The Top 10 Things Most People Do Not Know About Meditation

Top 10 Headlines often grab my attention - especially Top 10 Things I don't already know - this means to me there is information I have likely not read or is not all that easily accessible to me through books and basic 'googling'.  

There's a lot of information about Mindfulness out there - especially how to cultivate it.  And, we should be cultivating it, but how we do it is largely personal.  Some people cultivate it by attending church and worshiping with others, some people sit in Za Zen quietly in their homes, some people wander, some people sing.. There are countless ways to cultivate Mindfulness and it is my belief we have to try a lot of different styles and then combine what works for us as an individual to deeply cultivate it.  I find a combination of chanting, sitting, wandering, breathing, and listening works really well for me - and when I am able to do it outside I am way more effective in finding moments than I can inside.  (Walls cause me to feel confined and safe, but that's another post for another day)

What I have found fascinating about everything I have read on the practice of Mindfulness and Meditation is the heavy focus on being in the present moment, the health benefits, and all the reasons we already know. What I never read is what it means to be in Present Moment because the present moment is so highly personal and thus cannot truly be 'described', but we know when we arrive there.  And, how are we supposed to live our lives always in the Present if we have to think about how our food is going to get into our bellies?  Sure, we can do it mindfully, but can we truly do it and be in the present moment? Is that even possible?  How long do Present Moments last for the typical person?  Am I crazy that I can't hold it for more than 10 seconds at a time?  Because the moment I realize I am experiencing it.. it goes away..

This article touches on these questions.   I am well within the range of normal and probably are also - if you have some sort of mindfulness practice.  Most people only experience Present Moment for 1 - 10 seconds at a time.  So, the likelihood of us having it last all day or every day, all day is not very high.  However, that does NOT make it not worth cultivating and committing to the practice of.. 

By cultivating it we CAN have MORE moments during the day because we know how to arrive in them and they DO become easier with each arrival. 

I don't know about you, but getting into those moments often can make or break a stressful day.  A few deep breaths, a check in with the air around me, a listening ear.. a pause, and I easily slide into a place I know well - even during the midst of a stressful day.  I will gladly take 3 seconds here and there to not get caught up in the tornado that rips through my mind regularly when I'm stressed or too busy.

This article also touches on the idea that Mindfulness is about cultivating Awareness not relaxation.  Relaxation is a by-product of Mindfulness, but to by mindful one is fully engaged with mind and body.  We are aware of what is coming and going.  As we learn to get deeper into a mindful state we do become more relaxed because we are able to be with our 'Monkey Mind' rather than fearing it or judging ourselves for the stories we tell ourselves.  We become more aware of our insecurities and fears.  When our mind is awake and aware those stories have much less power over us.  It is easier to step out on the edge and explore new ground because you can track yourself and your behaviors once you have an awareness of self and your patterns.  Truthfully, to me, this is the hardest part of cultivating a mindfulness practice - awareness of self - because sometimes, I really just want to wallow and be self defeating and my practice will not allow me to do so as often.  Things pass through and strength within me grows, but, it isn't without a lot of looking at the self. 

As I grow myself as a human being on this planet those stories and patterns often hold me clinched in fear or grief - survival mode. I am weary of surviving.  Seeing these patterns for what they are I am better able to move beyond them and get into the truth of my intuition - my animal instincts.  I am better able to operate this animal body of mine in the world..

There's a lot of quick and concise information in this article.  Some serious food for thought and some things you've probably not read in many places.

Top 10 Things Most People Do Not Know About Mindfulness


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