The term “mindfulness” is defined by author and meditation leader Jon Kabat-Zinn as “paying attention in a particular way, on purpose, in the present moment, and nonjudgmentally.”
A common myth of mindfulness is to say “My mind is too busy to meditate.” This is simply not true for it is the nature of the mind to be busy and always looking for new things. The key is to keep going through the meditation without judgment.
Why mindfulness? There are many benefits of mindfulness. Here are just a few:
· Stress reduction
· Increased focus
· Boosted working memory
· Less emotional reactivity
· Higher relationship satisfaction
· More cognitive flexibility
· Decreased anxiety and depression
There are many ways to practice mindfulness from eating or walking mindfully to doing a body scan or simply imagining a beautiful place in a guided meditation.
Today, I’d like you to do the most basic mindfulness meditation and pay attention to your breath.
For the next few minutes, I want you to be conscious of your breathing…the inhalation…the exhalation. The sensation it creates in your body…nose, nostrils, lungs and heart for example.
Whenever your thoughts go elsewhere just simply bring them back to the breath. Like potty training a puppy on a newspaper. Back to the paper. Back to the paper.
My course materials say this:
Just two instructions:
With Mindfulness of breathing we are doing only one of two things:
1/We are being aware of the sensations of breathing right in this moment.
2/We are noticing that our minds have drifted away and redirecting ourselves back to the breath.
It is that simple. Sensing the breath, or noticing our attention is elsewhere and bring our awareness back without judgement. Breathing, and the knowing of it. Mind wandering and the knowing of it.
You may notice your mind wanders constantly. That’s what minds do. Just gently come back to the breath over and over again.
No judgement of good or bad practice. There is only practice.
So now go ahead and try it for 5 minutes, especially when facing life challenges.
I teach a 6-week course on mindfulness. If you’re interested in having the course for your group or organization, just email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.