The essence of mindfulness meditation lies in its convenience. You don’t have to be alone and you don’t need it to be quiet. You can do it anytime, anywhere. What’s more, it is not intended to change you or lift you out of your misery or depressing circumstances. What it is supposed to achieve is an unquestioning acceptance of yourself and your situation. The opposite of an escapist’s route.
If you can master achieving the balance between being aware of your surroundings and yourself while also not reacting to it, you will benefit tremendously from this form of meditation. It’s all about being in the moment and appreciating it, but not having to respond or create an opinion.
Exercises To Practice Mindfulness Meditation
The basic approach to mindfulness meditation focuses on three components: body, breath, and thought. Become aware of these and you’re well on your way to a calmer state of mind. Let’s take a look at some exercises you can squeeze into your busy schedule, without having to rearrange your schedule.
1. Meditate While Walking
All you need is about 10–15 minutes of solo walking. It doesn’t mean you have to go find a solitary place to do so. A shortcut to work through a park or a long corridor from your desk to the pantry would work perfectly. You just need to have minimal distractions, not quiet but time to yourself amidst the noise.
As you walk, consciously feel your foot touch the ground and move away from it. Become aware of the natural forward propulsion and your breath that changes to match it. If your mind wanders off, don’t scold it. Instead, just get back to the mindful walking and enjoy it.
2. Be The Listener For A Change
Noise has become a trait of our lives. We don’t necessarily create it, but we can’t escape it either. The tricky part is listening for notes and sounds within the noise. Do this and your mind will feel liberated.
Mindful listening requires practice. You need to filter out background noise (like honking at a traffic signal or the sound of a vacuum cleaner) from sounds you want to hear (like a bird chirping nearby, a saxophone player in the street, or even a printer at work). It’s about paying attention to your ears and the details in sounds and…that’s all.
3. Give One Breath A Second Thought
In your entire day of 24 hours, pick one breath that you will mindfully breathe – just one. Take a deep breath in and slowly breathe out. Feel your lungs expand and contract, notice your chest rise and fall, and listen to the sound of your breath.
Those who practice mindful breathing will be able to tell you how much meaning it gives to your life. Just knowing that you’re a living, breathing, intricate soul is enough to power you through whatever life throws at you. It all starts with one meaningful, intentional breath.
4. Experience Your First Two Bites
While eating is something we have to do to survive, it need not be treated like a “have to.” Make yourself a rule to mindfully eat the first two bites of all your meals. Feel your jaw muscles expand and your food collapse as you dig in. Notice the texture and taste of the food, even if it is something you eat every single day.
You will be surprised how a meal can turn into an experience with a dash of mindfulness.
5. Take A Wasteful Break
We say wasteful to emphasize on the nothingness of it. Most working professionals check their phones, read e-mails, or browse profiles on Facebook when taking a break at work. You need to change this by doing nothing at all during your “unofficial” breaks. Zone out or be phased, whatever you call it, give it a try.
Focus on the sensations around you and your breathing – just become aware of your present. Don’t question it or analyze it, just know what’s happening without giving a care.
6. Give Your Chores Some Thought
There are times of our day when we do everyday things like robots programmed to do them. Brushing your teeth, doing the dishes, folding your clothes, or soaping your body are some examples. If we put a little thought into these uninteresting mundane activities, we may be able to gain some quality time with ourselves.
No, you don’t need to do anything differently, just give some room to your thoughts. Realize how your muscles work in sync and time to do whatever it is you’re doing. Don’t let time pass by without you knowing that it is.
7. Focus On A Flame
Light is inspiring and magical. It is one of those things that literally brighten your day. Candle meditation is a beautiful experience. Without sitting too close to the candle, position yourself just close enough to feel the warmth of the flame. Just close enough to see the entire spectrum of colors in the halo surrounding the flame. Hear the candle wick crackle and watch the candle wax melt away.
It is important to understand that mindfulness meditation does not oppose progress or attempts to make your life or situation better. In fact, it supports these causes by increasing your understanding of what is going on, helping you notice the smallest details.