Mindfulness of the breath
How was your first mindfulness practice yesterday?
If you found your mind wandering or felt like your thoughts just wouldn't stop, don't worry.
Mindfulness isn't actually about "stopping your thoughts," it's about recognising what's happening from moment to moment within your body and mind, and not getting so caught up and hijacked by mind wandering.
Remember, if you’re new to mindfulness, it’s a skill that requires training. So if you found it difficult to settle the mind and body in your first meditation, give yourself time and be patient.
Meditation practice is about training our attention.
An untrained mind gets caught in outer and inner distractions, which means we end up with little control over how and what we are paying attention to. We can easily get caught up in anxious thinking about the future, or obsessive thinking about past regrets – we are complete victims to our mind's distractible nature...
The initial stages of meditation are about placing our attention on an object – today that object will be the breath – and we train the attention to stay there, even if it’s just for a few seconds at a time.
With a committed practice, the mind becomes more steady and we get less lost in the type of thinking that amplifies our suffering, whether that’s worrying, obsessively planning, or getting lost in past stories.
As our minds get more “mentally fit and stable” through regular meditation, we become more attentive and present to the good moments, but also more steady and balanced when we hit rough patches in our lives. We can better choose to place our attention where we want it to be.
We become masters rather than slaves to our mind.
As Mark Twain famously stated “I’ve had a lot of worries in my life, most of which have never happened”. Our minds can often be our worst enemies, but meditation helps us train our minds so that we move through life with greater ease, emotional balance and joy.
So today, notice if your mind is able to rest on just one breath, and when you notice you’ve steadied the mind on that one breath, allow yourself to feel a sense of accomplishment.
Over time and with regular practice, you’ll discover that just as going to the gym strengthens your physical body, training your mind through meditation builds your psychological and attentional capacities.
Enjoy this breath meditation and stay accountable to your practice by letting the community of meditators know you’ve done it - share your observations in the Facebook group (simply click the COMMUNITY button below).
This May, you're meditating with thousands of others from around the world. If you are active on Facebook, we have a community here to help you stay motivated. Feel free to share your experiences in the group.
Today let us know:
- What you noticed about the breath today during your meditation?
- Where in the body did you feel the breath most noticeably?
- What did you notice about your mind and your attention today when practising?
Download your Mindful in May digital meditation journal HERE to keep track of your daily meditation.
stay on track
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Watch Elise's conversations with four leading wellbeing experts.