Mindfulness Meditation – Part 1
What is Mindfulness Meditation
(Anmol: I would like to present the following guest post from Axel Gjertsen. This is part 1 of a 2 part series on the profound art of Mindfulness Meditation. This meditation comes from the great school of Buddhism and is my personal choice for practicing moment to moment awareness and making spiritual progress.
It is always great to learn from someone who has real and deep experience of a subject and this is all the more important when it comes to meditation and spirituality. Axel, who was an actual Buddhist Monk and now shares his wisdom, knowledge and expertise with you on his great meditation website Axel G.
If you would like to be a guest author on Master of Meditation and Yoga, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org).
Mindfulness Meditation For Beginners
By Axel Gjertsen
It’s refreshing to take a break every now and then, from the hustle and bustle of modern life. No matter whether you’re at the office or in the mountains, all it takes to become mindful is a conscious in and out breath…
In this post we’ll take a close look at how to get started with mindfulness meditation. There is no need to have any previous meditation experience and I can assure you that mindfulness is both fun and easy to learn.
What is mindfulness?
Everyone knows what it’s like to be under stress. It’s an unpleasant mental state that makes you restless. When you’re stressed out the mind speeds aimlessly from one thought to the next, in an endless cycle.
Mindfulness on the other hand, is a state of relaxed attention. Whenever the mind is centered, it’s naturally calm. The absence of aimless thought processes calms the mind.
When and where can I practice?
Mindfulness can be practiced anywhere and at anytime. But in the very beginning, it’s best to practice where there are few distractions. For example, in the bedroom just after waking up in the morning or before going to bed at night.
It’s ideal to practice mindfulness meditation while commuting. You can also take a short break to center yourself when you’re having a busy day at work.
Practice mindfulness meditation alone or with friends. It’s really inspiring to practice in a group.
How do I know that I’m mindful?
As a beginner, it’s somewhat difficult to know for sure since everything is new. If you’re asking the question, it’s unlikely that you’re mindful. However, with practice you will familiarize yourself with mindfulness and recognize the mental state.
Whenever you catch yourself thinking during practice, you have regained mindfulness. Celebrate that moment as opposed to putting yourself down for getting caught up in thinking. Now that you’re mindful, gently go back to your meditation object. That’s a skillful approach to mindfulness meditation.
Which mindfulness technique is best for me?
Try the mindfulness techniques that interest you and stick to one that comes easily for you. The more natural the practice feels, the better. In this post, you’ll be introduced to a wide range of mindfulness techniques that are suitable for beginners.
To be mindful is to give relaxed attention to your meditation object, as opposed to concentrating with all your might. Don’t try too hard which only makes for physical and mental tension. A relaxed body makes for a relaxed mind, and the other way around.
Always make yourself as comfortable as possible. Lying down is one of the best postures for mindfulness meditation, since it’s natural to relax the body while lying down. However, any body posture will do as long as it’s comfortable.
Some meditators find it helpful to put up mindfulness reminders in their homes and at work. You can either post small notes, nature photographs, incense sticks, images of Christ, Buddhas or anything else that reminds you of mindfulness. If you want to be discrete, bring a small pot plant to work and let that be your mindfulness reminder.
There are endless opportunities to practice mindfulness throughout the day, a moment here and a moment there. It’s not about putting in hours of practice. A conscious in and out breath is all it takes to reap the fruits of mindfulness meditation. Over time, your attention will grow more steadfast, you will get more deeply relaxed and feel more refreshed.
Mindfulness meditation is the perfect tool when you have some time at hand. Give relaxed attention to your meditation object while waiting for the train, bus or plane.
For some meditators it’s easier to concentrate with the eyes closed. By closing the eyes, you eliminate many distractions. Others find it easier to practice in a dark room or with the lights dimmed low, which is calming and also removes distractions. Try and see what works best for you.
Only give attention to one meditation object at the time.
Best of luck with your practice!
(In part 2 of this series, Axel will present over 50 tips and techniques to help you learn and master mindfulness meditation. So stay tuned for that article later this week).
Axel Gjertsen is a former Buddhist monk and lives in Thailand. He runs axel g which is a personal development site with a focus on meditation. Feel free to contact him for some friendly advice about mindfulness meditation.