Mindful Meditation In Daily Living
The definition is in the name itself – mindful. Mindfulness.Mind-full.
When your mind is full of what you’re observing at a given moment, or when your mind is fully engrossed in it, you’re practicing mindfulness.
The word ‘meditation’ has become a shortcut explanation for the ability to direct the mind into ‘nothingness’. I think the intention is to convey detachment, in the sense of experiencing everything, but not being affected by the experience(s).
“It’s impossible to not be affected, I’m a living-breathing entity”, you protest. Well, as a living-breathing entity, you’re blessed with Free Will, which means you can choose to be enslaved by success and failure. Or, not.
It’s actually in practice that you begin to respect mindfulness as an introspective journey, and not a doctor’s prescription:
- Mindful breathing and visualisation – To breathe mindfully is to focus purposeful attention – is your breathing fluid or staccato? Do you exhale and inhale in the same rhythm? Is your body tense or relaxed? Mindful breathing employs visualisation, in that you try to ‘see’ Life-giving breath entering, and navigating its way through your body. Visualisation sensitises you to the status quo of your body. You can use this to induce a state of calmness and stillness, reminding yourself that your body is a powerful machine, capable of self-healing, with a little help from you.
- Mindful eating and body awareness – Mindful eating is aimed at helping you enjoy the simpler (or finer!) gastronomic tastes of life. Whether you’re a foodie or not, healthy/unhealthy eating impacts your emotional perceptions, internal bodily health, and outward appearance. Mindful eating practices allow you to direct your attention towards the inherent quality of food – taste, texture, colour, size, and how each item works with others on your palette etc. The more you respect your food, the more you’ll be able to pick up on how your body responds to what you eat. To know what your body will accept and what it will not is the first step towards body awareness and self-love. Dieting and gymming isn’t always the answer. You’re halfway there if you eat what your body is (surprise!) truly hungry for!
3. Vipassana – Before you commit to spending 9-10 days as per a fixed regimen in absolute, utter silent meditation at a faraway retreat, try practising Vipassana at home. Start with a most doable 10, 15, or 30 minutes. There’s no better way of consolidating scattered directions of thought. You don’t have a choice; it seems like the only constructive thing to do when the ability of speech isn’t available to you temporarily. And in that delightful simplicity lie the secret benefits of Vipassana. Without realising, you’ve set yourself on the path of physiological and psychological analyses. It’s tough. You can’t talk it out to the next person. If you do, it’s not exactly Vipassana. You can’t mentally dissect it, because then you’re judging, not simply observing. But if your self-introspection is authentic, you’ll survive the trial and error, with patience. Understand that mindfulness doesn’t require you to ‘fix’ problems. Show poise and composure, to first accept the existence of the problem. If this reveals the problem’s strengths, it’ll reveal its weaknesses too!