People think that meditation is “hard” but it isn’t, it’s very simple. Mindfulness meditation takes advantage of 2 basic neurological facts:
Fact One, you can almost always bring your physical body to stillness. The same is not true of the mind and emotions. So we start by bringing the body to near-perfect stillness, sitting in an erect, dignified, supple and symmetrical posture. Just this physical stillness has an impact, as you will notice if you keep yourself very still for a few moments. It might not have the impact you think it “should” have, but it has an impact on your experience.
Fact Two, although the nature of the mind is to constantly wander, at any given moment you can shift your attention where you want it to go. Try it! Can you pay attention to your feet right now, to the physical sensations coming from your feet? Sure you can. There are some sensations coming from your feet that tell you that they exist. Mindfulness meditation involves placing your attention somewhere, usually on the breathing sensations in the chest or belly, and then returning it to that same region of the body whenever you notice your mind has wandered. As Jon Kabat-Zinn says, “If your mind wanders 1,000 times, just gently bring it back to the breath 1,000 times.” Set a timer for 5, 10, 15, 20 minutes or more, and just practice. When the timer goes off, you’re done. Hold lightly any judgmental thoughts your mind dishes out to you about whether the session was “good” or not. Go on with your day and practice again tomorrow.
That’s it! It’s simple. Our minds make it tricky by having expectations, like that it should make you feel good, or that your mind should become clear and quiet. This is just the mind making something complicated out of something simple. When we practice simply, we get the desired result: the neurotic mind has less control over our behavior, and we can act more freely according to our values, principles, and passions.
This separating from the mind takes practice, just like learning a sport or musical instrument. We return the attention to the breath thousands and thousands of times, and eventually we see that we are not our thoughts, that our thoughts don’t have to boss us around and define our world for us. Life becomes more vibrant, slowly and inevitably, through weeks, months and years of daily practice. It’s that simple!
post by Joe