Mindfulness Meditation

This type of meditation is probably one of the easiest meditations for beginners, insofar as meditation is ever easy. I mean that it is very simple and easy to understand what to do, not necessarily that it is easy to actually do. I think that this meditation technique forms the basis of most other approaches. The key is again to start doing it and to do it regularly.

This type of meditation is gaining popularity especially since its benefits have been reasonably well researched and reported. The most well-known advocate, author and practitioner of this meditation technique is Jon Kabat-Zin, who has written many books on this topic, produced guided meditation CDs, and who gives lecture tours about it. As with most other types of meditation, you could easily become distracted by all the material that is out there and spend months reading up, rather than simply getting down to practicing it!

I cannot emphasise enough that meditation of any kind, including this one, is not some kind of mysterious, mystical activity. Like anything else you want to learn, you need to actually do it, not just read about it. But because it is so simple and safe, this type of meditation is an excellent meditation for beginners. So here is an example of this meditation technique:

Mindfulness meditation exercise

Step 1

Make yourself comfortable by lying, sitting or standing in a relaxed position. Sitting is probably best, but you need to experiment with this. You can do this meditation with your eyes open or closed, so you could do it standing up, even while you're on the bus. You can also do it lying down, in which case keeping your eyes open will help you to stay awake.

Step 2

The key of this meditation is awareness. So, once you are comfortable, start simply by reminding yourself that this is a simple awareness meditation. Keep your eyes open.

Step 3

Find something to rest your gaze on and allow your eyes to relax.

Step 4

Gently bring your attention to your breathing. First of all, notice your breathing. How do you notice it? Where do you feel it? What does it feel like? You do not need to answer these questions though. They are just questions to help you identify your breathing as distinct from everything else you perceive or sense.

Step 5

Once you have discovered your breathing, just allow your awareness to stay with that. Feel your breathing, experience it. It is likely that your awareness will drift off to other sensations, an ache, a sound, a thought, a feeling, a twitch. That's OK. Once you realise this, just return your awareness to your breathing. Do this for a few minutes.

Step 6

After maybe 3-5 minutes. Let go. Take a deep breath. Stretch and allow your awareness to resume it usual state of responsiveness to external and internal stimulation. Get up and resume you normal activity.

After the meditation
Remember that after a meditation, it is a good idea to spend a few minutes reflecting on the experience. You could write down what it was like for you in your own personal journal. Give yourself time to resume your normal activities, after drinking a glass of water.

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