Mindfullness Meditation

January 25, 2010 at 1:25 pm (Meditation Basics, Why do we meditate?)

Mindfullness meditation is a beautiful and gentle method of meditation.

In the course on meditation we talk about different styles of meditation. One of the styles that we describe is called mindfullness meditation. The word mindfullness is often used to describe different things. I will explain the different uses of the word in the meditation context.

The first meaning of mindfullness is as a technique or aid to effective meditation, the second meaning of mindfullness meditation is a state of awareness during meditation that has a much deeper meaning and is often described as being fully ‘in the moment.’

In the first and simplest sense, mindfullness means to be mindful, or aware of the feelings that you experience when you meditate. These thoughts and feelings may be of several types.

  1. First there are the bodily sensations and feelings. Heat, cold, hunger, something touching the skin, etc.
  2. Second, there are emotions that we feel that may surface during meditation. For example, we feel hurt at a recent verbal exchange, or we are angry at someone for an unmet expectation or because they said something unkind.
  3. Third, there are thoughts that we may have that come up during meditation. For example we may think about what we’re going to do tonight, or what we had for lunch, or an important meeting that is coming up.

All of these take the attention of the mind when meditating. Mindfullness is the act of being aware of the thought or feeling that is pressing itself into your consciousness and then observing the thought or feeling in a detached way. For example, if you are hungry and that feeling suddenly presses into your consciousness, your response in meditation would be to name the feeling. “I am feeling hungry, hungry, hungry.” After acknowledging the feeling, or thought, you simply allow it to have a bit of space, and you don’t engage by thinking about what you could eat, or what you will eat later, or what you shouldn’t eat. You simply understand the feeling, give it space and a name and then allow it to gently go off the stage of your mind.

You repeat this process with all the feelings, sensations and thoughts that come into your mind as you meditate. Each time, you simply return to your concentration on the breath, and allow the thought to drift away as you mindfully acknowledge it, allow it a space and then without engaging in any dialogue, allow it to be replaced with your focus on the breath.

This is the first and simple definition of mindfullness meditation.

The second and deeper meaning of mindfullness meditation is a state during meditation where you become fully occupied with the present second of existence. You are not distracted by anything outside. You do not feel any other intruding feeling and do not sense any bodily awareness. You simply exist in the present second, without thought and without distraction.

Sometimes this goes even further and you become completely unaware of all surroundings or the passage of time. You become fully connected with the great expanse of energy and being and seem to loose your self-awareness for a time. This is described as being ‘in the moment.’

A beneficial by-product of mindfullness meditation is the habit you cultivate even during your non-meditate time – of focusing on the present without dwelling on the future or the past. For example, this would mean if you are walking the dog, you focus completely on the act of walking the dog and the connection with the dog and the air and sunlight of the present second. You are not thinking about what you need do afterwards, whether or not you will be late for work or any other thought not in the present second of reality.

The habit of fully participating in each present second that you have and not using your mind to be ‘somewhere else’ as we so often do, will increase your enjoyment and understanding of the present, and help you avoid the trap “I’ll be happy when….”

If we learn to enjoy the present second for all that it has to offer and be in our lives, then we truly become more grateful, understanding and kind creatures.

Learn more about Mindfullness Meditation.


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