Mindfulness meditation was a mystery to me for many years. How could I possibly sit still and do nothing for 30 minutes? That was until the day I went to a short course run by Mindfulness Works and that got me started.
For the first year the effort required to stop whatever I was doing, sit down and tune into a guided meditation was demanding and difficult.
I would choose the shortest podcast I could find – often not more than 7 minutes. Doing this meant that once I was hooked up on my headphones, I was pretty much okay to stay with it until the session ended.
In those early days I practiced simply on the trust that it was good for me.
My Meditation Practice Today
Now I set my timer for 29 minutes, another trick to fool myself into doing it. I sit, close my eyes and try to remember to open my heart while I focus on my breathe. It’s this simple, but not always easy.
My mind can go wild. Some days it just won’t rest: revisiting conversations, worrying about the future or drifting into day-dreams.
Sometimes, without warning, suppressed emotions of grief or sadness arise. I have learned not to resist these but to let them pass, which they do quite quickly if let alone. (More about this in My Mind is a Junk Shop.)
Whatever happens during meditation is okay! Emotions and thoughts will come and go – mindfulness is about being the observer of whatever happens.
Using Mindfulness to Grow Self Awareness
I used to believe that by thinking my way through problems I would become a better person. I was so wrong.
Over-thinking only creates more worry and insecurity. It wastes precious energy and as I’m getting older, I need all the energy I can get.
Mindful meditation, on the other hand, creates space for self-discovery.
So Why Do It?
When I began with meditation several years ago, it was the temporary relief from depression and anxiety that kept me practicing. Today, it is the discovery of alternative ways to look at the world that keeps me doing it
Does Mindfulness Make Everything okay?
Hell no! The doubts, worries or anxiety symptoms don’t disappear and as you may already know, growing self-awareness can be challenging. But the results are all worthwhile.
Mindfulness is on an upward curve and there are many good reasons why it’s happening. Just remember you don’t need to know the science, or follow a particular philosophy, before you can trust that it will work for you.
Like exercise – Just Do It! You have nothing to lose.