We hear a lot about Meditation and Mindfulness recently, it’s all over magazines, social media and advertisements.
Hardly surprising with our hectic lives that this subject is coming to the fore, as we all begin to realise that we need to take time out for our bodies and minds to rest, recover and just be at peace.
Sleep of course, if we allow enough time for it, helps. Apparently our sleep patterns go in 2-hour cycles between REM-sleep and deep sleep, and we typically need 3 cycles per night to properly recuperate. Continued abuse of this can have serious consequences. My personal experience is if I break these cycles too much or just don’t allow enough time for sleep, then I end up with a bad migraine that takes a day or so to clear.
So if we’re being good to ourselves with adequate sleep patterns, why should we consider meditation and what is this mindfulness thingy?
Most of us are juggling several activities throughout the day and we’re constantly busy, resulting in our stress levels increasing. When that happens, our clarity of thought is reduced and we become less effective and more prone to make mistakes.
Taking 10-20 minutes out of our schedule to be in a quiet place and meditate can help us regain focus and reduce our stress levels. How?
Find a quiet space, where you won’t be disturbed.
(You might want to set a single chime on your smartphone to bring you back, if you’re constrained by time limit, but remember to turn the ringer, email alerts etc off!)
Sit (or stand if the space is small!) and just be still in a comfortable position, with your feet on the floor.
Close your eyes and listen to your own breathing.
Notice the sound and the feeling of air in through your nose and out through your mouth, the rise and fall of your chest with each breathe.
Listen and feel your breathing, what rhythm does it have, can you slow it down as you relax and pay attention to it?
How slow and relaxed can you make it?
Now that you’ve become comfortable, just begin to notice how your clothes touch your body and the feeling and weight of the different materials in each garment.
Notice any feelings within your body, where they are, what is your body telling you now that you’re paying attention to it?
Listen to these feelings, thank them and let them pass.
Now expand your consciousness to the space you’re occupying – are there any sounds, what can you sense in this space around you? Is the air still, or is there a breeze through windows, around doors? Are there any smells? How connected can you be with this space, in your stillness and silence?
And outside this space, what else can you notice, just by being still and paying attention? What sounds and smells and feelings are you noticing now, that you wouldn’t have normally?
Notice what you notice. Just being mindful like this, releasing your self and being connected, part of a bigger whole.
Present in the moment.
One-ness with the Universe.
And when you’re ready, just gently and comfortably drift back, as you begin to notice the space, your clothes, your breathing and let your eyes open. Feeling rejuvenated.
Well done, you’ve just experienced what it’s like to be mindful with a simple meditation. Of course, you can choose to make this practice as long as you like. The more stressed, the more benefit from a longer session.