Living mindfully is a constant practice.
Mindfulness could be translated to remembering to be aware each moment in our lives. This remembering includes openness, being awake and being present. It is about paying attention with purpose to the present moment, and seeing things as they are, without external judgement.
Meditation as a concept is not restricted to monks in remote monasteries but has a wide range of uses and forms in everyday life for all people. These uses can be as simple as focusing on our awareness and presence in seemingly mundane tasks that we go about everyday. Think of a routine you perform everyday such as driving a car, eating, greeting people, decision making, et cetera — are you merely on a form of human autopilot as opposed to actively living through your experiences? By becoming aware of our thoughts, feelings, and bodily sensations we break that autopilot, re-engaging ourselves as at the helm of our ship. We open ourselves to responding to situations in a controlled manner, as opposed to merely reacting to external circumstance. Living mindfully can be seen as being awake in these everyday moments in our lives. It gives us more control over all manner of situations in our lives. Everyday meditation is in this sense a form of mindfulness.
Living mindfully is a constant practice. Think of it as learning any new skill that we need to practice with commitment. The more regular your practice, the greater the benefits are. Meditation is something you need to do yourself, for example by a practical exercise as seen below.
Starting meditation is simple. It can be reduced to self-awareness, beginning with you concentrating on your breathing. Do not control it or try to change it just feel it flowing in and out. If you are a beginner start from three minutes to growing to twenty minutes. Just imagine how it would feel if you practiced half an hour?
In meditation you practice being. There is nowhere to go, nothing to do and nothing to achieve. You can just focus on your breath. Consistent practice of mindful breathing is something you can practice anywhere and you will notice how it increases your general awareness and focus of being. If you keep an open mind and retain a sense of curiosity in your practice, the rest will follow.
What are the benefits then of meditating and living mindfully? With everyday meditation we become more conscious in our lives and more fully present in all experiences.Our lives become more rich as our senses are awake. We learn to cultivate our inner resources and thus learn to trust ourselves more. Scientific studies show that meditating prevents depression and decreases anxiety, chronic pain and stress. Other studies show also that regular meditators see doctors less and that meditation boosts their immune system thus fighting off colds and other diseases. Meditators have been proven also to be happier and more content enjoying fulfilling relationships.
Everyday meditation helps us on our journey to well-being and greater health. Dedicate a few minutes of your day to a breathing space and you will quickly reap the rewards.
“You can’t stop the waves, but you can learn to surf”
– Jon Kabat-Zinn
Image courtesy of Unsplash.
Originally published at medium.com