Mindful Meditation: 7 Tips from a Decade of Practice

A mindful meditation practice brings your mind to a deep silent, wide open and all knowing space. A regular mindful meditation practice helps to balance the high stimuli coming from the outside world with the place of stillness and wisdom within your soul. Regular practice also helps to develop an inner strength that can ground you. Mindful meditation is a simple daily practice that brings your focus on your inner awareness. The purpose of mindful meditation is to develop a calm state of inner contentment; the practice can help you to navigate through challenging times in your life and can bring clarity and balance to your everyday routines.

Practicing mindful meditation for the past ten years has completely changed my life in so many ways. My mind is clearer and more focused, I have a deeper awareness of my subconscious chatter and drives, and I find this deep pleasure that comes in the silence of my mind and infinite peace always present. It’s been magical, and I have been recording my practice and researching so much along the way 🙂  I am now teaching mindful meditation as part of all of my courses at Pleiadian Institute, a dream come true for me! Today I have put together 7 tips that have helped me on my mindfulness journey 🙂 I hope these tips inspire you on your own mindfulness journey, what I know for sure is the rewards only deepen with practice.

Time

Think of every moment of your day as a potential time to practice mindful meditation. The reason why mindful meditation is ideal for individuals living busy lives is because to start, you really don’t need to add time into your day to practice. Think of every moment of your day as a time to be mindful. When you are waking up in the morning, mindfully place your feet on the floor and feel your feet connecting with the ground. As you are walking to the bathroom, focus on clearing your mind and focus only on the steps you are taking. As you eat your breakfast, lunch and dinner, focus on every bite of food and feel the food move down into your body giving it energy. You can also plan for several times each day to visit a special sacred space to practice. However, make this sacred space somewhere that is convenient for you and somewhere that you already spend time. For example, if you spend alot of time in the kitchen preparing meals, dedicate this time to be your meditation time. Bring sacred music or a sacred object into your car and use your travel time to mindfully meditate. Think of every single moment that is in your day as a gift and an opportunity to change your life and it will become easier and easier to integrate mindful meditation techniques into your daily routines.

Environment

Mindful meditation can be practiced anywhere, however, I have personally found that my environment to be a huge part of my ability to stay with the practice. For me, the ideal way to practice mindful meditation is in an environment that supports clarity. I strove to clean up all environments that I lived and worked in. I cleared clutter like it was my job and allowed only meaningful items into my spaces to inspire me, calm me and make me feel good. Clearing out all of my spaces was too much for me to handle all at once, so I started small. I would create sacred altars in the corner of a room or in my favorite spot in my backyard. I created as much sacred space as I could. Once I had complete control of my work and home environment, I created sacred spaces that are conducive to a meditative practice all day long. When I do not have control of my environment, I carry sacred stones with me, dress in sacred fabrics, moisturize myself with sacred essential oils – in this way I bring the sacred space with me where-ever I go 🙂

Posture

Because the purpose of mindful meditation is to develop a clear mind, you want to ensure that the way you hold your body throughout the day also supports your clarity. Your level of energy is optimal when you are sitting or standing straight. Find regular moments throughout your day to connect with your body and become aware of your posture. Focus on keeping your feet flat on the floor, your hips centered, and back straight. Imagine that there is a string pulling your spine straight up, feel your spine elongate, and then relax your shoulders.

Focus

The central purpose of mindful meditation is to create a focused mind.

Focus requires eliminating all distractions and keeping your attention on only one task at a time. Even if you are working on several projects at once, give your undivided attention to the tasks you are completing within your projects one at a time.

During times like washing the dishes, taking a shower, or even going for a walk to the bathroom, I take this time to focus on my task and witness the thoughts that come up from my mind. I practice emptying my mind after each thought with deep breaths in and out. If thoughts come up that elicit anger or fear, my practice is to witness the emotion and allow it to be. I also often ask my emotions; ‘What purpose are you serving?’. I listen and take note of the first response that emerges that feels good and right deep within.

The great Tibetan yogi Milarepa said that the, “mind has even more projections than there are dust-motes in the sun.” So, don’t feel like you are the only one with a racing mind. Don’t feel like you need to figure your mind out either. Have patience with yourself and the practice. And remember that as you work to bring your mind into focus, you also help all those around you to focus as well. Even without saying a word, your energy will shift, and as your energy shifts it is inevitable that over time the energy of all those that you come into contact with will shift as well.

Breath

Your breath can calm your mind. Your mind can also control your breath. Choose to focus consciously on your breath throughout your day. As you do this you will notice that your mind naturally becomes clearer. To begin, focus on the natural rhythm of your breath as it moves in and out. Feel your breath moving in and out of your body. When you are waiting in line or for your computer to load or in traffic, take time to bring your attention to your breath. Practice breathing deeply in and out and think of each breath as a gift from the universe. Human life is a precious gift and our breath sustains our life. We often take our breath for granted and do not pay any attention to it. When you begin the regular practice of focusing on your breath you create the foundation for mindful living.

Thoughts

There are an infinite number of thoughts that pass through your mind in any given day. Mindful meditation teaches us to pay attention to our thoughts. As you pay attention to each thought you think throughout the day, you begin the practice of allowing your mind to reside in a still place. Watch every thought that comes into your mind and label as a thought, then let it go. Don’t put so much importance on the thoughts you think throughout the day. Our thoughts emerge from deep within our unconscious mind and are only reflections of our perceptions of the world.

As we get older thought patterns become more and more engrained in our every day habits. Try to focus on your thoughts with the mind of a person that has just been born. Ask yourself, how do I want to think, what do I want to devote my time thinking about? Then as you watch your thoughts throughout the day notice how many of your thoughts are in alignment with these things. Don’t get down on yourself or try to change overnight. Instead, approach the entire practice with a compassionate light attitude. Slowly practice being mindful of your thoughts every moment of every day. And remember, this is a lifelong practice, as you have compassion with your own thoughts, clarity and focus will naturally arise in greater and greater proportions in your life.

Bonus: My Favorite Video to Keep me Inspired in my Practice
Thich Nhat Hahn is a master of the practice of mindful meditation. This video is a real gem, it is from Oprah’s SuperSoul Sunday and it is the full episode, so it long, but well worth every minute. Thich Nhat Hahn just embodies all that mindful meditation is, his words and the way he describes his personal practice have deepened my own practice in magical ways. He is just so full of wisdom, I have watched it multiple times, to me it is a great gift, en-joy 🙂

Resources

Yoga for Emotional Balance: Simple Practices to Help Relieve Anxiety and Depression

The Miracle of Mindfulness: An Introduction to the Practice of Meditation

Thomas Merton: Essential Writings (Modern Spiritual Masters Series)

 

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