Mindfulness creates an intimate awareness of the union between body, mind, and spirit. Training exercises such as meditation, deep breathing, and yoga allow an individual to gain consciousness and cultivate the connections between body, mind and spirit.
The practice of meditation is an effective way to calm the mind and reduce anxiety. The best way to realize these benefits is to follow a few simple guidelines when practicing meditation.
A key technique is vicara – focus on a single object or point, thus freeing the mind from distraction. Many alternate techniques incorporate the same principle as vicara.
“focus on a single object or point, thus freeing the mind from distraction”
A classic technique is to imagine a black dot on a white surface and concentrate on that. Another method is to gaze at a candle flame or a Buddha statue. Yet another way is called Japa; Japa meditation uses japa beads and a mantra to focus the mind. The mantra can be selected based on the aims the individual is trying to achieve.
Various tools can be used by beginners to aid their meditative practice. A cushion to support the back is advised if one has trouble sitting erect. For practitioners of Japa yoga, a set of mala beads is used to count mantras.
One should not rely on tools to meditate well, but beginners can make use of meditation aids. Things like music, Japa beads, and incense can be effective.
Your environment is an important consideration and should be selected with care. The main requirement for a good environment for meditation is that it should be peaceful and free of distractions. Places that cause anxiety and other undesirable feelings should be avoided by beginners. Although it is common for monks who have practiced meditation throughout their lifetime to deliberately seek out such places in order to challenge their mental and spiritual capacity.
The meditative posture is also a key factor. An upright and erect posture while sitting is a good start for beginners. This posture is most conducive to various energy and other circulatory flows with the body.
Mindfulness is a form of meditation that allows your mind to focus on the present. The goal is to achieve a mind that is calm, stable and through this practice, you can develop the mind’s strength and harmony. Mindfulness produces a mind that is intelligent even in deep meditation. Studies suggest that mindfulness mediation decreases stress, and improves mood and immune function.
“Studies suggest that mindfulness mediation decreases stress, and improves mood and immune function.”
Choosing the right place to practice mindfulness is the first step in achieving a strong, harmonious mind. You should find a quiet space, even if it is small, that makes you feel uplifted. It should be free of noise and disturbances, and situations that are likely to trigger feelings of anger, jealousy or other negative emotions. These distractions will compromise your practice.
Your posture affects your mind so good posture while practicing mindfulness meditation is vital to your success. When you sit down either cross-legged on the floor or upright in a chair with your feet touching the floor, spend some time getting your posture just right.
You should feel like your spine is being pulled up from the top of your head and then settle in. Your shoulders and hips should be level, your spine strong and stacked. If you feel hazy or drowsy, make sure your posture is correct. You also should hold a soft gaze in a downward direction, a couple of inches in front of your nose to minimize distractions.
When you start practicing mindfulness meditation, you will have a heightened sense of awareness of your body and of where you are. You will then notice the whole feeling of your breathing going in and out. Your breathing should be natural, not forced and with each breath, you will become relaxed.
Meditation should not be a time to let your mind wander. Rather, it should be a time to train and work your mind. Reminding yourself of this before each time you meditate is helpful. Don’t be afraid to say it out loud for inspiration.
When thoughts come up while you are practicing mindfulness meditation, observe them and return to focusing on your breathing. If you find that your mind begins to wander, simply take note of where it went, let it go and don’t judge yourself harshly.
Mindfulness meditation is a simple practice that teaches you to do a lot while you are doing nothing at all. When your meditation time comes to an end, sit for a couple of minutes to increase your awareness further, then slowly get up and go about your day.
Universal Meditation contains meditation for beginners and seasoned meditators. Learn more here.