Beginners Guide to Mindfulness Meditation
What is Mindfulness Meditation?
If you think about “What is meditation?” Which basically is by most definitions when you are sitting down with your eyes closed, then imagine that same scenario with your eyes open while you live your daily life. That is essentially what mindfulness meditation is.
Meditation is an exercise to expand your awareness of yourself and the universe. It puts you in alignment with your true essence which is immaterial and not visible to the human eye. You can experience it but cannot see it. You can be it.
The problem with many beginner meditators is that they experience great alignment of the spiritual and physical body during meditation and then lose this feeling when it is time to go on with their daily lives. Mindfulness is a tool that allows us to return back to this same awareness.
Mindfulness can be practiced with basically any task. It can be practiced while eating, driving, walking, listening, speaking, working, exercising and reading. I will take one of these examples and break it down a little further.
Best Times to Practice Mindfulness
- While you have a conversation with a friend/co-worker
- When you drive to work or on the bus
- In the shower
- When you are reading a book
- While listening to someone speak
- When you are eating lunch. Don’t gobble down your food. Chew it and notice the texture of the food and flavors.
- While you are walking. Notice the heels and balls of your feet.
- While working out notice your breath, muscles you are using and encouraging thoughts.
Mindfulness Walking Meditation for Beginners
Mindfulness walking is one type of meditation that many people use in their lives. Keep in mind that it is generally much easier to be mindful when the task is ordinary and routine for you. If you try to be mindful with a brand new skill it is not impossible but it can be more difficult.
Mindful walking begins with noticing your breath. As you take each step notice any tension in your body. You can practice the skills from vipassana at this point. Do a body scan and notice if you have any tension in your neck, shoulders or chest. After this body scan notice the quality of your breath. Are you huffing and puffing or are you calm and in control of your breath. Neither is wrong. Just be AWARE.
Next, notice your heels as they make contact with the ground. Notice the soles of your feet as you push off the ground and alternate feet. Is there more weight placed on one side? Do you notice anything new in your body that you did not have awareness of before? The key here is to place your attention on what you are actually doing here which is walking.
Many people never experience what it is like to be present and in the moment. They constantly are creatures of the mind and engage in end less chatter of the mind. So in this walking exercise they might never be aware of their body during the walk and be completely consumed by what happened to them earlier in the day or what they are going to do next week. While those things might be appropriate to think about at some point it is only wise to think about them when you want.
USE YOUR MIND, DON’T LET YOUR MIND USE YOU.
Although it might seem frivolous to discuss being aware and mindful while walking. Who cares if your thinking about this and that, one might say. But if this is happening to you when you are in the shower, during time with your family or at work then your mind is working against you.
The mind is a tool just like the body is. If it is not under your control then by definition it is using you. Take back control by becoming aware of your thoughts and placing your awareness on your awareness.