Mindful Meditation

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Become aware of reactions, judgements, and perceptions. 

Before we begin this mindful meditation, find a comfortable resting position, either lying on the floor or in a crossed leg seated position.

1. Position yourself. Close your eyes and notice the feeling of your body at rest. Also, notice the contact between your body and the floor beneath you. Adjust your body in symmetry and rock back and forth and side to side to find a comfortable resting position. Begin to bring awareness to any muscles that are tense and release them. If you are laying down, tilt your pelvis to lessen the space between your low back and the floor. Roll your shoulders back and tuck your shoulder blades under. If you are seated, keep your head aligned by imagining a string attached to the top of your head pulling it up towards the ceiling. You may be more comfortable sitting on a pillow or a folded blanket.

2. Muscle awareness. Beginning with your toes, notice any stiffness, or pain in your feet. Move up your low leg, knees, upper legs. Continue to work upwards imagining and “checking in” with each body part. When you feel an area of tension, release it into the ground. Visualize the energy traveling out of your body into the floor. When you reach your head, notice the muscles in your face. Imagine a soft feather gently caressing your forehead and cheeks.

3. Breathe. Take in a slow deep breath and release. Breathe in deeply again this time in through your nose fully expanding the belly, and exhale through the mouth. Allow your belly to expand fully again as you take in another deep breath and slowly exhale through your mouth. Focus now on the rhythm of your resting breath. Notice the way it sounds like an ocean wave as it enters and leaves your body. Allow the breath in to equal the breath out.

Stay present to whatever sensations you feel and notice that some sensations are enjoyable, and some are not.

4. Bring awareness to feelings and sensations. Expand your awareness to all the senses. Can you hear any sounds, or can you smell anything in your environment? If you notice any unpleasantries in your environment, acknowledge them and then shift your awareness again to your breath and your belly. Notice your facial muscles again if you’ve experienced any unpleasant thoughts about your environment or sensations.

5. Release judgements, negative emotions and quiet your inner critic. We practice meditation and mindfulness; we do not perfect it. Negative thoughts and unpleasant feelings are not inherently bad. We must allow ourselves to experience them and sit quietly in them in order to process them. This is not a time for problem solving, however. This is a time to become aware of the thoughts and feelings we dislike and allow them to become fleeting. Allow any negative thoughts to leave your mind as you begin to shift your focus. Remember your pleasant thoughts and feelings of relaxation and carry these with you throughout your day.

Forgiveness and quieting the inner critic is key to achieving mindfulness.

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