Demystifying Meditation and Mindfulness May 08 2013, 2 Comments

Does your mind race with hundreds of random thoughts throughout the day? 

Thoughts such as, “I’ve got to get the early train tomorrow for a work meeting over breakfast, I can’t forget to pick up the dry cleaning on my way to work, the kids need their permission slip signed for a school excursion, I promised my boss that report by lunchtime, I’ve got to call the insurance agency to update our policy, it’s my wife’s birthday in two weeks’ time and I need to make a dinner reservation … and the thoughts go on and on. 

I call this raciness ‘mind chatter’. It can keep you up at night and distract you throughout the day. If you are doing this, it’s time to calm down and still your mind - through meditation and mindfulness. 

So, what’s the difference between the two? Mindfulness is being in a meditative state throughout the day, focusing on one thing at a time. It can be when you’re walking, swimming, playing your favourite sport or enjoying a pastime. 

You can even practise mindfulness at work, by focusing on one task at a time. Give it your full attention. Don’t get distracted by checking emails, jumping between tasks, or worrying about the next thing. 

Meditation takes you to a place of pure consciousness, where inner knowing and a sense of contentment emerge. 

Meditate at least ten minutes daily – it can be anywhere. In the park, at work, the airport, on public transport, it doesn’t matter. Once you have a routine meditation fits in with your life and increases the quality of your life. 

Some might think that spending ten to 30 minutes each day is decadent or even selfish. Consider this. When you’re meditating you are working on being the best person that you can be. You’re finding strength from within, so you can be a better, more effective person in your every day living. 

There are no set rules for meditation, but you need to do it, and you need to make it a habit. Persistence is key. Here’s how: 

  1. Start with just ten minutes each day. 
  2. Do it around the same time each day that suits you and your family’s routine. It can be before the kids wake up, during your lunch break at work, or before going to bed. This will help create a trigger in your mind and will help you to set a routine. 
  3. Find somewhere with minimal interruptions, is quiet or peaceful. Make sure your phone is off the hook or on silent. 
  4. Be comfortable. You don’t have to sit in any particular way it can be on a pillow on the floor, on the couch, or a park bench. 
  5. Focus on your breathing. Shut your eyes and place the tip of your tongue touching the roof of your mouth. Through your nostrils breathe in deeply, taking breathe into the pit of your stomach. Feel your chest rise and expand. On the out breathe, release all tension and stress out of your body, feeling lighter and stress free. Let your thoughts come and go like waves on the ocean, but pay no attention to them. If you feel your mind chattering (you will!) just continue to bring your focus back to your breath. 

It takes practice and persistence. Gradually increase the time each day. The important thing is not to give up. 

By practising meditation and mindfulness each day, soon you’ll have a mind that is clear, still and open. You will have the inner wisdom to handle anything life throws at you. It will allow you to truly listen and trust yourself and your inner voice. 

You’ll also feel more compassion, appreciation and understanding for people, which will help you go out into the world and really make a difference.