Mindfulness meditation focuses on the ultimate present in order to not worry about the future and not to be affected by the pain of the past. Being aware of the present and not being judgmental about it is the key to mindfulness meditation. It is referred to as the insight meditation by many practitioners.
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There are several techniques to tame the wild mind into a vision of which one will merely give their attention to but detaching from it at the same time. However, before we look into how one can effectively meditate, let us first understand when and where mindfulness meditation originated, and how it can be beneficial for those people who practice this type of meditation.
Origins Of Mindfulness Meditation
The practice of mindfulness meditation originated from Buddhist teachings in Ancient India. Shakyamuni Siddhrtha Gautama found many answers to countless underlying questions while spending enormous time under the Bodhi tree. The exact length of his mindfulness meditation varies from different texts. Many texts said it was 7 weeks, some texts says it was 6 days, and some texts says it was 6 years.
However, the exact length is unknown. He became aware of the world and even remembered all of his existences in his past life. He was named the “Buddha”, which means the ‘enlightened one’. Just like Buddha, followers of Buddhism are on their quest to achieve enlightenment and thus mindfulness meditation is an important element in order to achieve that enlightenment.
In Buddhism, one of the principal teachings of Buddha is the Noble Eight Fold Path. The Noble Eightfold path signifies elimination of suffering to achieve self-awakening. The seventh category which is the ‘Right Mindfulness’ is related to mindfulness meditation. Right mindfulness is also known as ‘right memory’ or ‘right awareness’. In this factor, one must always keep their minds awake to occurrences that influence both mind and body. The practitioner must neither speak nor act because of forgetfulness.
Buddhism is practiced in several countries in Asia. The Indian Sanskrit ‘smrti’ defines to be “that which is remembered”. In Tibet, they call it “trenpa. In China, they say “nian”. Buddhist scholars in China interpreted ‘smrti’ as ‘nian’ which signifies ‘to read aloud; think of; remember, or remind’. Bernhard Karlgren, a Swedish sinologist and philologist, amplified ‘nian’ as a state of reflection on which the practitioner learn by heart and reflects. The English word “mindfulness” is translated in 1881 by Thomas William Rhys Davids. He referred to mindfulness as the state of the mind being mindful and thoughtful. He also quoted mindfulness to be the state where the mind is active and aware of its surroundings.
However, in ancient China, Buddhism and mindfulness meditation is not widely accepted. There are Zen scholars and leaders who criticized mindfulness meditation and the potential dangers of misunderstanding ‘nian’. Gudo Wafu Nishijima quoted that mindfulness can be alternately referred to as a type of idealistic philosophy when intentionally it is not. Muho Noelke, criticize that we should not be mindful about everything that we do. He quoted to let the talk talk, let the walk walk, let the eating eat, and let the sleeping sleep.
Though, we must keep in mind that mindfulness meditation is a training for which the mind becomes more alert and attentive of the things around it. Mindfulness meditation is often differentiated with concentration meditation. In concentration meditation, one eliminates needless thoughts by focusing on a single subject. Here, the practitioner may focus his full attention to his breathing or to an object and little by little, detach from the world. Concentration brings inner peace by removing the anxiety from a person. On the other hand, mindfulness meditation welcomes all thoughts. The practitioner, not being judgmental with his own thoughts, pays close attention to everything surrounds him. He will try to understand what behind an idea is and try to understand what lies within.
How To Do Mindfulness Meditation
How to initiate a mindfulness meditation requires preparation. This is helping your mind and body to not be a product of conclusion but rather, more of an observant. Below, are the following meditation guidance if one wish to execute this type of meditation.
Physically and Emotionally Uplifted
Mindfulness meditation can be more effective if there is sense of positivity and sacredness within you. It would be hard to meditate if you are experiencing devastation or other emotional negativity since these factors can make it hard for you to meditate.
Conduciveness of the Environment
It would be better if the location where you would like to meditate complements with the sacredness of meditation. It doesn’t need to be inside the temples nor in a garden not even in a green forest with waterfalls for you to build a favorable environment for your meditation. A place free of noise inside your room is okay.
Allot Enough Time
If you are beginning meditation, you may want to allot 15 to 20 minutes of your time. 30 to 40 minutes daily. One in the morning prior to starting your day and one in the evening before you go to sleep.
In Buddhism, it is believed that our mind and body are interrelated. The flow of energy from the crown of the head to each chakra points down to our spine is much more effective if our body is aligned with our head. The practice of Yoga completely understands this methodology and executes it within its scope. You can sit similar to the Buddha’s sitting posture with an erect body and crossed legs. You can also sit on a chair with your body aligned to your head and your feet flat on the ground while doing mindfulness meditation.
Vision, Breath, and Auditory
In mindfulness meditation, it is alright if your eyes are not closed. You can open your eyes a little but looking downwards. A soft gaze to your nose is suggested. Our breathing must be in a moderate pace as well. You might have your attention to these at the moment but little by little, you will be able to raise your awareness with the surroundings. As you welcome thoughts coming in, listen to it without being judgmental about it.
Stabilize Your Thoughts
It is inevitable for current issues to arise in your thoughts like how to pay the bills, where to get this and that, how to be promoted at work soon, so on and so forth. However, you must tell yourself that now is not the right time to think about it. That mindset is building up anxiety for the future. In mindfulness meditation, one is dwelling in the ultimate “now” and understanding of the basic truths that are often neglected in life. When thoughts come in, just listen.
The Benefits Of Mindfulness Meditation
Now the question is how can mindfulness meditation helps you significantly? Let me count the benefits of mindfulness meditation to your well-being.
Becoming Mindful Of What You Eat
Many people who wanted to lose weight and those who wanted to become healthy engaged into mindfulness meditation. As they do regular practice, they were able to make themselves aware of what they eat and how it will affect their body and emotions.
Becoming Mindful Of How You Sleep
You might have thought that sleeping is similar to death, only that you breathe. As a matter of fact, when you lucid dream, it means that your body and mind is in excellent condition. You are alive and you are in control. People who are having a hard time sleeping especially those who have been diagnosed with cancer require a restful sleep to better their health. Mindfulness meditation can help significantly.
Becoming Mindful Of Your Emotions
Depression, fear, and stress are a result of being unmindful of our emotions. Meditation is the key to raise awareness and alertness to our mind and avoid feeling negativity.
Becoming Mindful Of Your Relations
When you are happy, happiness is contagious. When you meditate, you become happy. You become more aware of your surroundings are understands many things that others may not know. You will be able to build you relationships up with other people.
Mindfulness Meditation Summarized
After understanding when and where mindfulness meditation originated, how it is done, and how it can significantly benefit us, you will be able to feel that some things in your life is somehow forgotten and neglected. We have been too much focused on worldly things either anticipating too much in the future or dwells too much in the past.
Like many other meditation techniques, mindfulness meditation can aid you bring that happiness back similar to a toddler enjoying his toy and not worrying about anything else. This makes you appreciate the ‘here and now’ feeling that sense of contentment. Practice mindfulness meditation and start reaping the benefits!