What is mindfulness meditation?
Mindfulness meditation involves spending a periods of time sitting or lying down while turning attention to our direct and immediate, with a sense of curiousity and an ‘open-mind’. Primarily this means turning attention to our direct experience of the breath, of body sensations, sounds, thoughts and emotions – just as they are wihtout trying to change them. Different mindfulness practices or different stages within one mindfulness meditation will focus specifically on one of different aspects of our experiences.
How Can Mindfulness Help?
Focussing in this way on simple aspects of our experience can have a ‘grounding’ and calming effect. We can find ourselves dropping ‘underneath’ our usual mode of being caught up in worries or plans and instead become ‘rooted’ in our actual experience ‘in the moment’. Once attention is more ‘gathered’ and focussed we can start to see more clearly all the mental activity that pulls us away from the vitality and ‘aliveness’ of this moment. This can also help us ‘disengage’ from the kind of mental activity that can lead to stress, worry, anxiety and depression. There is also strong and growing evidence that it can bring a wide range of other benefits such as:
♦ Positive changes to the brain (in both structure and functioning)
♦ Increased sense of wellbeing and positive emotion
♦ Increased creativity
♦ Improved decision making
♦ Increased productivity
♦ Enhanced resilience
More than Just Meditation
Mindfulness practice involves more than just setting time aside to meditate. It also involves bringing the same quality of attention to our everyday lives. The more you do the formal meditation practices, the more you will be able to wake up to the richness of simple ordinary experiencecs and also manage lifes ups and downs more easily. There is a wide range of evidence for the benefits that practicing mindfulness can bring. See the evidence page for more information.
Click here for a sample Short Meditation (10 Minute Mindfulness Meditation)
Although mindfulness involves opening to what is actually happening right now in this moment, we can use images to help us engage more deeply with our direct experience. The following meditation uses the imagery to help draw attention to the the stillness ‘underneath’ any mental turbulence we may be experiencing: ‘The Lake Meditation‘
For details of upcoming 8-week mindfulness courses please see the mindfulness courses page