Monday, September 15, 2014

Is there a Right Way of practicing MIndfulness Meditation?

Am I doing it right? What is right?     
By J. Hood                                                        

I thought there was a script, and I was struggling with it. I wondered if I was doing it wrong and of course, I judged and questioned myself. The perfectionist in me wanted perfection to yield the highest level of success. If I was going to embrace this Mindfulness stuff, I had to do it right. Every day, I would sit and meditate and do my best, but let’s face it my mind was all over the place.

It took me some time to realize that my experience is just that. Mindfulness means paying attention in a particular way: on purpose, in the present moment, and non-judgmentally.
When my mind wanders I simply notice it and focus back on the breath. Some days are better than others and that’s OK, that’s just my experience and noticing it, is mindfulness. 

Meditation isn't about getting somewhere. It's about being present and open to the life that is right here. C. Ricardo 
“Looking at beauty in the world, is the first step of purifying the mind.”
Amrit Ray
For me the content of my meditation is not as important as consistency. I make it a point to sit every day. In the beginning, I was waiting on some AH-HA moment and these BIG changes would envelope me. It didn’t happen that way. The changes were gradual and subtle. About six months into my practice I started noticing things. I’m more aware of life and the little things. I’m more patient, compassionate and balanced, both toward myself and others. I can better regulate stress and my reaction to it. The list goes on and on. I find now, after 18 months of meditation, that the list grows daily and the benefits aren’t as subtle, these changes are pretty clear.

It’s clear my success lies in the repetition and consistency of a daily practice. For me this is a routine much like any other daily activity. It’s something I look forward to; it’s my time to be with myself.

In the beginning, it may seem hard to find the time. If you’re like me, there’s probably some unnecessary activity weighing you down. I eliminated just a little bit of that and replaced it with a daily routine of meditation and self-exploration and it’s changed my life.

I’m hopeful this will inspire you to pick your time, a quiet place and begin a routine of loving kindness toward yourself.  Stick with it even if it seems like nothing is coming from it. That’s just you being more mindful. Soon the joy of the practice will come shining through.

*This post is written and shared by guest blogger Joe Hood. He practices mindfulness meditation on a daily basis and shares his experience with this grounding and peaceful practice. Sharing his insight and experience is a wonderful way to learn about this practice.
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