The term “meditation” is heard more and more these days and is becoming a popular practice. While this term was often used in the past to describe the lifestyle of monks, it is now not uncommon to hear that co-workers and friends are meditating on a daily basis. Because of the spiritual association and the degree of practice that true meditation requires, we have to ask ourselves: When we sit cross-legged in silence with candles for 10 minutes trying to focus on the presence, is this really meditation?
No, this isn’t meditation
Well, not really. The true practice of meditation requires one to sit in rather uncomfortable postures for significant lengths of time. This kind of meditation involves many practices such as pondering life’s purpose and prayer.
Mindfulness – the practice that modern day society is more familiar with – is just one form of meditation. This, however, does not detract from how powerful mindfulness is. Mindfulness is the awareness of your current state and surroundings in the present moment. Mindfulness is an important practice to develop and is much more accessible to our modern lives than true meditation.
So, what does mindfulness do?
Mindfulness has several benefits:
- It lowers stress levels. In our fast-paced society, we live in a constant state of stress. In this state, we are in flight or fight mode. If we act like a hammer, then everything that we see will look like a nail. The cortisol levels (stress hormone) are high and we create stressors in our minds when we are in defense mode. When we practice mindfulness, we are able to break that pattern of flight or fight mode. We stop the constant stream of thoughts in our mind and are reminded that there is more to life.
- We recognise our pain. Often when we feel stressed, there is often an underlying, deeper cause to that stress. There are times where we can balance multiple things and juggle tasks effortlessly, and at other times small, insignificant troubles will set us off! It is important to look at everything in your life and reflect on why situations are affecting you in different ways. Perhaps you are training too hard at gym which is making work pressure feel unbearable. Maybe relationship problems are making daily tasks seem too overwhelming. Take time to notice where your pain is actually coming from.
- It improves our focus. Our mind can often feel scattered and can jump from one thought to the next. When we practice mindfulness, we are able to start becoming aware that we are not our mind, and our mind is not in control of us. Thoughts can be poisonous and when left to run wild, we can ruminate ourselves into being angry and upset. Learn to catch your thoughts and stop them in their tracks. Focus on one task and steer your thoughts where you want them to be.
Let’s do mindfulness right
We live in a world where busyness is seen as success. It is important to see that those who are in control of their thoughts and their mind are those who are powerful. Be aware of your body, your surroundings and your mind. Don’t let your life pass you by while you are living from one stressed thought to the next.
Have a great day.
Lots of light and love xx