Let’s Talk Mindfulness

Let's Talk Mindfulness

You’ve probably heard about mindfulness meditation and its benefits. You might’ve even tried it before. Sitting there, hoping to reach tranquillity or eliminate all your thoughts altogether. Or better yet, learn how to transcend your anger, resentment, fear, or grief. If that’s what you had in mind, I’m guessing your practice left you feeling disappointed and frustrated. 


I have bad news for you; meditation isn’t a mind trick. It won’t magically get rid of your thoughts or challenging emotions. You might be wondering, is there any good news? Well, sort of. Consistent practice allows us to befriend our inner world. It provides an opening for us to gently hear the incessant chatter of our minds and watch as our emotions unfold and change. The key here is gentleness. Mindfulness is the ability to be present in the here and now, noticing our thoughts and feelings with curiosity and kindness. While mindfulness can arise organically, it can also be cultivated intentionally through various practices such as yoga, tai chi or meditation. 


If you are new to meditation, here is a tip; start small. Set aside 5 or 10 minutes each day, sit in a comfortable position, gently bring your attention to your nostrils or abdomen, and use your breath to anchor yourself in the present moment. If focusing on your breath as an anchor doesn’t work, you can pay attention to your toes or the tip of your nose. As you sit there and feel your breath, your mind will wander. You’ll find yourself lost in your thoughts, planning, worrying, and thinking about the future or the past. That’s completely normal; that’s what your mind is supposed to do. 


The moment you notice your mind has wandered off, gently bring it back to your anchor point. Meditation isn’t about not getting lost in our thoughts or emotions; it’s about noticing when we’re lost and coming back to the present moment. As Pema Chödrön says “We don’t sit in meditation to become good meditators. We sit in meditation so that we’ll become more awake in our lives.”

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