WHAT IS MINDFULNESS?
What is Mindfulness?
Mindfulness. It’s a straightforward word. It suggests that the mind is fully attending to what’s happening, to what you’re doing, to the space you’re moving through. That might seem trivial, except for the annoying fact that we so often veer from the matter at hand. Our mind takes flight, we lose touch with our body, and soon we’re engrossed in obsessive thoughts about something that just happened or fretting about the future. And that makes us anxious.
The Definition of Mindfulness
Mindfulness is the basic human ability to be fully present, aware of where we are and what we’re doing, and not overly reactive or overwhelmed by what’s going on around us.
Mindfulness is a quality that every human being already possesses, it’s not something you have to conjure up, you just have to learn how to access it.
The Benefits of Mindfulness Practice
Mindfulness meditation gives us a time in our lives when we can suspend judgment and unleash our natural curiosity about the workings of the mind, approaching our experience with warmth and kindness—to ourselves and others.
How to Sit for Meditation Practice
1. Take your seat. Whatever you’re sitting on—a chair, a meditation cushion, a park bench—find a spot that gives you a stable, solid seat, not perching or hanging back.
2. Notice what your legs are doing. If on a cushion on the floor, cross your legs comfortably in front of you. If on a chair, it’s good if the bottoms of your feet are touching the floor.
3. Straighten—but don’t stiffen— your upper body. The spine has natural curvature. Let it be there. Your head and shoulders can comfortably rest on top of your vertebrae.
4. Situate your upper arms parallel to your upper body. Then let your hands drop onto the tops of your legs. With your upper arms at your sides, your hands will land in the right spot. Too far forward will make you hunch. Too far back will make you stiff. You’re tuning the strings of your body—not too tight and not too loose.
5. Drop your chin a little and let your gaze fall gently downward. You may let your eyelids lower. If you feel the need, you may lower them completely, but it’s not necessary to close your eyes when meditating. You can simply let what appears before your eyes be there without focusing on it.
6. Be there for a few moments. Relax. Pay attention to your breath or the sensations in your body.