We are simply committing ourselves to paying attention to our life. We use meditation to help us in that attention process. We are not trying to become good meditators. We are trying to wake up.
~ William Martin
When you take the emphasis off the effort of being mindful and onto the results you’re trying to achieve, it becomes easier.
Mindfulness is only the vehicle: it’s just a method you can use to get you to where you want to be.
It is not something in itself to focus on – the journey itself and the destination are far more important.
Focus instead on just being aware of this present breath, this present moment, and your space in it.
One breath at a time.
One of the quickest ways to calm down and become mindful is to take a few deep breaths.
Breathing is something that we do so unconsciously that we’re not aware we’re doing it. Taking conscious control of our breathing helps to calm us down and helps us focus.
It can be hard to become aware of your breathing. The easiest way to connect with your breath is to take a few, abnormally deep and slow breaths first, holding the incoming breath for one second before letting it out again. Once you’ve done this a few times let your breathing pattern return to normal, but keep your focus on it. If you find this difficult (and I do – my mind loves wandering off to explore corners of my brain that it hasn’t visited for a while) try to concentrate on the sensation of the breath entering and leaving your body.
You might feel it in your nostrils, or your throat, your lungs, or your stomach – wherever you feel it is the place you should focus on. For me, it’s the lungs – on an inhale I feel my chest expand and rise, and my back straighten – on exhale my chest falls and my back goes back to it’s normal position.
Take time to try to ’feel’ the pause between breaths (this is hard because there is nothing going on, but try anyway).
If you lose focus – or more likely, WHEN you lose focus, don’t be harsh and judgemental of yourself. Don’t immediately think that this simple act is beyond your capabilities. Just smile gently and bring your attention back to your breath. Be prepared to do this often – your breath is like a naughty child who will wander off again and again once your back is turned. Just keep bringing it back, bringing it back….and gradually it will learn to stand still. Hopefully.
COMMENTS AND QUESTIONS WELCOME!