The concept of mindfulness has been present in our language for a long time, even before it became a trendy practice. It involves being aware and attentive to various aspects of our daily lives, such as time, language, expenses, and physical movements. Essentially, being mindful means paying close attention to what is happening around us. For instance, when you have a plane to catch at noon, you become acutely conscious of the time in the morning. Similarly, when your annual performance review is approaching, you become more observant of even the smallest details at work. If you are on a diet, you become more vigilant about what you eat.
The term “mindful” in mindfulness meditation means the same as in our everyday language. But what does it entail to be mindful in the context of mindfulness meditation? Essentially, it involves paying close attention to a chosen object, typically the breath. In fact, we have the freedom to be aware of various things like sounds, wind, physical sensations, or thoughts, among others. As long as we intentionally focus on the present moment, we practice mindfulness.
Differentiating between everyday mindfulness and mindfulness meditation:
How is mindfulness during meditation different from the attention required in everyday situations such as selecting the right tie, scarf or wording? For one, the objective is different. While everyday mindfulness focuses on getting the colors, textures or words right, meditating mindfully is all about the process. Mindfulness means being conscious of what’s happening with the sounds, wind, physical sensations, or breath, right here, right now, without any action. We remain aware, simple and pure.
Mindful thinking does not involve any magical methods or attempts to rid ourselves of thoughts or itches. Instead, we learn to stay aware of when we drift away and get caught up in thoughts that are not in the present moment. This is because grabbing onto thoughts is our old habit, much like a kite grabs the wind and flies away with it. However, by training ourselves in mindfulness, we are trying out a new habit, which is the habit of being mindful.
One way in which “meditation mindful” differs from “everyday mindful” is the focus on the present moment. In meditation, we aim to be fully aware and present in the moment without judgment. In contrast, everyday mindfulness can include future considerations, such as catching a plane or managing dietary choices.
Research shows that practicing “meditation mindful” can enhance mindfulness in everyday life. This straightforward technique doesn’t require special circumstances or equipment and helps develop our ability to concentrate. So, how do we practice mindfulness meditation? Let’s explore one proven method:
Find a quiet and comfortable spot in your surroundings, whether it be a chair, cushion or bench, and sit up straight. Take a moment to shift your attention away from your busy mind and become present in your space. Focus on your body and notice how it feels to be present without the need for analysis or adjustment. Then, shift your attention to your breath and see if you can mindfully observe it. With each inhalation and exhalation, bring awareness to the experience without any judgment. You may also notice the pauses in between breaths. Maintain this mindful focus for a few minutes or more. When it’s time to stop, take note of how you feel in a benevolent manner. That’s all there is to it! In just a few minutes of attentive breathing, you can feel refreshed and centered. An excellent way to get started on your mindfulness journey is to learn how to meditate with our online meditation essentials course. If you are still reading, then you must be interested in meditation practice and its outcomes, such as long-lasting happiness and well-being. Rest assured, you have come to the right place.