Keeping It 100 With You
I'll level with you guys. I am not some zen person who floats above the fray every day. Meditation and mindfulness isn't my natural way of being. I don't naturally gravitate to peace and harmony. It's something I have had to work at; it's something I have started and shelved many times in my life. I've made excuses like everyone else. Maybe tomorrow, no time today. I can't do it; it's too hard. I'm wasting time and not seeing improvements. If you are looking for instant gratification, order fast food. Don't expect it from meditation.
It took me years of reaching out, giving up and trying again to finally get to a point in my life where I had no choice but stick with it. I needed to master the skill of mindfulness because no potion or diet was successful.
I did it over and over again for days, weeks months. Didn't see results for a while because I wasn't looking in the right places for it. Mindfulness meditation opens up your senses in a way nothing else can. It brings you back to the moment you are in, and it takes practice to perfect it, and I am but a novice at the shore or an ocean of knowledge that is mindfulness. And still learning.
Mindfulness meditation isn't some complex theory that is hard to grasp. This practice couldn’t be simpler to understand. It is applying the concept to achieve results which takes time.
What is Mindfulness Meditation and Where Did it Come From?
Originally an ancient Buddhist meditation technique, in recent years mindfulness has evolved into a mainstream fad of sorts but not well known for fast results because it is a subtle approach to a slow evolving transformation requires a long-term commitment, time and effort.
Mindfulness is being explored by schools, pro sports teams and military units to enhance performance, and is being looked into to help with chronic pain, and addiction. There is an arm's length of facts I can recite, but I imagine it will put you to sleep.
As the popularity and use of mindfulness grow, brain imaging techniques are revealing that this ancient practice can profoundly change the way different regions of the brain communicate with each other – and therefore how we think – permanently and positively.
This is what you should know. You can do this form of meditation at any age, at any stage. Your physical constraints won't stop you, your health constraints can't impede you. Your mind is the muscle you will be flexing here. And your mind's potential - is infinite.
This is How I Do It.
I do this every day, my favorite time is early in the morning or late at night before bed. And I do it as often as I need to throughout the day depending on how stressful my day is.
- Make yourself comfortable, grab a chair and plant your feet firmly to the ground. I prefer bare feet and sitting Indian style but you don't have to twist into a pretzel to achieve success here.
- Choose a spot with the least amount of distractions. You can even sit outside and commune with nature if you like. I do this in the summers.
- Straighten your seated posture but don't harden or stiffen your upper body.
- Losen your arms don't hold them in place let them rest upon your lap.
- Drop your chin a little and let your eyes close and look down where ever your resting chin focuses your gaze. You don't have to close your eyes as long as you are not looking at anything that pulls your attention away from your breathing.
- Pay attention to your breathing, and when your attention wanders, bring it back slowly. Your attention will wander a lot and that's normal. (this part is going to sound strange) When your mind wanders, don't fight it instead just observe it's path like it wasn't happening to you. Do it as many times as it takes without keeping score or judging your progress.
- Do this for as long as it takes for you to relax physically or for as long as you can stand to stay in one place and try. I started out setting a timer for 10-minute intervals. And now in a matter of 8 months, I can go as long as an hour.
This part is crucial. Emptying your mind of all thought is an impossibility, at least it is for me. Mindfulness is NOT about having no thoughts, it is about being acutely aware of your thoughts and controlling them while remaining detached from them emotionally
It will take some time to feel the difference if you don't know what to look for.
Look for Small Things
- Keep your expectations tailored at first. Small wins are more significant than you think.
- Even and deep breathing. Be aware of the inhale and the exhale.
- Present in the moment and centered on your breathing
- Do this and be patient. My biggest struggle was my wandering attention and once I began to stay in the moment longer and longer, I began to lengthen the amount of time I would stay in mindfulness and the transformation has been nothing short of a miracle.
In the Eye of Mindfulness
What to look for when you look within.
- When you begin to progress in the right direction, you will feel a physical weight lift from you.
- A sense of well being will fill your lungs and flow through you like molten lava.
- The ease of holding yourself in the present will be pleasurable and that timer will sound sooner and sooner until you are impatient to shut it off and see it through without a reminder of elapsed time.
- When you are done you will feel energized physically, alert and aware of your responsibilities but not depleted by them.
- Your mind will be sharp and an open space for creative ideas. You will be able to see things from a different perspective.
There are many things beyond our control that baffle and vex us. We can allow them to rattle us or we can control how we react to those elements. Mindfulness meditation is a tool that helps us cope constructively with life's unpredictability. Learning to detach emotionally from a thought is unequivocally the same as gaining control of that thought. In the span of time looking within, we can manage to overcome the obstacle, we haven't otherwise found a solution to. The possibilities are endless.
Incorporating a simple earth based skin care ritual to your daily routine helps enhance the journey to mindfulness. Simple tasks, natural ingredients drenched in Ayurvedic wisdom and made for the urban woman is exactly what the universe intended for our species. Give it a try.