What do they mean when they say, "mindfulness" meditation?
It sounds cool--like something I'd want to try--and I've found several "definitions" on the web and descriptions, but little consistency between them. Is there a book about it? Is it something to do with a religion, or secular in nature? Does "modern science"/mainstream science endorse it or is it on the fringes? Do any of you practice it? How often should it be done to be effective? Thanks in advance for any help you can provide!
Mindfulness is a type of meditation that essentially involves focusing on your mind on the present. To be mindful is to be aware of your thoughts and actions in the present, without judging yourself.
Meditation has been used for thousands of years in a variety of cultures so that disqualifies it from being "fringe" in my mind. It does indeed have many health benefits and there are many types/forms of meditation. "Mindfulness" meditation helps you learn to be aware of your thoughts - which ultimately dictate how you experience your life/reality. When you are able to be full and present and aware of your thoughts - detached from them enough to see how you actually think, you may be really surprised. Meditation can be spiritual in nature if you prefer, it certainly doesn't have to be. Most people who practice it regularly do open up spiritually to some degree. Spirituality and religion are not the same things. I practice meditation regularly and it has changed my life - daily is ideal, even if just for a few minutes. Eventually you get to a place where you can enter a meditative state "at will" and you don't have to work so hard at it. It takes time, patience and dedication to learn, but as with anything beneficial - it's worth the effort.
Wow! I meditate, but not this way--I work on either changing how I feel or blocking conscious thoughts to see what sub-conscious thoughts come in. I really like your description of of "mindfulness" meditation, which I look forward to trying today!
Laura, like you wrote, there are many definitions and few consistencies. As I see it, each person writes their own definition of meditation from their individuality and life experience. I know you will find your own way.
When a person chooses to live to the fullness of their capacity and continue to expand in awareness and whole-person maturity, a meditative lifestyle is highly beneficial.
Real meditation is without effort. No teachers or training are needed as the means for a meditative lifestyle is innate in every human being. Boosts along the way may be helpful, as in a book that one is attracted to or watching a video, but beware the teacher trap. I suggest to anyone asking - touch base with established practices as needed and move on as early as possible to self-instruction by going within & trusting your own wisdom guide.
Transcendental Meditation is the most scientifically studied tradition, I read in an article recently. I had my own encounter with it, which I love to tell as it was an amazing experience. The founder of TM, Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, was known in the 60s as the guru of the Beatles. In '71, I was a student in a Colorado high school and on the staff of the school newspaper. Maharishi was on a U.S. tour and stayed that winter for a time in a log cabin in Rocky Mountain National Park. My English teacher arranged for me to drive with three other students to interview Maharishi. Large snowflakes fell heavily outside the large picture window while I sat across a coffee table from him and asked questions about mantras such as Om mani padme hum and Nam myoho renge kyo, which I had chanted in Buddhism. Maharishi told me it was needed to be given a mantra by a TM teacher. I never went in that direction, and glad I did not.
As I wrote in other places, my conclusion for myself, is to let go of all teachers, trainings and traditions and draw upon inner resources. It is not my intention to indicate what anyone else should do, as that would violate the whole principle that each person has the same inner resources and can go to them. Each person's journey is their own. Relying little on outside training and wholly on inner wisdom is the way of whole-person maturity, and if one believes so, of merging with the Higher Self.
As an example of meditative lifestyle, Kati is in a high-stress nursing position. A co-worker observed to her that when things get really chaotic, Kati still moves mindfully and elegantly. That is it, to move elegantly and peacefully through chaos.
It's sort of an oxymoron to say mindfulness, when the aim of meditation is to go beyond the mind. But having said that, watching thoughts is a sure fire way of slowing them down. I don't do this form of meditation but as part of the Third Eye Meditation I do, watching thoughts is a phase of awareness, after which you can go beyond thoughts into other states of consciousness. I do a daily meditation practice which I've done for thirteen years.
I have several hubs on meditation and thoughts, including a conversation I had many years ago after a long stint of full time practices which highlights the state of watching thoughts and pre-thoughts.
Here is a link to the hub I wrote on Third Eye Meditation http://jewels.hubpages.com/hub/Third_Eye_Meditation At the end there is a guided meditation that you may find helpful. And you can get a book on it, plus it's not aligned to religion.
I believe meditation at large is endorsed by science. Many studies have been done and are still being undertaken to understand more about the brain and the effects of meditation on the mind and body.
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