Mindfulness Practice Suggestions

 

Mindfulness Meditation Practice Suggestions

Find a quiet place, free from distractions. Turn off the phone, put your cat in the other room, remind yourself you can do your to-do list later, etc. External distractions are hard, but internal distractions are often much worse! Freeing your external world of as much as you can will make being with the internal distractions easier.

Start with a small amount of time, even if it’s only 1-3 minutes at first. Notice how what happens as you practice.

Increase your time as you feel comfortable. There’s no competition in this. Training the mind is vital whether it’s for one minute or one hour.

Traditional mindfulness meditation literature will tell you there are better ways to sit than others. For the purpose of starting a practice and enjoying it as much as possible, let go of trying to meditation “right.” Sit in a position that’s as comfortable as possible so your body can relax.

If it’s comfortable for you to close your eyes, go ahead. If not, let your eyes close a bit, soften your gaze and let it rest on something a little in front of you and slightly down. That will invite your eyes to relax more.

Notice your breathing. Don’t try to breathe one way or another, don’t force anything. Just notice. Let go of any thoughts about how to do it right, what you’re doing wrong. Let go of all that. Just notice.

As you tend to your breathing notice any thoughts or feelings that arise and let them go. It’s like you are lying on your back in soft grass on a warm day, looking up at the clouds and notice one go by, then the next, then the next, and the next. Noting, letting go, noticing and letting go.

Your mind will wander! Don’t despair. That’s the nature of the mind. Each of the many times it does, gently return back to noticing your breath.

For some people breathing is a really complicated and emotionally laden experience. If you find breathing difficult don’t force yourself to focus on it. Choose something else instead.

For many people, counting can be a very satisfying point of entry for mindfulness meditation. Practice counting from one to whatever. As your mind wanders, just start at one again.

Other people find it helpful to make a small movement, like with a finger raising and lowering. Try focusing on that and return to the movement as your mind wanders.

If you find mindfulness meditation too complicated, then go back to the section on concentration meditation and use that instead.

Often people will need to use both mindfulness and concentration practices during the same sitting period to keep stabilized.

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