The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is now. -Chinese Proverb
You’ve read about the benefits of mindfulness meditation, seen programs about it on TV or YouTube, and have even chatted about it with friends over tea. When it comes to actually practicing mindfulness meditation, however, you may not be sure where to begin. In fact, there is now so much information about meditation coming at us that it is often overwhelming to navigate through it all. The beauty of mindfulness meditation is that it is not something that is “out there”, but rather something we have had all along: our ability to pay attention to the present moment, without judgment. Equipped with your intention to meditate and commitment to a regular practice, you essentially have everything you need to get started with mindfulness meditation.
Here are two practices that are accessible and available to you to try today.
Seated meditation. Sitting in a comfortable position, either on the floor or supported by a blanket or cushion, or on a chair, let your hands rest on your knees or thighs. Sit upright, allowing for the natural curve in the spine, with alertness while still remaining at ease. Close your eyes if this works for you. Bring your attention to the sensation of your breath moving in and out of your body. You may direct your attention to the abdomen, the chest or the nostrils. Notice the temperature of the air as it moves in and out through your nostrils. Notice the chest and abdomen expand and contract. When you notice that your mind has wandered, gently bring your attention back to your breath, without judgment. Continue for up to 5 minutes, setting an timer on your phone or watch if possible. Try one of the meditations on Mindfultime’s site or iTunes if you find this helpful.
Eating meditation. For this practice, get something simple and readily available to eat such as a piece of seasonal fruit. Fully engaging all five senses, this meditation involves the observation and mindful consumption of the fruit. Begin by observing the piece of fruit. What do you notice about its color and texture? How about the smell, if any? How does the fruit feel to the touch? These observations are a way of “consuming” the fruit before it has even crossed your lips. When you are ready, take a small bite of the fruit. What is the flavor? Is it wet or dry? What is the consistency? Eat the remainder of the fruit with your full awareness. Once you have completed this exercise, consider how this mindful eating activity compares to your usual eating habits.
Meditation instructor Alice Lash offers mindfulness meditation in Miami. Contact Mindfultime today to learn more about getting started or continuing your mindfulness meditation practice.