Mindfulness Meditation

Mindfulness meditation is becoming more and more popular; so many different people are offering this meditation including psychologists and teachers. A good reason to explore this meditation and discover the gold that is in it. Let's first explore what mindfullness meditation is.

What is mindfulness?

  • Mindfulness is a conscious, purposeful way of tuning in to what’s happening in and around us.
  • Mindfulness is about observation without criticism; being compassionate with yourself.
  • In mindfulness meditation we are focusing our full attention on our breath as it flows in and out of your body.
  • As we focus on each breath in this way it allows us to observe our thoughts as they arise and disappear, or not.
  • As the goal is to stay focused and present with our breath we start to observe the millions of ways we get distracted; our focus gets pulled away.

What are the benefits of Mindfulness Meditation?

mindfulness meditation
  • It helps to increase our awareness on our thoughts, feelings and what we focus on.
  • One can deeply realize that they are not their feelings or thoughts and for sure one does not need to act upon them.
  • It improves mental focus and academic performance.
  • It also strengthens skills that contribute to emotional balance.
  • The best of our human qualities, including the capacity for kindness, empathy, and compassion, support and are supported by mindfulness.
  • Mindfulness and deep caring contribute to healthy relationships at school and at home.
  • Practicing mindfulness results into long-term changes in mood and increases ones overall happiness and well-being.

Where does mindfulness meditation come from?

Mindfulness has its origins in many ancient meditation practices and the first one being the Buddhist meditations. The practice of mindfulness of breathing is a meditation practice in which one maintains attention and mindfulness on the sensations of breathing. This type of meditation can also be referred to as Vipassana or “Insight” meditation, which is Buddhist in origin and about 2,600 years old.

Teaching Mindfulness Meditation

Gaining experience with mindfulness meditation sets you up to teach authentically within your comfort zone. There’s a huge difference between teaching something “I think ought to be useful” and something “I know, from my own experience, is useful.” You don’t need to have significant expertise—rather, you just need to practice yourself so you have an experiential foundation on which to base your teaching.

The learning sequence for mindfulness is essentially the same one you already use when you teach students other skills, from math to music, or language arts to athletics. Information and instruction come first followed by lots of practice. Over time, the brain becomes familiar with generating mindfulness. With repetition, these skills become more automatic and require less effort.

In the beginning, a few minutes to practice mindfulness can feel like an eternity, so using short sessions is appropriate. Then, as you become more accustomed to the techniques, you might choose to practice longer. It’s good to go at your own speed and see what happens. And just five minutes practice regularly is more useful in the long-run than longer sessions done more sporadically. All you need to do to get started is “Take 5.”

  • Begin by taking five minutes to sit still, by yourself, in a quiet, comfortable, and private place. Turn off the ringers of your phones, turn off the TV or radio, and put aside your “todo” list. If you’re concerned about how long you’re going to practice, set a timer that has an audible bell or flashing light.

  • It’s best to sit in a stable position, with your spine as straight as possible, either on a chair without leaning against the back, or cross-legged on a comfortable cushion set on the floor. Place both your hands in your lap or palm-down on your thighs. The idea is to get comfortable without getting caught up in trying to find a position of perfect comfort. And, of course, don’t sit in a way that causes you serious pain—or lulls you to sleep.
  • Once you’re settled, allow your gaze to soften and gently go out of focus as you keep your eyes slightly open. Look forward and downward at a 45°angle so that your eyelids relax and lower a little. Try to breathe through your nose, and let your lips, mouth, and jaw relax. Now that you’re in position, you can begin the basic breathing practice outlined in the following progression.

Take 5: Mindful Breathing Meditation

  • Breathe normally, paying attention to the feeling of the breath as it fills your lungs and then flows up and back out the way it came.
  • Notice when you lose awareness of the breath and start thinking about something else, daydreaming, worrying, or snoozing.
  • Return your attention to the breath, with kindness toward yourself and as little commentary as possible.

When you first begin mindfulness meditation, you’re likely to pay attention to the breath for a few seconds and then lose focus. That’s perfectly natural! You’ll eventually become aware that the focus of your attention moved away from the breath and onto something else. You might feel like you’re becoming even more mindless. All these sensations are normal, and in fact, they signify that the practice is working—you’re noticing what’s really happening. If thoughts about the quality of your practice come (because that’s what thoughts do…), don’t worry about them, just notice them and refocus on watching what’s happening right now.

The essence of this technique is attending to the process (the experience of noticing) without getting caught up in content (what the thoughts are about). First, simply notice thoughts as they first appear on the horizon of your mind. Keep some distance as you watch them and let them fade away. This is the difference between witnessing thoughts and engaging with them. It’s an attitude of, “Oh, here are some thoughts about work (or a relationship or something else), but I’m not going to get into them now.” Be gentle with yourself, and patient, and kind.

Teaching mindfulness meditation is an excerpt from "Mindful Teaching & Teaching Mindfulness by Deborah Schoeberlein

mindfulness

This is an inspiring magazine called "Mindful" I found on how to be mindful in all areas of life.

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