Mindfulness affects our performance at work, our relationships with others and how we feel about ourselves. Its easy to get caught up in our inner chatter and the chaos and stress of everyday life. Mindfulness is about resting the mind in its natural state, free from distractions. It is being aware, present, and in flow.
Setting aside a few minutes each day to meditate, and just arrive in your body, be fully aware, and connected with all your senses, leaves you with the sense of having touched upon that underlying sense of contentment. It is that place where, in that moment, you just know that everything is okay. The repercussions of this can be life changing.
Most people live their lives moving from one distraction to another. When they are at work they are too busy, too distracted to be aware of how they really feel. When we're at home winding down, our thoughts are running wild. We've become addicted to keeping busy and being preoccupied, even if it is just the busy mind chatter of thinking. All of these distractions and the repetitious, unproductive and often stressful thoughts, affect our ability to concentrate, focus, perform and live at anywhere near our full potential. Furthermore, when the mind is endlessly busy with these autonomous thoughts, there's no room for moments of inspiration, and creative thoughts to arise. It seems we no longer have any reference point for what it means to be still, simply relaxing the mind. Creating some spaciousness, and stepping back and just being an observer of your thoughts, rather than chasing and entertaining a thought, will allow your inner creative intelligence to shine.
Mindfulness does not require you to make drastic changes in your external life. There's no need to give up anything, or radically change your lifestyle in anyway. Mindfulness is about learning how to change your experience of that lifestyle. You can live as you are, but with an added underlying sense of fulfillment.
When starting your meditation practice, be unconcerned with the intensity or the volume of thoughts that come into your mind at first. Just as easy thoughts flow in, they can flow out. No need to force anything or try to "empty" your mind. Make it more simple. Try to be an observer. With practice, you will notice you are more in control, and thoughts become more productive.
The following is a basic and short practice to start training your mind. You can gradually increase the amount of time you spend in stillness.
3 Minute Meditation
1. Find a comfortable position to sit in.
2. Be at peace with whatever is in your mind.
3. Close your eyes.
4. Gently bring your attention to the sensation of your feet resting on the floor, the chair taking the full weight of your body, and your hands resting on your lap. Arrive here now, in your body.
5. Spend a few moments just focusing on your breath. Observe and feel the rise and fall of your chest and abdomen. Take a slow, long, deep breath in through your nose, pause for a second, and let it out slowly through your mouth. Now, repeat, but paying attention to how you are breathing. Take another slow, long, deep belly breath in, fill up your lungs completely, pause for a second, and let in out slowly. You want a natural and rhythmically breathing pattern.
6. Slowly count backwards from 5 down to 1. See the number in your mind, then watch it disappear. Move down to the next number, see it in your mind, then make it disappear. Continue the slow, rhythmical breaths and counting down to 1.
Meditation needs to be repeated on a regular basis if it is to be learned and refined. Make a regular commitment to build up momentum for it to become part of your daily routine.