Mindfulness helps us fine-tune our ability to concentrate, trains our minds to pause and notice what is rather than getting caught up in the stories we create in our heads—just by connecting with our present moment experience. Relax into this Opening Up to Awareness meditation practice.
Here are our meditation basics:
1. Set aside some time.
You don’t need any sort of special equipment to access your mindfulness skills—you can sit on a chair, cushion, yoga matt or even stand, but you do need to set aside time and a comfortable space.
2. Observe the present moment as it is.
The aim of mindfulness is not quieting the mind or achieving a special zen state. The goal is simple to notice your experience as it is. Our experience can include being: happy, sad, tired, itchy, thoughtful, something else or nothing at all. After you notice your experience return to the object of your attention—often your breath.
3. Let your judgments pass like weather.
Because it’s not easy to simply be in the moment with our breath—thoughts, emotions and physical sensation—often divert our attention, we give special stress to be kind to yourself. No judgment or self-criticism. When we notice, we can make a mental note of them, let them pass and return to the breath.
4. Be kind to yourself.
Don’t judge yourself for your thoughts. They have a place in our lives, but overthinking causes stress. Modern life centers around our ability to think, so we practice being present to bring back balance into our lives. When you notice your mind has wonder, that’s the very moment you are being mindful. Notice that.
5. Hit play.
That’s the practice. It’s simple, but not necessarily easy. Most people arrive at the moment where it seems like nothing is happening. Fear not. Results will accrue. The work is to just keep doing it.