Special note: Today I open up my blog to Hiten Vyas! He is a refreshingly brilliant guy who you ought to know. Read on to know his thoughts. Details about Hiten below this article. Enjoy and show this brilliant guy some love here :) ~ Much Love, Zeenat~
Meditating literally changed my life.
Pretty bold statement to make you might say? You would be right. However, it’s true and I’ll explain how it can help you too.
How I got into meditation
I had my first taste of meditation in 2008. I mentioned to a friend that I loved yoga, but the classes I attended placed too much emphasis on the postures (or Asanas) rather than the meditative aspects such as Pranayama, from which I experienced real peace and calmness.
My friend told me about a Buddhist temple he went to, to practice ‘mindfulness’ meditation once a week, and how I might like to give it go. I was well up for it!
The actual meditation
Once I went to the class I was taught how to meditate by the monks there, and I’ve not looked back. Mindfulness meditation involves being ‘mindful’ of the contents of our minds and more specifically the thoughts we have.
Most of the time we have so much internal chatter going on, it’s all we’re hearing. Our thoughts are on auto-pilot and we react in our bodies to our thinking. We experience feelings inside us; sometimes good feelings, and other times bad feelings. And this continues like an endless cycle, over and over again.
Applying the technique
Practicing mindfulness meditation is fairly straightforward. You can sit down cross-legged with a straight back and head parallel to the floor. You close your eyes, and then start to observe your breathing, just watching it go in and out. If you find sitting on the floor too difficult, you can sit upright on a chair.
There is no regulation of the breathing. It’s all about just allowing your natural breath to go in and out.
As you begin to observe the flow of your natural breath, thoughts will begin to arise in your mind. When they do (which they will!) you just allow them to arise, observe them, and just bring your attention back to the main area of focus, namely your breathing. By bringing your attention back to your breathing you are stopping thoughts right in their tracks before they get you to react to them.
Teaches you to objectivity
Mindfulness meditation can teach you a number of things about yourself and the world. One key thing is it teaches you to be objective to what it going on inside you.
What does this mean you might ask?
Well our experiences are usually like this: We have a thought and this invokes corresponding feelings. In this process, we literally become the thought and become the feeling.
For instance, I might have a thought about speaking in front of a group of people and I suddenly become really fearful. When experiencing this, I become my fear. Or I might say “I’m afraid” and identify with my fear.
By practicing mindfulness meditation, you begin to develop another level of consciousness, where you create distance between what you are thinking and feeling. By observing your thoughts objectively, you begin to stop identifying with them, and by doing this over time you will create less pain.
Remember, we create our own suffering through identifying with the contents of our mind. Thoughts and emotions come and go. Mindfulness meditation allows you to observe this arising and passing of thoughts and feelings as it happens, without becoming attached to them. And from this, wisdom develops that we are more than our thoughts and emotions.
Present moment living
I never really knew what present moment living was until I started to meditate. I would read about how one should live in the now, as there is no fear, worry or other types of emotional pain in the present. Don’t live in the past I would read in books. There is regret there. Don’t live in the future other books would say, because there is only anxiety about what might happen.
But how does one really experience being in the present moment?
Well mindfulness meditation can help you to do this.
The thoughts we usually have are either about the past or some fantasy about the future. By continuing to bring our attention back to our breathing whenever we have a thought about something, what we are doing is living in the present moment! In the present moment there can be no regret, or fear or anxiety, because when you are just focusing on your breathing, you don’t give yourself a chance to think of anything else!
More relaxed and less agitated
The more you meditate, over time you will notice changes in yourself. Others will notice differences in you too. You will become more relaxed. In those daily situations where you used to get frustrated, fearful, angry etc, you will now begin to approach with a more balanced attitude, because you will be living much more in the present. You will be able to approach situations from the intuitive wisdom that comes from doing so in the now. Fewer things will get ‘under your skin’.
Mindfulness for beginners
The fruits of mindfulness meditation can take some time to manifest. Please don’t let this put you off. It’s important to not allow yourself to become frustrated at the beginning. It’s easy to do so, as an untrained mind at the start may seem hard to control. If you feel like this, just allow yourself to remember this is what the mind does, and overtime you are learning to train it.
The more you practice mindfulness meditation, the more skilled you will become and you will begin to notice changes in your life. If you’re just starting out, then ten minutes a day is fine. As you become experienced you can increase the time you meditate to longer periods such as half an hour in the morning and then increase to twice a day by meditating for half an hour in the evening as well.
I love meditating. I believe that had I not found it, I might have been lost. Here’s to you finding out more about yourself through your own mindfulness meditation practice!
About the author of this article:
Hiten Vyas is a personal development coach from the UK.
He is passionate about helping people increase their confidence and reduce their anxiety. You can find out more about him at his website: http://www.hitenvyas.com
What are your thoughts on this topic?
Do you meditate and which is your favorite meditative way? Do share your meditation thoughts, queries and comments in the comments section below. Hiten and I would be happy to help.
This Coming Monday : We will be talking about “Positively Happy Cooking”!! YAy yay woohoo!! Stay tuned :)
With Immense Love & Gratitude,
Counseling Psychologist/ Spiritual Counselor
Further Positive Reading :
- Simple ways to Nurture your Spirituality (positiveprovocations.com)
- Transform Yourself with Self-Compassion (positiveprovocations.com)
- How to lovingly support someone who is experiencing Hopelessness and Depression (positiveprovocations.com)
- Four ways to make sure that today ends better than yesterday (positiveprovocations.com)
- How to Be Non-Judgmental of Yourself and Others (positiveprovocations.com)