By Richard Paul Norton
This article will outline how to practice mindfulness meditation. Although the method may seem basic, contained within is everything you need to know how to begin practicing mindfulness right now. Mindfulness meditation is the purest simplest form of meditation there is. In my opinion mindfulness is the absolute best place to begin for someone who is interested in practicing awareness, focus, or any other kind of meditation.
Mindfulness is typically understood to mean a non-judgmental moment by moment awareness of one’s mind, body, and other phenomena. By the mind we mean the consciousness and thoughts, by the body we mean physical feelings, and by other phenomena we mean light and sound.
When we talk about non-judgmental awareness what we mean is that the present moment is observed and not judged. So if you were to look at a thought and have an emotional reaction to it, that would not be non-judgmental awareness.
If you were to then observe the emotional reaction and to look upon it with impartiality and just experience what it feels and then return to your observation of the breath, then you would be observing non-judgmentally.
Simple mindfulness meditation is very easy to begin. You do not need to make things complicated by sitting in strange positions or repeating mantras, all you need is yourself right now and this method below…
1. Mindfulness meditation position
Find a position where-by you are comfortable, can breathe well, but are unlikely to fall asleep. The recommended position is to sit in full-lotus on the floor with a straight back, but this is by no means necessary. I personally sit on the edge of a chair with a straight back – I usually wear loose clothing for this practice.
It does not matter if the eyes are open or closed – do what you find easiest. If the eyes are closed maybe you will become tired, in which case you may wish to open them. If the eyes are open you may become distracted, in which case you may wish to close them.
2. Mindfulness meditation breathing
It does not really matter how you breathe in mindfulness meditation. Actually it is far more important that you breathe in a way that is natural and relaxing than if you were to try to force the breath to be some other way and create sensations of resistance.
If you so chose you may wish to breathe deeply from the abdomen – this is the recommended method of breathing. In this form of breathing the chest only rises very slightly but instead the abdomen expands outwards with each in-breath and relaxes inwards with each out-breath.
3. Mindfulness meditation focus
Calmly bring you awareness to your breath. Choose the location you are going to focus lightly upon – it may be the edge of the nose or it may be the navel, whatever it may be is fine but stick with it throughout your session. For the purpose of this method I will assume you have chosen the edge of the nose.
Feel the sensation of the air flowing through the nose on the in and our breath, and the sensations of the edge of the nose in-between. Examine those sensations without judging what they are, without having feelings towards them. Just feel what they are, and examine them as closely as you can.
4. Being mindful
Be aware of any thoughts that go through your mind, but do not judge them. Just experience them for what they are, and then return your focus to the breath. Do not become involved in any thoughts; just let them pass unjudged without attachment.
5. Returning to the breath
If you should find that you have become distracted by a thought, perhaps you have become involved in a train of thought and have forgot about the breath, this is not a problem. Calmly return your focus to the breath. If the thought persists, do not resist it. Instead accept it into your awareness, look upon it, do not judge it, and return to your observation of the breath.
This is literally all you need to know how to begin your mindfulness meditation practice. Over time you can begin to develop a complete willingness to let go of any thoughts, and also of a non-judgmental acceptance of any and all things as they occur moment by moment.
Richard Paul Norton is an expert on self-development and life improvement techniques well known for his commitment, dedication, and honesty. He regularly writes articles only on his self-verified experiences at http://www.therealmind.com . Article reprinted with permission.
Copyright © 2009 by The Real Mind