mindful and focus your mind without distractions.
- Be in the “Present” – After setting aside the time and deciding, this step now begins the in-thing.
- Let Go – Consciously let all mind wanders and mental distractions to slip by. Be in the present and focus on your intent (Breathing rhythm, etc).
- Now Observe the Present Moment as is – This step helps from avoiding to any further or incoming wandering thoughts. This is because mindfulness is about being in the present moment as much as possible.
- Acknowledge Wandering Thoughts, Accept and Go Back to Focus – After, for instance, realizing that your mind has or had momentarily got distracted, be kind to yourself and slowly return to your initial intent; being mindful.
After observing the basics of mindful practice, it is now time to delve into meditation.
The most basic meditation practice is breathing. This is because focusing on breathing enables one to control emotions, sounds, and most importantly, its the best available and effective practice to focus your thoughts. One can credit its effectiveness due to the fact that breathing is an involuntary process, and one only needs to concentrate their thoughts on the breathing rhythm. Stated simply, using breathing for meditation practice is good because nature has already started the process for you!
According to studies, one can employ the following meditation practice.
Simple Meditation Practice for Beginners
- Get comfortable – Can sit comfortably, embrace the pranayama pose, or any other Yoga pose.
- Breathing rhythm and Body awareness – Involves turning attention to body parts and breathing. This helps to ensure no outside distractions. Additionally, one can count, say up to 5 and 7 when inhaling and exhaling.
- Acceptance – This involves acknowledging the fact that days and times differ. Some days one may be overwhelmed by thoughts and can have thoughts wandering more often than not, no matter your proficiency level of mindful meditation.
- Reflection – This is a step that is necessary during and after the meditation practice. You can reflect on patterns of thoughts that you are experiencing often, and take note of them. Eventually, this practice helps in developing and orienting your thoughts focus to the desired ones.
- Self-Understanding and Compassion – Agree that your mindful meditation journey is unique and refrain from comparing yourself to other meditators.
- Try get a similar mat, cushion and practice on the same space daily – This ultimately helps your mind to subconsciously become aware to the practice, and automatically triggers the meditative state. One can liken this to the classical conditioning cognitive learning theory.