Mindfulness 101: An in-depth overview

Mindfulness 101: An in-depth overview

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Most people don’t get into mindfulness because they just fall in love, got a dream job, or just received their long-awaited promotion. Rather we get interested in mindfulness when we want to better understand the cause of our psychological and physical suffering and want to find a path to greater well-being.

Luckily mindfulness practices can provide just such a path, just like they did so for my professor I learned mindfulness from, and who once learned sports but was disabled for years during an accident. Until he learned through mindfulness practices that he can work with the pain in a new way and return to a new athletic life.

So, what is Mindfulness?

Mindfulness can be described as The awareness of the present experience with acceptance. In simple terms, I would say, “Mindfulness is the art of staying true to your curiosity.”

When you witness your inner state, you also learn about your judgments, at first, you may notice what you like or dislike, but then you also learn how much time you spent judging yourself and others.

Mindfulness is no fun at first, but if you bravely stay with your daily practice and if you stay curious about everything you are experiencing. You will notice the shift and miracle it does to your mind and your body.

Also, notice how you become curious about these intensely judgmental voices inside. And as you will stay longer with your curiosity, you will notice a shift, a warmth under your chest.

Staying with mindfulness experience often guides people through the natural state of their mind and body. A place of generosity and warmth, the warmth that has been there all along, but continuous suffering and pain have shut down the generosity and warmth from its resource.

When we can be curious about whatever our inner witness reports even if it’s a judgment, we can open to the essential qualities that lie beneath including warmth, empathy, and love.

“As we learn to relax our judgment, the positive qualities have room to enter.”

So, why should we meditate?

Meditation is a very wide concept, and the usage of the word meditation in English refers to three of the pads of Patanjali’s yoga sutras: Dharana, Dhyana, and Samadhi.

A.  Dharana:

This means the capability or the capacity or the practice by which one can put one’s mind exclusively in one stream of thought. When Dharana matures and becomes a continuous practice in one’s life, then that Dharana becomes the dhyana state.

B.  Dhyana:

When that dhyana can be sustained for a continuous period then only one can truly experience and understand what Samadhi state is.

C.  Samadhi:

Many times when a question like this is asked, a person is asking about the techniques or practices for meditation that are prescribed in the yoga sutras of Patanjali.

The experience of meditation state comes only with continuous practice, and this may be specific to an individual. However, practicing the techniques is a good start, and when we can do this for a length of time with absolutely no distractions, then we enter into a state where we forget that we are even meditating.

There is only that state, that is often described as MEDITATION. The object you are meditating on, the meditator, and the process all become one at that moment. Once you experience this, all the definitions simply become techniques towards the end goal.

There is no reaching out or grasping, JUST BEING. Remember this can only come from the practice of technique that has been taught. So until you reach that point, the practice of the technique that has been taught to you is what is considered meditation up until that time.

And reading about it is not a remedy, well reading initially does help, but regular practice cannot be compromised. You need constant practice over a long period, and wonderful things happen when you reach a certain stage in your meditation.


How can thoughts condition you?

Thought is a powerful weapon, and it can be limiting, and it can be conditioning. Thought can condition you and make you think that you cannot do something, and thought can also be a condition to say “Yes, I can do it.”

I am not saying you shouldn’t think, you should think because it can be used to unconditioned the mind and make it more expensive, and secondly, it can be utilized to gain access to infinite modes of energy.

If thoughts such as I am this body, I am a man, I am a woman, I am a child, or I am an old person can be unconditioned or at least set to rest for a while, then it’s possible to access that source of all divine energy that is within all of us.

Fortunately, this happens to be blissful energy and not painful energy. From ancient times, for about thousands of years, people in the east and the west, but especially in the east where people were more curious and concerned with what was going on within or inside them have discovered that there is an essence of all energy.

There is an unconditioned consciousness and bliss which is in all of us in the form of a little spark inside of our being, in the core of our being. The conditioning on one side is philosophical, and on the other side, it is practical.

There are practical ways of keeping your limiting thoughts in bins, at least for a while, and gradually increasing the time that you spend in an unconditioned, blissful super energy state.

This is the practice of sadhana, which is about how to zero in and go into the essence of this being. An essence that is not anywhere outside but right inside us. The essence is equally there for all beings whether we have discovered it or not.

The essence that can be touched by anyone, no matter who or where they are, through the continuous practice of meditation.

Why do people meditate?

There are many reasons people choose to meditate, for some people, it’s more devoted to their desire to reach a goal. What happens when we want something? We work hard and become deeply involved in a business or the work required to achieve it.

Now, naturally when we work towards a goal obstacles come, when obstacles come normally we face them, then the obstacles are removed, and we move on as well. This is not only true in meditation; it is also true in everyday life.

However, in this process what happens when we don’t reach that desired goal? Stress is automatically generated, when somebody or something becomes an obstacle to you achieving your desired end goal, there is stress, and there is conflict. Hence it can be useful to mindfully meditate in everyday life to deal with unwanted constraints and stress.

If people don’t meditate, they try to find some other form of entertainment or alcohol. People drink because when they come home after a very long and hard day of tiring work, they often have a lot of fatigue and stress, and they want to get rid of it. So at this point, they say, let me just relax for the time being and forget about the entire stress-related stuff and the world.

When people drink their senses are numbed, and then they forget about many things including the stresses from their entire day. They think they are fine, however, the next morning there is a hangover, and then the next evening they repeat the process.

So instead of repeating the pattern, one can use MINDFULNESS MEDITATION. This is not the Be all and End all of the meditation, this is just a beginning, and it is a good reason to start, but it is not the actual aim of meditation.

One of the most important reasons why a person wants to or starts to meditate is when one day they discover that there is a whole circus going on around them. That this whole world that they have built up around them suddenly collapsed.

Sometimes this can come out automatically, say somebody wants to make a million dollars they work hard and then on the final day when their passbook has a million dollars, but on the same day they find out that the person who is very close or dearest to them has died. In seconds, everything collapses, and then as a mourning result and as a desire to cope with the pain the desire to meditate comes automatically.

So I would describe it as a stroke of good luck coming in a disguise of bad luck. (I am not implying bad things need to happen to everyone so that they can start meditating, but all I am saying is sometimes things happen, and it does happen.)

(Also Read: Beginner’s Guided Meditation- Part II)

How to Start?

Start with the basics: Posture

Positioning your body and setting intentions impacts the experience you will have. Allow some time to learn this, and it will set you up correctly and save you some back pain.

Many years ago when I begin my mindfulness practice, I skipped these instructions and had the attitude what’s the big deal, I sit every day and I don’t need specific lessons on how to sit on a pillow. That ignorance allowed me to stay in my comfort zone for a long period and not challenge how I was approaching my inner witness without curiosity.

Later I remembered one of the teachers saying, you don’t go into a holy place such as a church, walk up to the front and slap a sandwich on the alter. You approach and offer whatever you have with genuine care and respect.

In the same way, a respectful attitude will set the frame for your experience. Think of your posture and your approach as a way to enter your special inner place.

Try this-

Note- This section provides mainly tactical instructions regarding how to sit, lie, stand, walk, move or breathe during meditation.

  • Collapse your body, curve your spine outward, sink your chest and drop your head slightly.  
  • Stay in this position just for 20 seconds.
  • Engage your inner witness, observe what this feels like.
  • Now sit up and pay attention to your posture and see if there is a slouch, curve, or tension somewhere.
  • Do you feel a difference? Now slowly, lift your posture as if you are being pulled up the crown of your head, drop your chin slightly and lengthen the back of your neck.
  • Lift your chin slightly, how it moved- did you notice any change?  

Let us know in the comment section, and thank you so much for reading and supporting us.

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