“It’s completely possible to start over. Wherever we’ve gone, we can begin again.” –Sharon Salzberg, Real Happiness
With a New Year and fresh start just around the corner, thoughts of beginning again are on many peoples’ minds. One of the most insightful things we learn through mindfulness meditation is that we don’t have to wait for a new week, month, or year to begin again, but rather each moment is an opportunity to start over.
In preparation for the year to come, many of us reflect on the year that has gone by. During this period of introspection and reflection, we can think about goals not reached, challenging life events, successes and achievements. Regardless of what has occurred in the past year, we have the opportunity to begin again in the New Year. This opportunity to begin again is at the core of mindfulness meditation: each breath is a new beginning, each moment a fresh start.
Whenever you sit to meditate, no matter how long you’ve been practicing, your mind will invariably wander. When you become aware that your mind has drifted, you have the opportunity to begin again with the next breath, and to have an attitude of kindness and compassion toward yourself. As we continue to practice in this way, this attitude of being easy on ourselves begins to extend to other moments when we fumble in our everyday lives.
If you’re curious about mindfulness meditation, try this basic practice that only requires a few minutes of your time. To begin, find a comfortable seated position and close your eyes if this works for you, or leave them open if you prefer. If you care to, set an intention for the practice that resonates with you, or repeat a phrase such as ‘I commit to lovingly beginning again’ or any phrase that feels right for you. Take a few deep breaths to center yourself in the present moment. Become aware of every point where your body comes into contact with the ground. Notice as the breath moves in and then out of your body. Follow your in-breath and out-breath, allowing your breath to be natural, and pay attention as the air flows in and out. Any time you notice that your mind has wandered, gently bring your attention back to your breath and begin again. Continue this for 3-5 minutes, or as long as you wish.
Meditation instructor Alice Lash offers mindfulness meditation in Miami. Check out the Mindfultime class schedule and join us for a group meditation class.