Faster, higher, stronger – the pace of our lives accelerates, we beat our efficiency records, estimate ourselves by the number of projects implemented and the heights taken. As in this race, simple meditation helps to maintain harmony with yourself? How only 8 minutes a day help to cope with stress and stress? Why are we investigating ourselves, we are better about others? And why, during meditation, think about the unpleasant? These and other questions are answered in the book “Awareness: how to find harmony in our insane world” by journalist Danny Penman and scientist Mark Williams. In this post – simple and understandable instructions from the book that will help to include meditation in any routine and add our life of awareness.
Our thoughts are not us
Conscious meditation teaches you to recognise negative memories and feelings as soon as they appear. And remember that these are just memories. They can be compared to propaganda because they are not real. They are not you. However, you can learn to observe evil thoughts: to see how they arise, to give them some time, and then to discover how they dissolve themselves. And at this moment it can happen incredibly: the void left for them will be filled with a broad sense of happiness and tranquillity.
Meditation clarifies the mind and allows you to see things consciously and more openly. Meditation is a place, a kind of observation point from which we can see how our thoughts and feelings appear. It frees us from the habit of clicking on an imaginary trigger and instantly reacting to what is happening. Our inner self, thrilled and harmonious, no longer drowns in the noise that our brain creates, solving endless problems.
People tend to think that if they survive long enough because of their condition, there will eventually be a solution. We need to make one more effort – to feel a little more about this problem … However, studies prove the opposite: too serious analysis reduces our ability to solve problems. And when it comes to emotional difficulties, it is entirely useless. The conclusion suggests itself: an in-depth analysis is the root of the problem, not its solution.
- Find a comfortable pose: meditation can be performed lying on a rug or sitting on a chair, pillow or a unique stool for meditations. If you are going to sit on a chair, it is better to choose a chair with a firm back so that you can move away from it and the spine does not rest on anything.
- If you are sitting on the floor, your posture should be straight and inspire you with self-esteem, but without tension or constriction. Let it be convenient for you.
- Focus on physical sensations. To do this, pay attention to those parts of the body that come in contact with the floor or another surface on which you sit or lie. Devote the next few seconds to investigating these sensations.
- Now direct your attention to the feet, starting with the toes, then widen the sphere of awareness so that it includes the feet, heels and the upper part of the foot until you realise all the physical sensations in both feet. For a few seconds, focus on the sensations in your feet, noting how they appear and disappear. If you did not notice anything in this part of the body, also note it to yourself. This is normal – we are not trying to create sensations from anything, we fix those that already exist.
- Now turn your attention to the lower leg, knees and hips, then to the abdomen, back, chest (from the pelvis and hips to the shoulders), then to the left and right hands and finally to the neck and head
- For the next couple of minutes, concentrate on your whole body. Allow him and any emerging sensations to be what they are. Often we have a bright idea of how things should be, but during meditation, try to give up any expectations.
- Now focus on the breathing and sensations in the abdomen that arises when inhaling and exhaling. Note for yourself the changing rhythm of physical sensations in this part of the body as you inhale and exhale. To better feel how your stomach rises and falls, put your hand on it for a few seconds.
- Perhaps you will notice how the belly stretches and rises on inspiration, and the different sensations you will have when it sinks down on exhalation.
- Try to concentrate your attention on breathing to notice the changing physical sensations throughout each inhalation and exhalation. Perhaps you will see a small delay between the inspiration and the next expiration and between the exhalation and the subsequent inspiration.
- Do not try to control breathing – breathe as usual.
Continue practice for 8 minutes.
Exit automatic mode
You may have noticed that all the time you sit in the same chair – at home, in a cafe or at work (for example, at meetings). This week, deliberately try to choose another chair or move the one on which you are accustomed to sitting. It’s amazing how often we become hostages to habits and how we feel right about it. There is nothing terrible in this, but such habits force us to take many things as given and make our autopilot almost all-powerful. You can stop noticing visual images, sounds and smells around, and even the feeling that you are leaning on a chair can become too familiar. Note for yourself what changed after you sat on the other chair.
Note the important
Learn to appreciate the pleasant moments in life will help you the following exercise. The essence of it is to remember every day ten things for which you are grateful and count them on your fingers. It is essential to remember precisely ten, even if after three or four, nothing comes to mind! This is the meaning of the exercise – to realise the most insignificant events of your day, which you did not notice before.
Think about something unpleasant
Every day during meditations you will need to think about something not very pleasant, but remember that this should not be too serious a problem. Let it be something you can quickly recall, and that will not be too much of a shock. It can be a disagreement with someone from friends or colleagues, anxiety before a journey or a decision that you have been thinking about for a very long time. You may be surprised at the strength of the reaction, but remember that everyone has a habit of immediately plunging into the problem, analysing, solving it and thinking about it. Instead, remind yourself to shift attention to the body so that you can feel physical reactions to your thoughts at any time. Try to maintain compassion and patient awareness, filled with warmth and interest.
Once mindfulness is wrapped around your body, try to recognise the location of any manifestation of discomfort. For example, tension often appears in the neck or shoulders. Fear causes the heart to beat more regularly. Presentiments or fears create “butterflies in the abdomen.” Sometimes there may appear an unexpected sharp or, on the contrary, a barely noticeable aching pain, which disappears as rapidly as it seems. Suddenly, pain can look in the joints, and in the muscles – weakness. It does not exclude shortness of breath or light dizziness. Our body has a million options for responding to unpleasant situations, and this meditation gives you the opportunity to find out exactly where the various unpleasant sensations are located, and leave room for your reactions.
During meditation, try to keep an open and inquisitive attitude to yourself. Feel yourself a pioneer traveller – a person who wants to map the unknown land, which is exciting and the landscape in general, and only rocks, cliffs and valleys, who wants to know the nature of this area and who are equally interested in infertile and fertile lands, flat roads and sharp rocks.
Caring for yourself
Showing kindness and mercy to yourself can be difficult, so doing this meditation requires some determination. You can work on this not only during the meditation itself but also at any place and at any time. Gradually you will come to the realisation that it is impossible to take care of other people, not caring about yourself in the first place, and it is impossible to truly love others while you scold yourself for not doing something well enough.
Meditation in 60 seconds
- Sit on a chair, straighten up. If possible, move away from the back of the chair so that the spine does not rest on anything. Put your feet on the floor, close your eyes or look down.
- Concentrate on the movement of the inhaled and exhaled air. Listen to the sensations that arise with each breath and exhalation. Watch your breathing, but do not expect anything special. No need to adjust or adjust breathing.
- Perhaps, after a while, you will notice that you are distracted. Having discovered this, do not scold yourself and try to focus on breathing again. The ability to see distracted attention and still concentrate on breathing without criticising oneself is considered the most critical component of mindful meditation.
- After all, your mind can calm down and become smooth, like the mirror surface of a lake, but it may not. Even if you manage to catch a feeling of absolute calm, it can be fleeting. However, anger and irritation can disappear as quickly. Whatever happens, take it for granted.
- In a minute, open your eyes and look around.