We often hear people complaining about their unsuccessful attempts at meditation. That’s most often because there is a misconception that meditation involves thoughtlessness; they are trying to quell the thoughts while meditating. Mindfulness is not thinking, interpreting or evaluating. It is mind’s nonjudgmental way of observing the things that happen around it.
Here’s how you do mindfulness meditation:
- The first and foremost thing to do is to choose an ideal location for meditation. Choose a spot where you are least likely to be disturbed.
- Equally important is the time you choose to meditate. Find a quiet time. Start with 5 to 10 minutes of practice, gradually increasing the duration as you get comfortable with the practice.
- Sit in a comfortable position with your back straight. You can even take the support of a wall or a pillow to prop your back up if you are not used to sitting upright for long.
- Close your eyes and focus on your breath; pay attention to your inhalations and exhalations. Alternatively, you can chant a mantra and focus on it instead of your breath.
- It is natural for thoughts to come and affect your concentration. Let the thoughts flow; observe them in a nonjudgmental way without dwelling on them. Label them “thoughts” and let them go. When your focus shifts, bring your mind back to your breath.
- Observe the smells, sounds, and sensations around. Label them “smell”, “sound”, etc and passively observe them without indulging in them or the thoughts around them.
- Slowly move your attention to subtle body sensations like tingling, itching and let them pass. Similarly, observe your body sensations from head to toe.
- It is natural for emotions to interfere. Simply observe these emotions without judging them. Name the emotions as “happy”, “crazy”, etc in a relaxed manner. At any time your focus shifts, bring your mind back to your breath.
- Stay with the practice as long as you can. Slowly increase the duration as you get comfortable with it.