Guest post by Will Burton
Hopefully everybody understands the principles behind mindfulness. “Being present in the here and now.” That’s for anyone that doesn’t know or more likely chose to forget!
While living our daily lives full of desires, needs, duties and stress. How do we manage to do this while remaining present in the here and now?
“WE ATTEND THE MINDFULNESS GYM!!”
In this gym we train the most powerful muscle with the greatest need for training, known as THE BRAIN. Using the exercise known as meditation to increase our mindfulness to enable One to live a fuller more healthier life.
According to health professionals there is no better aid to train the brain muscle than sitting in complete stillness with your eyes closed for a prolonged period of time.
Using mindfulness of breathing as an example; in this process you begin to train the thoughts and create new thought patterns by accepting and letting go.
Focusing single pointedly on the breath and inheriting a peaceful mind.
“Yes the brain is a muscle and… Yes it can be trained!”
Mindfulness Gladiators, get that brain flexing by lifting the breath and pulling those heavy weights of thoughts, anxieties and stress back to heart/breath centre with the aim to let go.
FOR THE FIRST TRAINEE/PEOPLE NEW TO THE EXERCISE
The first time on the cushion-Brilliant you’ve made it!! You are the equivalent of the pubescent teenager, for arguments sake named Stevie.
Stevie currently has lack lustre muscles yet huge ambitions. Stevie dreams of accumulating biceps like Arnie and longs for Abs like Bruce Lee.
Stevie is naturally very apprehensive about going to the gym for the first time, similar to a person attending their first meditation group.
“There is only one way to attend a mediation group- turn up and (re)present!”
Very similar both the new trainee and Stevie need to persevere and attend the gym, aiming for a daily schedule. Inspiring a positive wellbeing and maintaining a commitment to do so.
Hoping to meditate once or irregularly is great but you don’t cash in on these health benefits that can be achieved from a regular practice.
For the newcomer there is a whole host of information, ebooks and audio’s online. Today this ancient Art is becoming a global trend being Zen believe it or not meditation IS Cool!
Set time/s you sit daily;
Many people meditate first thing in the morning when your brain is at its busiest. Morning meditation is very popular and not to be overlooked.
I personally tried this and found I was merely taming my extremely over active, coffee hungry brain each morning. Through adding a sitting before bed, it didn’t only aid me to sleep better it also made me able to meditate“better” and for longer in the morning. The brain was running less wild and I became more tolerable to be around while eating cornflakes and watching breakfast TV.
Use your own judgement and play around with what works best for you.
“MAKE MEDITATION A DAILY PRACTICE”
Begin lengthening your practice;
Through becoming aware that meditation helps. This awareness gained encourages the search for a deeper insight. Gradually increase the duration on the cushion. Engaging with a healthy mind, gently challenge yourself to a longer sit.
Hulk Hogan didn’t walk in his first gym class and bench press 200kg. It took persistence and training and the same applies to maximising the health benefits you can achieve from meditation.
Explore the gym;
Look for ways to enhance your practice. Collecting new training methods and tips and sharing experiences with others is important to enrich and encourage you, also you’re less likely to become bored. Finding positive growth while avoiding the pitfalls such as your practice belonging to an elementary school or conceptually perceived as mundane.
There are thousands of meditation teachers around the globe thus thousands more meditation techniques.
“Variety is the spice of life and no meditation practice is EVER the same.”
Don’t be put off by a bad day;
Meditating regularly can be frustrating. No two practices ever being the same. Just as in life there are good days and bad days. Likewise take the rough with the smooth with meditation.
Some days you will meditate for 20 minutes and be
“Zen- life is born again, everything is wonderful – I will not pass judgement on anyone!”
Other days will be quite the contrary. It is likely during a 20minutes spell in half/lotus One has not been able to quiet the thoughts. The breath work is non-existent and no peaceful mind attained.
“…..you’ve done the shopping list for the next two weeks; the noisy neighbours have disputed in the courts and are now awaiting evictions. You’ve also buried the mother in law under the patio and your skin is ripped around your kneecaps from your fingernails rugged frustration….”
Ok, maybe an extreme example but days like these do happen. To the best of my knowledge no one has been arrested for murder in meditative equipoise.
“There is no thought police!”
A great practice perpetuates that mind set into the next hours /day. As being the benefits received from exasperating and frustrating, less blissful practice.
Please give yourself a break if a sitting similar to this happens. During heavily dispirited spells you always achieve a positive release from a practice. The mind has still been trained and said individual is not walking charged like a loaded gun!
Turn off electronic devices;
There is nothing worse than electronic devices post meditation. You just spent the past (x) amount of time relieving yourself of stress and woes by accepting and letting go of whatever frogs may be jumping around in that box-brain. Open your eyes with a nice yawn and a stretch of your arms- the phone rings “It’s the boss!!” The issue from today’s work crisis, you’ve meditated over and henceforth found positive release, pressure has landed straight back on you. Please bear in mind you are definitely more likely not to tell him to stuff his job. Give yourself a break the wind down post meditation is the best bit.
Find a tender spirit and give yourself an allotted set time for a cool down period, have five or so minutes at the end for purely sitting in quiet.
(Phones have an air-plane mode; pay yourself a favour and switch it on!!)
For members returning from injury;
A drop in practice can come at any time. I will take this further;
“It’s not part of the path- It is the path!”
A bout of illness can soon derail your daily schedule. Soon meditating every few days then the few days can turn into a week then meditation fast becoming insignificant and distant memory.
“…..Before you know it you have forgotten you even ever sat on cushion you hate your boss, the commute to work is overwhelmed by your sleepless nights and your evening is spent mindlessly staring at your computer screen obsessing about your dream patio!”
Its hard work and frustrating when a person’s now; “Vast Worldly Meditation Practice” (#sarcasm) has disappeared from their daily routine. Upon recognising that you are now irritable again and that light bulb moment when you realise “I know why I’m feeling uneasy. I haven’t meditated for a while!?”
“Awareness gained from your previous meditation practice compared to your now non-spiritual outlook is pivotal in returning to the cushion”
Slap Ego to one-side and immediately return to the cushion. Regaining the mentality when your practice was first formed. Enforcing a disciplined mind-set to return to a DAILY practice building allocated sitting times in small increments. Begin practising a few days sitting at 5 minutes sessions with aim to lengthen to 7.30 minutes then 10 minutes and so on and so forth. Soon you will be retuning to a more peaceful state of mind.
“A drop in practice is common so don’t give yourself a hard time. Be tender with yourself always the sitting time to grow organically”
Keep Coming Back;
The mindfulness gym is free and accessible and stretches across the globe. It does not matter if a person engages in meditation while on the couch with dinner on the hob after a stressful days work, with some very “la dee daa” people in Yoga studio or in a monastery full of worldly monks.
“Take time out DAILY to sit in meditation. Actively pursuing a DAILY practice is key to train our body and mind to be mindful throughout each DAY!”
WE MEDITATE TO BE MINDFUL
With Great Thanks For Reading
x Will x