Mindfulness meditation exercise
This is one of the greatest and most beneficial meditation techniques I have practiced so far. When I first started it, after being steady for few weeks in practice I noticed how my mind is less agitated and completely settled. It is an unbelievable state where you feel the whole world vibrates but mind is like the bottom of the ocean – no jumping around, no shakes, no worries. It is just untouchable calmness and tranquility.
The technique is pretty simple but to achieve results is tricky because mind tends to jump from subject to subject without even being aware that it is happening.
Some of the key points:
- Best time to practice is in the morning and not with full stomach or too hungry
- Sitting on the floor with legs crossed, upright straight spine, bottom slightly elevated by sitting on the cushion so that you feel you are pressing on your legs and hands in the lap (right palm in the left palm). Is the most effective position, however you can do it sitting in the chair with legs on the floor. I do not recommend lying down because it is surely leading to sleep.
Begin by simply relaxing. You can tell yourself the “command” – I am now completely relaxed, I am getting more and more relaxed. If you are under stress, scanning the body from top down will be effective. Start with your head and leave your attention in that area feeling the tension from your head leaving or melting. Then go to neck and feel the tension go away. Move to shoulders and hands, then go to central part all the way down to your legs and feet. Feel each part of your body relaxing and loosing the tension. Do it slowly, at least 5 minutes.
After you have done the relaxation part, move your attention to nostrils. See and feel how the air is entering and exiting through your nostrils. Just loosely observe, without any attachment or expectation.
The thoughts will start appearing. They cannot be stopped or ignored. The key in this thought appearing process is to acknowledge them and just let them pass without being pulled in with them.
When a thought appears, see that it is there and let it pass. Then come back to breath.
To help concentrate better, you can count the breaths at exhale. So you inhale, exhale (count 1 on exhale), inhale, exhale (count 2).. and all the way until 10 then start again from 1. If you lose yourself in a thought at number 3 and come back on number 6, start again from 1. Each time you notice you were not concentrated on breaths, start from the beginning. But if you were able to hold your attention to each count even when thoughts appeared, you do not have to start again.
In time you can lose counting and just concentrate on the breaths. Personally, I still count breaths even after full 5 years of steady meditation. I simply find it easier to stay focused. It is just a matter of preference; each method is good.
One of the important things to remember here is not to be too hard on yourself. If your meditation is not as effective as you would like it to be, just relax in the process. Meditation helps more if it is done with whatever result than to not be done at all. I noticed that even 2 minutes of successful concentration on the breath helps.
I still have days when meditation is not too successful, sometimes it is lack of sleep or PMS days, it can be anything. If something is bothering me and I have to solve it, meditation can be packed with finding solutions for the situation instead of letting go of the thoughts without attachment and observe breaths. But it doesn’t matter, I acknowledge that it is that kind of period and I let myself to deal with the issue instead of meditating on breath but I make a decision I will do my best again tomorrow.
All you have to do is start and stick to doing it every day. Make a commitment at least 10 minutes a day. It is really not that much time but it will benefit you endlessly.