On a cold January winter’s evening in Cornwall, five women and two men sat silently in a warm room. It was their first guided Mindful Meditation session.
Sitting upright with eyes closed, they listened as I guided them to focus on the present, the NOW, by paying attention to their thoughts, body sensations, emotions and particularly their breathing.
“Your mind is your enemy as it perpetually wanders, reviewing events of our past or planning for your future” I told them, adding “Becoming mindful gives you a skill for life – that of paying attention to the present by noticing when your mind wanders off. Always return to your breathing. It’s where you rest and settle your mind.”
There’s plenty of research telling us that 8 in 10 adults in the western world experience stress in their daily lives; they all have difficulty relaxing their bodies and calming their thoughts.
This puts them in the high risk category of poor health conditions such as heart disease, stroke and a laundry list of others.
Meditations of all types are deeply rooted in ancient contemplative practices. Of the many therapies and techniques aimed at fighting adult stress today, mindfulness meditation has become by far the hottest commodity today as it can:
- Allows us to be fully present, aware of where we are, what we’re doing, and not be overwhelmed by what’s going on around us. We all possess this; we just need to practice using it.
- Reduce stress and anxiety by teaching people how to focus on the present moment and let go of worries about the past or the future.
- Increase focus and concentration by teaching people how to quiet their minds and focus on the present moment.
- Improve physical health with improved immune function, lower blood pressure, and reduced chronic pain.
- Increase self-awareness by teaching people how to observe their thoughts and emotions without judgment.
The inner workings of your emotional, mental and physical activity will awaken.
While mindfulness is something we all naturally possess, it’s more readily available to us when we practice on a regular basis. Rather than being a destination, it’s an exploration.
Mindfulness is a skill that is separate from meditation. It’s a state of focus. Although many think that they are the same, you can practice mindfulness at any time, in any context.
It’s a state of awareness. Think of one task that requires your complete concentration. That is the beginning of mindfulness.
Mindfulness also requires us to be present without judgment. We may be focused on our task, but we’re often still judgmental…. is what we’re doing good or bad? Notice this judgment and maintain a state of detached observation.
“Mindfulness meditation doesn’t change life. Life remains as fragile and unpredictable as ever. Meditation changes the heart’s capacity to accept life as it is.” Sylvia Boorstein
Whenever you bring your awareness to what you’re experiencing in your your thoughts and emotions, you’re being mindful. And there’s growing research showing that when you train your brain to be mindful, you’re remodelling its physical structure.
Given the personal and collective predicament we humans sometimes find ourselves in these days, any one of the above would be sufficiently compelling to at least give it a serious try.
Everyone’s experience with meditation is unique. No question. It may take time and some practice to feel any benefits. I have to add that if you have any poor health mental or physical condition, it would be worth speaking with a healthcare professional before beginning any new health regimen.
I’ve added the first Mindful Meditation to our website; more will be added as they’re completed. So you have an understanding of their nature I’m offering you (below) all you need to know about the key to any meditation – your breathing.
Listen to it. Listen to it a few times. Pass it on to someone you think could benefit. It’s a great way to start and it’s completely free.
Settle into a comfortable position and take a few deep breaths through your nose. Breathe in fully and exhale fully allowing your breath to find its own natural rhythm.
Focus is only one part. Mindfulness also requires us to be present without judgment. We may be focused on a task, but often remain judgmental as our mind is trying to determine if something is good or bad.
These meditations offer the first steps in helping you reclaim your power, so you’ll no longer be dictated to by worry, anxiety or negative thoughts.
It’s not difficult. Get this right and it’ll turn you into an incredibly powerful human being.
Here’s the link to a meditation if you have any fear around dental treatments. There are more to follow.
Click to hear the short introduction I sent out last month
I’ve been carrying out hypnotherapy and meditation sessions since 1997. As some people are reluctant to book appointments for themselves, it can be easier to offer online mindful meditations that they can benefit from in their own home.