taught many people to begin meditating; and I am aware that there are a LOT of
misperceptions about what it is and isn’t. Because I have found the practice so
very beneficial in my life, I have spent my entire career helping people
overcome their misperceptions so that they, too, can reap the joys that arise
from understanding how you can bring meditation into your life—both formally
many types of formal meditation practice such as sitting meditations, body scans,
mindful yoga, mindful walking, and mindful eating. These practices ask that you
set aside a specific time and place to focus on observing your all of your
senses (sight, sound, touch, smell, and taste) and your thoughts and emotions
with curiosity and kindness. As the instructions go, “when your mind wanders,
bring it back to what is happening in the present moment.” It is through this
formal practice that we are then able to bring mindful, kind awareness to the
rest of our lives.
biggest misperception about meditation is that if your mind is busy and
distracted, you can’t do it. In reality, your meditation, particularly at the
beginning, will mostly be about noticing this tendency of the mind. While that
might not be completely restful, it is the first stage of practice. Your mind
will wander. All minds do. You simply notice and drop back to presence whenever
you can. Slowly, but surely, you will begin to notice a little more space
between your thoughts. In the space, you will experience the contentment of
meditation practice is about bringing a curious and kind attention to the rest
of your life—everything you do! So, in essence, you can meditate from the
minute you wake up to the minute you go to sleep at night. Whatever you do can
become meditation if you concentrate your attention on it.
example, mindful eating can be done formally or informally throughout the day.
The instructions are similar, but in formal mindful eating I would eat alone (preferably)
and in silence. But mindful eating can be done informally whenever you eat. Before you start to eat you could pay
attention to what the food looks like and what it smells like. You would be
aware of any signals from your body that tell you it wants or doesn’t want the food. As you eat, you
would keep paying close attention to the taste, to chewing, to swallowing. You would
be aware of when your body tells you it has had enough to eat and you would
Mindful presence throughout the day gives you information that help you make choices that align with your body, mind, and heart. Recently my body has told me it wants cooked, instead of raw, food. My heart says that I need to limit the newsfeed so that I can keep better balance. My mind says to read books that inspire and takes me closer to my true Self. The messages are there if you tune your ear to the present moment. As one meditation teacher said, meditation keeps you from having an accidental life. Your choices and, therefore, your life, become an expression of being fully conscious.
anything in your life and turn it into a meditation—driving, cleaning,
showering, making the bed, petting your cat or dog, talking, listening, reading,
etc. Put your whole attention on what you’re doing, notice when your mind
wanders to a story about it or something else, and re-direct your energy on the
thing that you’re doing. Whatever you’re doing, bring interest and openness to
the experience even if it is folding the clothes.
degree that you find yourself lost in thought is likely the degree to which you
will be experiencing negative emotions like anxiety and stress. The present
moment might not be as exciting as the task you have in front of you, but it certainly
ranks higher than the stories that you obsess and ruminate over. Staying with
the obsessive, ruminative mind is a CHOICE. The more that you choose the sensations
available to you in the present moment and cultivate the qualities of
mindfulness (trust, patience, beginners mind, openness, acceptance) the more
you will find peace.
quote by Tara Brach sums it up: “In any moment, no matter how lost we feel, we
can take refuge in presence and love. We need only pause, breathe, and open to
the experience of aliveness within us. In that wakeful openness, we come home
to the peace and freedom of our own natural awareness.”
moment now to come home to the quiet experience of simply being. Do that over
and over again throughout the day. Turn your life into a meditation.