Today, more than ever, many are seeking methods to keep us feeling stable, balanced and aware of where we are going. Meditation is the answer – an ancient intelligence by which one can find that sense of peace and balance within. It is a method whereby one can feel the sense of completeness. In that sense of completeness comes a feeling of bliss and comfort. Meditation comes as a big challenge for many people. Sitting still, without thought, might seem like a simple thing to do, but when one is faced with silence, the mind with its prolonged state of thinking – days, weeks, years of thinking – wants to continue. The momentum can be so great that not thinking becomes nearly impossible, even painful.
Meditation is an exercise. It is a method that needs constant practice to develop. Like learning a language, one lesson will not make thee wise. We say fifteen minutes twice a day is a common time span to begin training in meditation. There are many methods for learning meditation, but the paradox is that thinking about how to meditate defeats the purpose.
Mindfulness is a part of meditation, but more so, it is a process by which one can transition into the deeper aspects of meditation by becoming more focused in the moment. Mindfulness brings you into a state of intelligence because mindfulness is whereby the mind is full of only the current physical undertaking. Think of it like drinking a glass of lemonade. The experience will be of drinking lemonade. If you were to add cranberry juice, oatmeal, beer and french fries, it would become so convoluted that the focus becomes thwarted. There is confusion. This is how many people run their minds on a day to day basis. The body may be on a task, but the mind is elsewhere. This is the most applicative understanding of what mindfulness is.
Mindfulness is being focused on “what is” in this moment. This is not to be confused with how we create ourselves through vision. We say circumstances don’t matter, but rather the state of mind matters. The mind creates the matter. One can be frustrated about a circumstance with all kinds of fruitless or impractical thoughts, or instead, find joyful feelings that will guide to more joyful experiences regardless of the current circumstance.
This does not conflict with mindfulness. Mindfulness is knowing what you are doing – be it making a cup of coffee, sitting in the park, or sitting in jail. Mindfulness brings a sense of commitment to the moment. It is to know what you are doing, or about to do, and do it with full intent. It does not mean you cannot do two things at once. It simply means to understand what it is you are choosing to do. This in itself can help lead you towards meditation.
A mindful person can be quite pleasant to be around because mindfulness brings a sense of peace and bliss. Knowing who you are and owning what you choose in the moment with a state of commitment breeds confidence and honor.
How to practice mindfulness? Here are a few exercises:
- Get yourself a grape, raisin or slice of apple. Spend five minutes eating it. Savour it. Narrate it. Mindful eating is the best way to be sure you are chewing your food enough and can even be combined with healing visualization of the food providing health and vitality to the body.
- In the temple, we learn walking meditation. Spend one hour walking. Feel exactly how your foot is placed on the earth. Do this barefoot if you can. Narrate out loud to yourself while walking: right foot, step, left foot, step, right foot, step, left foot, step. Allow each step 5-10 seconds. Do it.
- There are many ways to apply mindfulness exercise. Come up with some of your own.
When mindfulness is present, truth exists. See if you can find it.