In this new and easy guide to mindfulness meditation, you’ll learn how to tap into your natural propensity for happiness and inner peace.
Lots of people see their lives as being a thing of the past. Some see their lives as being a thing of the future. But life is now. Life is here. Life is this breath, this moment, this experience.
Life is lived in an infinity of now. It’s only by tapping into that now that we can ever truly live. So how do you tap into now? The answer is mindfulness meditation.
Mindfulness is about focusing your mind on the present moment
To be at your best, both mentally and physically, you need to focus your mind on the present moment. That’s where this easy guide to mindfulness meditation comes in.
Mindfulness is the practice of centering the mind on the present moment.
Thich Nhat Hanh said, “Breathing in, I know that I am breathing in.”
Likewise, a famous Zen proverb reads, “When sitting, sit.”
Whatever you are doing in the present moment, do that one thing. (If would like to try try this right now, take a look at these 25 mindful habits. You will very quickly see what mindfulness is all about).
Mindfulness is focusing your mind on one thing. Being that thing that. Being just that one thing.
Mindfulness would be easy and natural if it wasn’t for all the stress in life.
Mindfulness sounds easy. And perhaps it should be easy. But it’s not. And the reason mindfulness is not easy is because we live in a society of constant stress and pressure. Those stresses build up in our mind. They could your vision until you can no longer see straight, until you can no longer live in the present moment.
It is easy to re-develop mindfulness. Simply take one breath and focus your mind on the present moment and you will have returned to the now. The difficulty lies in remembering to stay focused on the present moment.
As a muscle must strengthen, so too must mindfulness be cultivated.
It takes effort, in the beginning, to start being mindful. While there are times that we are naturally mindful—such as when we see a beautiful sunset—there are far more times when our consciousness slips, times when we sink into our minds. With this easy guide to mindfulness meditation you’ll learn how to stop sinking into your mind.
As the lotus flower keeps its stigma ever pointing towards the sun, so must we keep our mind ever pointing towards the present moment. That’s the purpose of this easy mindfulness guide: to help you to keep your mind on the present moment.
The lotus flower needs the sun to grow. The mind needs the present moment in order to be nourished. This is both spiritual and scientific truth. But it is also something you can see for yourself very quickly. Follow the mindfulness exercises below and you will discover how wonderful and powerful mindfulness truly is. By the end of this easy guide to mindfulness meditation you will understand why mindfulness and meditation have been scientifically proven to offer over 110 mental and physical health benefits.
So, let’s start our easy guide to mindfulness meditation with a simple exercise.
To get started on our easy guide to mindfulness meditation, simply take one breath. Allow that breath to fill your body. Pay attention to the sensations of that breath energy moving through your body. Then observe the sensation of that breath leaving your body.
This is just one mindful breath. But if you take that one mindful breath, you will immediately feel more relaxed.
Take your time before continuing. Just breathe. Just breathe. And be. Remember, this is an easy guide to mindfulness, so you should feel at ease.
During mindfulness meditation you may notice that thoughts enter your mind. This is perfectly natural. What matters is how you react to those thoughts. When being mindful, simply observe your thoughts calmly. Don’t challenge them. Don’t reject them. Don’t judge them. Just observe. Perhaps tell yourself, “That is just a thought.” This will help you to distance yourself from your thoughts, to escape the trappings of the mind. Having observed the thought, return to focusing on your breathing.
Mindfulness produces happiness. I’m sure that you will already be feeling more relaxed and happy having just started this easy guide to mindfulness meditation. Do you feel the positive sensations in your body?
Mindfulness is akin to focus and concentration. It is focusing or concentrating on the present moment. You may have noticed that when you have to perform a task that demands your complete focus, you feel relaxed and happy. Try walking along a thin beam, for instance. You will find that although the challenge is a difficult one you are not stressed about it. You cannot be stressed about it, because your mind is so focused on the present moment, so focused on walking along the beam.
When you meditate you meditate on one thing and focus on that one thing absolutely. By doing so you find relaxation and happiness. It’s my hope that by the end of this easy guide to mindfulness you will feel both relaxed and happy.
When practicing mindfulness meditation you may choose to focus on all manner of things. You may choose to focus on your breath, or on a candle, or on anything else. You then focus on this thing absolutely. This quiets the mind.
When you focus on something absolutely, that thing magnifies in front of you, revealing its true beauty. Try really seeing–really seeing–a sunset. Observe the sunset, focus on it absolutely, watch the interplay of light and let that light be your mind. Be one with it. You will find a state of awe, one of the most positive mental states of all.
Awe naturally creates mindfulness. When something enraptures us our minds become silent. The object of beauty captivates us completely. It silences our minds and we become one with it. And this is the highest pleasure of all, this state in which we have escaped our minds and found oneness with an object of beauty.
Mindfulness training usually begins with breathing. The first exercise I recommend to all my students is to meditate on the in-breath and the out-breath. This is the best place to start our easy guide to mindfulness meditation. Just breathe. Observe the sensations of your breath entering and leaving your body. When breathing, be your breath. Let that one breath be your world. Let your mind be framed by it. Know that you are breathing.
You may find it helpful to actually say “Breathe in” and “Breathe out”. This will remind you to stay focused on your breathing. Be mindful of the thing you are doing. This is no different to mindfully eating or mindfully speaking. Focus on the thing being done. It is simple. And yet the power and the beauty of mindfulness meditation is found in that simplicity, it is found in allowing your mind to just be.
Some people have yet to realise the joy of breathing. And perhaps that sounds a little silly, “The joy of breathing,” for what joy can be found in the breath? When you are mindful of your breathing, however, when you allow your breathing to be everything, you will find that it is a divine thing indeed. You will experience true pleasure just by breathing.
Mindfulness allows you to experience the rich fullness of life’s pleasures. As you practice this easy guide to mindfulness meditation you will feel more awake to the richness of life.
Easy guide to mindfulness meditation part 2: Concentration
The second part of our easy guide to mindfulness meditation is not dissimilar to the first part. This time you need to follow your in-breath all the way to the end. Then recognise the moment at which your in-breath becomes an out-breath, and then follow the breath all the way out. Follow your breathing all the way, from the moment you begin breathing in to the moment when your breath becomes “neutral breath”, and then follow your breath all the way out.
Do not worry about the breath itself. Do not try to make your breath long or short. The duration does not matter. What is important is the focus. Make sure that your mind remains focused on your breath for the entire breath. And remember that this is an easy guide to mindfulness; so you’ve no need to exert yourself.
The Easy Guide To Mindfulness Meditaiton Part 3: Body Awareness
The next step in our easy guide to mindfulness meditation is to take the awareness you created with the first two mindfulness exercises and to extend that awareness to your entire body. Breathe in mindfully. Then, at the moment between in-breath and out-breath, be aware of your entire body.
This is mindfulness of body and body sensations. This body mindfulness exercise will help you to extend your focus to your entire body, and will also help to develop your mind body connection. Your mind and body operate at their peak when they are made one. Body and mind should be doing the same thing. The body is breathing in and so is the mind. The body is breathing out and so is the mind.
All three parts of our easy guide to mindfulness meditation have been simple, but they are also very powerful and very beneficial. Most of the time our minds and bodies are disconnected. We feel like we’re mentally drifting away. Half the time we are in a daydream, or simply oblivious. You may notice that you do something without even being aware of doing it. That is lack of mindfulness. When you are mindful, you are completely aware of everything you are doing. That’s why Zen monks seem to be so in the moment, as though they are living and breathing this moment right now.
Easy guide to mindfulness meditation part 4: relieving tension from the body.
You likely are aware of different tensions in your body. Some of the more common tensions include a tension at the back of the neck, tension at the base of the spine, and tension in the jaw, and tension in rising headaches. These tensions leads to various bodily pains. Tension in the jaw, for instance, will lead to headaches and can also cause the teeth to deteriorate from pressure.
This part of our easy guide to mindfulness meditation will help to relieve all those tensions.
The exercise is again very simple, the aim is to become aware of those tensions around your body. Simply observe those tensions. Then, once you have become mindfully aware of the tensions, imagine them vanishing, as though they are melting away. This is a completely relaxation technique that will lead you to a state of deep relaxation in both body and mind. By this part of our easy guide to mindfuless meditation you should be beginning to feel relaxation throughout your body and mind. But don’t worry if your’e not there yet, you can return to this easy guide to mindfulness as often as you want, just bookmark this page (CTRL+D on your keyboard) or follow us on Twitter and Facebook.
You can do this meditation anytime, anywhere. If you happen to be in a queue at a store, for instance, take deep breath in. Be mindful of the breath. Extend your mindfulness to the body. Become aware of any tension. Imagine the tension melting. Then mindfully breathe out. It sounds like quite a long technique but you can complete it in one breath and you can also do it almost anywhere and at almost any time.
You may be surprised by how easy this easy guide to mindfulness is, but really the entire point is the simplicity. But there is a paradox here too. Because although meditation is simple it is also hard. Or, I suppose I should say, it is easy to understand but hard to do. The reason why meditation is so hard is because you have developed a habit of living in your mind. That’s one of the negative of modern society. It forces the unnatural to be natural. The unnatural act of being mindless is today the norm. The natural act of being mindful has become extraordinary.
By continual using this easy guide to mindfulness meditation you will return your mind to its natural divine state, the state at which you live in the present moment.
I’m sure you agree that mindfulness meditation is a truly wonderful thing. Learning to meditate properly will free you from stress, will promote relaxation and happiness, and will significantly improve your health. But more than anything, it will put you in this moment, now. Mindfulness will make you more aware of the beauty of life, and will make your life more pleasurable. But meditation must be learnt the right way.
The Dalai Lama himself said that it is very important not to rush meditation, that meditation must be learnt the proper way. That’s the purpose of the my new book, Welcome To silence: A Practical Guide To Mindfulness And Meditation. It is the world’s most comprehensive guide to meditation and mindfulness. In simple to-follow-guides I will lead you through detailed instruction on all major mindfulness and meditation techniques. You will find the book of immense value. I hope you enjoy it.
Thanks for reading.