MORE ABOUT MINDFULNESS & MEDITATION
Mindfulness is a consciously aware mental state achieved by focusing our awareness on the present moment while acknowledging and working with the thoughts, feelings, sensations and bodily experiences as they occur, whether they are perceived as positive, negative or neutral. This is done with the spirit of curiosity, allowing and willingness, non-judgment, and most importantly, from a place of self-compassion. With this cultivated awareness, we can strengthen our ability to be more responsive to what we are experiencing rather than subconsciously or habitually reactive. This also helps us to become more embodied in the present moment rather than living in the past, present, or on With numerous ways to cultivate mindfulness awareness, through practice, patience and dedication it often becomes a lifestyle.
Mindfulness doesn't mean every day will be blissful. magical, stress-free, or not met with some kind of challenge. In fact, mindfulness honors or allows us to have such challenges (which is part of being human) but helps us to be more consciously aware of what is going on so that we have the freedom and choice as to how we will meet such challenges.
Those practicing mindfulness tend to report increased feelings of wellbeing, less stress or higher stress tolerance, less emotional reactivity, more focus and intentionality, ability to be more resilient with difficult experiences, an increased ability to cultivate relaxation responses, and on overall sense or feeling of compassion towards the self, others and the world at large.
Additionally, Mindfulness and contemplative practices have been well researched and have shown numerous benefits on a variety of overall cognitive, psychological, and physical well-being. There are also numerous ways to practice mindfulness and applications for more difficult conditions like trauma do exist.
"As we learn to quiet the mind and the body, to allow spaciousness and ease within us, we can begin to explore and understand the patterns that often drive us, in a much deeper, non-judgmental way. We can begin to let go and grow less attached to the myriad of distractions around us and within us, leading to a deeper understanding of ourselves, reducing stress, and cultivating a more balanced approach to living."
Mastery IN Motion
Meditation: Meditation is just one application of mindfulness and is a way to exercise our "awareness muscles." Just as we go to the gym to strengthen and condition our bodies, meditation is an exercise which helps us to strengthen our ability to be more present and aware, not just in our meditation time, but in our daily life as well.
Over time we can get better at turning the volume down on our thoughts so we can focus our awareness on allowing some space to just noticing out thinking patterns for what they are, just thoughts. We can also use this space to experience our feelings in a way that is safe and comfortable and manageable, instead of resisting them, stuffing them down deep inside or being completely enmeshed in them. Meditation can also help us to be more mindful of what is going on in our sensory world as well as what is going on within our body as the container and vessel for all our experiences.
Through this practice, and with our developing present moment awareness, we learn how to "lean in a bit" and therefore gain insight into our tendencies, reactions, responses, and habitual tendencies from a place of loving-kindness. By doing this most find that experience is beneficial in some capacity and adds ease and empowerment to their lives.
A common meditation myth is it is all all about sitting still, crossed legged, and "not having any thoughts" and that is really difficult or even painful to meditate. mIt is important for you to be aware that there are actually numerous forms of meditation styles and techniques and ways meditation can be practiced. While some meditations can be dynamic or more active, focus, thematic, or guided some can also be rather passive and focus simply on observation and noticing. Some meditations can be spiritually inclined while others can more of a form of basic observation and noticing. Meditations can also involve body movement, dance, walking, or other body exercises, or meditation can involve simply noticing a leaf from a tree, feeling the wine, putting your bare feet on the ground and tapig into your sensory perceptions. There are also "meditations in action" which focus on cultivating generosity, discipline, patience, energy, clarity, and wisdom through our direct experiences and daily interactions. There really is no "wrong or right" way to meditate. It is an experiential process that unfolds over time.
Note: Numerous modifications can be implemented for whatever challenges come up in a meditation practice. Some days of meditation may be amazing, relaxing, or even freeing, while some days of meditation may be more challenging or bring matters into awareness which were once hidden or tap into emotional sensitivities. This is okay, normal, and part of the practice. My goal is to help you learn how to work with all of these experiences and integrate them well. Meditate within your realm of tolerance but also your zone of resilience, which you have the power to discern. Furthermore, there are numerous trauma-sensitive mindfulness and meditation tools that can help folks practice in a way that feels safe, comfortable. If this is a concern for you please refer to the Trauma-Sensitive Mindfulness and Meditation page.
I highly encourage you to learn and research and develop a meditation practice and let it evolve over time. Perhaps approach with the spirit of curiosity and patience to see how the process will unfold for you. There is something truly remarkable when we gain greater awareness of selves and our environment. Again, it is remarkably empowering, allows us to exercise compassionate choice.
“Meditation is a process of lightening up, of trusting the basic goodness of what we have and who we are, and of realizing that any wisdom that exists, exists in what we already have. We can lead our life so as to become more awake to who we are and what we’re doing rather than trying to improve or change or get rid of who we are or what we’re doing. The key is to wake up, to become more alert, more inquisitive and curious about ourselves.”
CONSIDERING STARTING A MEDITATION PRACTICE?
Starting Your Own Meditation Practice