According to mindful.org, mindfulness is the basic human ability to be fully present, aware of where we are and what we’re doing, and not overly reactive or overwhelmed by what’s going on around us.
According to Wikipedia, meditation is a practice where an individual uses a technique to train attention and awareness to achieve a mentally clear and emotionally calm, and stable state.
According to me :-), mindful meditation is allowing yourself to be still and present so that your mind will have an opportunity to rest from all of the “ish” that runs through it day in and day out.
Mindfulness and meditation used to be associated with a “hippie” lifestyle. With the world demanding so much of us as humans, we all seem to be searching for that “thing”. That “thing” that allows us to keep our sanity intact while trying to meet the demands of the world. Mindful meditation has proven to be one of those things. Study after study has shown there are numerous benefits to practicing mindfulness and meditating. As a result, what used to be something that the world cast off as something only “hippies” did, mindful meditation is now being used to help create a healthy environment for learning in urban schools, to help people dealing with PTSD, and to help people dealing with high-stress lifestyles.
I have been dabbling with mindful meditation since my days in Philadelphia when I had way too much time on my hands. 🙂 I remember finding a Buddhist group that met in Rittenhouse Square to chant and meditate. Imagine the looks on their face when this 20-year-old black girl with bamboo earrings walked in, curious about what they were doing. Despite the initial surprise, they opened their circle and allowed me to have my first experience with meditation. An experience that has remained with me for thirty years.
If you are searching for a way to reduce stress and anxiety and invite more calm into your life, consider meditation. Before you begin, I want to share three common myths about mindful meditation that may help you along your journey.
Your eyes must be closed during your period of meditation
There is absolutely no requirement that your eyes be closed. If you are not comfortable closing your eyes simply lower your gaze and find something to focus on when you begin your period of meditation.
You must be sitting on the floor with your legs crossed like a pretzel
Absolutely not! I often sit up straight in a chair with my feet planted on the floor beneath me for my periods of meditation. The results are the same. In fact, I am less worried about how much pain I am going to be in as I try to uncross my legs and get up from the floor which frees my mind to focus.
If your mind wanders you are not meditating
Not true! If your mind wanders it is because you are a living, breathing human being whose brain is functioning. Success equals the ability to recognize when your mind has wandered and bringing yourself back to the present moment that you are in. Your mind is going to wander. Don’t beat yourself up. Just like anything else, with practice you will get better.
Hope this helps!