Mindfulness and Meditation 1

Mindfulness is usually practiced at first through meditation.  Over time, it will become more natural to take a mindfulness approach to everything that happens in our daily lives.  But at first, it’s recommended to take 10 to 15 minutes a day and sit in meditation.

So when is a good time to meditate?

Some people like to schedule their meditation time so that they are assured it will happen.  Meditating first thing in the morning, or right before bed, are common times to meditate.  Others prefer to be spontaneous and meditate when they have the time and feel the urge to do so.  There is no “right” time to meditate.  So you need to decide what works best for you.

And how do you meditate?

It’s usually best to sit, either on the floor on in a chair.  It’s important to be comfortable and it’s ok to make adjustments during your meditation.  I don’t recommend lying down; it’s too easy to fall asleep!

And what do you do?

Begin by focusing on your breath.  Notice each inhale and exhale.  Let yourself rest for a moment in the pause between the inhale and exhale.

And what about thinking?

Thinking is normal.  If we have a mind, it will think!  So with your attention on your breath, notice your thoughts as they come and go.  Don’t try to push them away.  But also don’t get caught up in them.  Just watch them come and go.  Labeling them can also be helpful.  Is it a judging thought? An anxious thought? A “to do” thought?

And what about my emotions?

Take the same approach to your feelings as you do towards your thoughts.  Be with them as you stay with your breathing.  It’s ok to have feelings, and it’s important to not suppress them.  Some people find that if they “lean” into their feelings with their breathe, that their feelings will actually diminish.

And stay with it!

You may often feel that it’s hopeless.  That your mind can’t stop thinking, your feelings are too strong, and so there seems to be no point. But remember, the goal is not to stop thinking and feeling.  The goal is to be the witness of what is happening inside of you.  As as you learn to do this, you will likely start to feel the wonderful by-products of mindfulness meditation – Inner Peace and Calm.

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