Mindfullness meditation is the most popular meditation technique in psychotherapy, neuro-plasticity, emotional intelligence and of the 127 meditation techniques out there.
With an underlying message/practice of having a calm awareness of the sensations of your physical body, the sensations of the feelings and emotions you are experiencing, and a witnessing of your thoughts - it's main impact is for you to develop wisdom, through your own reflection of what is happening within you.
We've explored in the previous articles that we develop wisdom throughout our lives through the registry of emotion/feeling knowledge that grows out of the many experiences we have. Emotions are in a constant flow within everything that we are doing, and have been for 1000's of years - they are beyond words, beyond the future and the past, they are of the moment. Because of this the Amygdala (which is the source of our emotions and deep center of our brain) is the most evolved structure of the brain, followed by the pre-frontal cortex (which is the center of our rational thought, planning and at the front of the brain).
My good friend Aruna Founder of Young Yoga Masters , with whom I met with today, provided me with this quote from one of the greatest 'minds' ever gracing this planet
Imagination is more important than knowledge, for knowledge is limited, while imagination embraces the entire world. Albert Einstein
The main thing out of all of this is that emotions are of the present, while our thoughts are based on past impressions, and simply a tool for analytical thinking. Our thoughts (pre-frontal cortex) rationalizes the current situation making us dwell on something that happened or romanticize the infinite possibilities of what might happen. Imagination, intuition, and creativity are irrational in that they are beyond analysis, and more so out of a feeling, an emotion, the moment.
How do we develop Wisdom with Mindfulness Meditation?
To simply explain how this 'wisdom' develops from this practice, a great example is to envision a Sculptor creating a statue of a beautiful woman. The Sculptor continually circles this large piece of seemingly blank stone, viewing every vein, every contour, each ridge and small cleft. As the sculptor continues to chisel, and continues to circle, the great artists of the past explain their vision as "bringing the beautiful woman out of the stone, rather than chiseling the stone into the shape of a woman". Finally, after many different perspectives, views of different angles, the beautiful sculpure is complete.
Viewing our own thoughts, and challenges within a meditative state with the care and many perspectives possible, we grow our wisdom by coming to a simple truth of the thought or challenge at hand through experiential knowledge. This experience based knowledge is only developed by taking the time to view things from many perspectives, in a state of non-judgment and expectation - rather than our usually method of reaction and repression.
Mindfulness Meditation - The Practice
Step 1 - Entering the Meditative State
During Mindfulness Meditation, at first for the first 10 or so minutes you bring yourself to a meditative state through a scanning of your physical body (observing the stillness, any feelings of comfort or discomfort), then moving to an awareness of your breath (expansion of lungs on inhalation, feeling of relaxation on each exhalation, coolness on the inhales, warmth and moisture on the exhale), and then finally an awareness of your thoughts (allowing them to play out in your mind with no judgement, no expectation, simply allowing the next thought to enter after you've brought awareness to the present).
By this point you have entered a state of Relaxed Awareness of your Body, Breath and Mind, and now you can begin to become the Sculptor.
In all of our personal and work lives many of our everyday challenges, suffering, issues are repressed or forced to be forgotten and implanted deep into our unconscious... to haunt us in some way, shape or form in the future. The important practice is to never repress, bring complete awareness to what is at hand.
Step 2 - Mindfulness Practice - Becoming the Sculptor
The stone symbolizes your situation, suffering, or person in life - you are the Sculptor and your chisel is your awareness.
After entering the meditative free flow of thoughts, bring a situation, challenge or issue to your awareness, both positive or negative is ok, and begin to circle this seemingly blank stone that you have created in your mind. View the situation for a few moments like the Sculptor viewed his stone, bringing the beautiful woman out of it. Apply this same care and devotion to visualizing the hidden truth in what you are viewing, through eyes of compassion, love, creativity and intuition.
Steadily each stroke of your chisel, the awareness in action, through the eyes of compassion, love, creativity and intuition - will reveal the hidden truth of this stone before you.
The stone chips falling away by each stroke of your chisel is your tension, anxiety, worry and illusions.
The truth should come within a few moments of your awareness upon the subject, as usually the reality of the issue at hand has a phenomonal simplicity. When this dawns upon you and you've seen the thought at a point where you cannot analyze anymore simply allow a new one to enter your mind scape.
This practice is just one of the many ways you can start developing mindfulness in your daily life, ultimately you'll be placing greater awareness into everything that you do, becoming more mindful. Most importantly remember that mindfulness doesn't need to be a seated practice
Your every step while walking in the park, when in deep awareness, can be the meditation. View the tress, the animals, the wind blowing on your skin, your thoughts
Every email, or pen stroke can be your meditation. View the perspective of the recipient, the keystrokes, the words and their deeper meaning
Your relationships can be your meditation. With compassion, view the others perspective, place in life, the emotions you are feeling, their body language, your thoughts...
Mindfulness is a way to bring deeper meaning into your life, because your conscious of your actions. With an underlying relaxed awareness in everything that you do. This sensation is often described as "becoming awakened"
Try the practice above for a week and bring mindfulness into your everyday through conscious living and awareness.
Modern Meditation - Relaxed Awareness in everything you do