Don't you just love mindfulness meditation.
Its one of the few things I actually do enjoy doing, not only because it had great mental (and physical) health benefits, but it actually feels…you know, damn good!
It's also good because once you get used to it, by doing it daily, it quickly dawns on you that you are not your mind. The mind is a tool, not something that is fully you. You are the awareness behind this tool. Pretty cool, huh?
It is peace on demand.
All you have to do is to find a quiet place…take a seat…and off you go.
And best of all, it is completely free.
There is no subscription or monthly fees to pay. There is no waiting around, 7-10 days, hoping that the weather is not going to affect your service.
It is the one thing that, come rain or shine, that is available to you, 24/7.
There could be a big power cut, no matter.
You could be broken and be on the street…you could do it still then.
You could even be in the middle of an argument, and still find a quick way at trying to be mindful, which can even help diffuse the situation.
Being mindful is the tool that helps things work in your favour. It has helped me in my life, and if you are reading this post, chances are that it has helped you.
The weird thing about mindfulness, is that it quickly teaches you to use your conscious as it was intended, as that of a tool to help create the experience of your life, not as something that you identify yourself with.
Essentially, you use it as a gateway (which is what most spiritualists would readily admit).
So, without further ado, let me bring to you the best ways one can be mindful, heading into 2017.
Listening to your heartbeat
This is a great one to start out with, if you have difficulty in focusing on yourself.
Just take a few deep breaths, lie down, and focus on your heart beat. You will find that after a short while, there will be about 3 surges of pulses, going around the various areas of your body.
By noticing your blood pulses, you will become more present and will feel a peace in your body.
Of course, if you want to take this even further, I do recommend that you use this an an intro towards mindfulness.
Once you feel enough peace, and before your mind starts to wander, quickly go onto…
Listening to the ambient noise
I have found that, listening to the outside noise is a great way to becoming mindful.
Trouble is, listening to the ambient noise can be hard to do straight away, hence I recommend that you listen to your heart-beat first.
Use it as a platform to begin with, then try listening to the ambient noise once you get slightly mindful. This does take practice.
Of course, all this is a distraction to your conscious, which is precisely what we are trying to achieve so you can become mindful. If, however, you are unable to listen to the ambient noise that easily, you can always try…
Listening to your breathing
Ah, the good ol' classic gem of mindfulness. Listening to your breathing has always been a bit of a classic, and it is easy to see why.
When you focus your attention to your breathing, you will become slowly present, with an additional bonus in knowing how easy it is to get stressed out (Put it this way, I've noticed that when I listen to my breathing, and a few negative images pop up in my mind, my breathing patter increases speed and becomes more quicker, so it is useful as a stress monitoring tool).
Listening to your breath is a good approach towards becoming mindful, and helps reduce your mind chatter.
However, sometimes, whatever you do, your mind just doesn't want to calm down, so you can try…
Using your peripheral vision
Being serious, this does work. In a really weird way, it can be great for those folk who simply cannot turn off their imagination no matter what they do.
The trick is to gaze at the outside edges of your eyesight, that is, to use your peripheral vision.
Initially, this will feel weird (we are so trained to look at the centre of our vision). But with enough practice, you will be able to do this fairly effortlessly, enough to be able to mindfully meditate.
Using your peripheral vision is a great way to reducing your inner thoughts (you could say that you are being too distracted to think about anything else;-)
However, if you do find that this is very difficult, you can try one last trick up the sleeve, which is,
Verbalising it to taming it.
Ok, I have to give Dr. Dan Siegel credit for this one, as this is an absolute brilliant technique in helping one to become mindful.
It's so simple, yet ridiculously effective.
All you have to do, is to verbalise to yourself (or out loud), what you are thinking about.
By doing this you will be, in a sense, logicalising your feeling; sort of like bringing the two hemispheres of your brain in balance.
The net result: Becoming mindful. And it can be as quick as within 60 seconds.
I tend to say the stuff that is in my mind to myself if I do find it difficult to meditate, and it works wonders.
Not only that, but if you can get yourself into a habit of doing this on a regular basis, you may find that you will develop a small habit of becoming slightly mindful throughout parts of your day as well.
It may even become fun;-)
So there you go, my top 5 ways to becoming mindful. Please feel free to give any of them a go, and let me know in the comments section what your personal favourites are.
Till next time,