Mindful meditation is simply practising the awareness of now – this present moment – the only moment we ever have. The beauty of this type of meditation is that you can quite literally practice it anywhere, any time. In fact, the aim is to practice mindfulness in every moment of your life so that you are fully present, and therefore fully alive, in every moment.
Meditation is not something that you need to do in order to become enlightened. You already are enlightened. You only need to be in touch with the stillness that already lies within you. Mindful meditation is a tool that we can use to help us to re-connect with the essence of our being.
This does not necessarily mean that you do different things. If you are busy, focused on getting some work done and meeting a deadline, you can do that at the same time as being mindful. In fact, if you are mindful, you will find that your work becomes easier and more efficient.
If, as you cook the dinner, you are thinking about what you will do next, you are not fully present in this moment cooking dinner. You are thinking about how the dog needs feeding, the floor needs cleaning, the fact that your report is due in at work, or your children have not done their homework yet…. However, if you can be fully present as you cook the dinner, being full aware of every movement that you make, you are automatically in touch with the stillness within you. This is mindful meditation.
The ego “you” is no longer cooking dinner. So who is cooking dinner? Your body is cooking dinner and your mind is making sure that you think about things that need to be thought about – remembering where the vegetables are, and the pans – remembering lessons learned about how to cook safely without burning yourself and so on. When we cook in this focused way, using the mind as it should be used, then we are fully in the moment, living life to the full.
We often think of the mind, our thoughts, as being “ourselves”. But there is something more, something wise and timeless that we might call our soul or our spirit. Our mind and the thoughts that it is capable of having should be our servant, not the master.
When you practice mindfulness, you do not lose yourself. You do not become completely empty, with no thought.
“The person who practices mindfulness should be no less awake than the driver of a car; if the practitioner isn’t awake he will be possessed by dispersion and forgetfulness, just as the drowsy driver is likely to cause a grave accident.” Thich Nhat Hanh
Thoughts still arise, and pass through your mind – it’s just that your mind stops being caught up in loops, worrying about things, creating dramas and imagined difficulties. You still use your mind to find solutions to problems, but then you move on from the problem. It is finished. How very liberating!
The joy of living in the present moment is wordless.
This isn’t something that you need to work towards – you merely need to recognise it. Meditation is a way of allowing the space for this recognition to happen. Once you have seen your own awareness, even briefly, it is possible to choose to let go (slowly, most likely) of the story of the mind. Meditation is a tool that you can use to encourage stillness, to pay less focus to the mind.
If you are a beginner to meditation, we have information to help you on your journey.