It seems like mindfulness and meditation is everywhere these days!
Anderson Cooper did a “60 Minutes” special; TIME magazine featured a cover story on the topic; and study after study offers more research exploring the powerful benefits of sitting still and breathing, for ten minutes, each day.
We’ve read about it, talked to people who do it, had it recommended to us by our doctor, and we even have a feeling that meditation can help us (who doesn’t want to feel less stressed?!) – but how many of us have actually committed to a daily meditative practice?
What prevents us from doing this thing that promises so much in the way of relief from the daily tension and anxiety that has become a regular fixture of our busy, modern-day lives?
For many, it’s not knowing where to start. We’ve heard that meditation is about “clearing your mind,” or “not thinking,” and this simply sounds like a daunting task. “How can I possibly clear my mind? There’s so much to think about – so much to do,” we say to ourselves.
And so we skip the attempt at meditation –“sitting still is impossible anyway, I’m just too anxious!” we think.
It’s true that clearing the mind by trying to stop our thoughts is difficult, if not impossible. Thinking about not thinking is just another layer of thought, right?
So to start, we need a technique. We need a method of practice that allows us to cultivate stillness in our mind.
A great technique to start with is the practice of watching the breath at the tip of the nose. Sitting in comfortable position, bring your awareness to the feeling of sitting in this spot, the feeling of your feet on the ground, the feeling of the chair or cushion beneath you
Allow your body to relax as you begin to pay close attention to the breath at the tip of the nose. Feel the coolness of the out-breath, the slight warmth of the in-breath – see how close you can be with the breath.
As we attach to our attention to the breath in this way, the thoughts begin to subside. The space between thoughts begins to get larger, more pronounced.
See if you can rest in this space between thoughts. And any time that thoughts come up, just come back to the feeling of the breath at the tip of the nose. Even if your mind wanders 100 times, simply come back to the breath.
And by sitting and breathing in this way, every day for 10 minutes or more, it gets easier to allow our thoughts to fall away, easier to let go of the tension that is associated with these thoughts.
Adam Timm (award-winning speaker, stress consultant, bestselling author, and founder of ZenLife Services) has written numerous posts here at Daily Meditate, and will continue to do so with a series of monthly posts. Stay tuned for his next article, or read more in his bio below.
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