Meditation is something that can be defined in a single sentence, a sentence on which encyclopedias could be written. Meditation is the practice of deliberate mindfulness carried over into all our activities.
Sure, there are techniques for sharpening mental awareness, exercises to promote mental agility. Meditation isn’t one of them. It leads to those things. However, at heart it is mindfulness. See why I talk on about it so much?
Given the huge boulders of anxiety and worry we carry, mindfulness is a pea in comparison to be slipped in the pocket and carried everywhere with no effort at all.
In the midst of crisis, it’s very easy to forget mindfulness. However, we often hear people talk about an ongoing crisis. Is there such a thing? Of course. In an ongoing crisis, we get to choose whether to act or react.
Funny thing about emergency-class crises. We don’t think. We act. Deliberation, intention and awareness fuse into a course of action. If one’s toddler falls into a swimming pool, there’s little debate, is there? We act immediately to get the child out of the deep water.
It is the lengthy battles, the long drawn out fights that give us stomach pain and sleepless nights. In those cases, we can choose to worry and to fret, or not. Meditation allows us to make this choice.
Mindfulness is the purpose of meditation. If you’re thinking of someone sitting in a lotus position intoning “OM” while they have their eyes closed, that’s actually called seated meditation. It is the most basic form of “practice mindfulness”.
As so many of us work in seated positions, it’s an easy way to get in practice at being mindful. A brief closing of the eyes, a refocus of our attention on each moment, without critique, feeling our breath flow in and out.
In time, you can become mindful no matter what you’re doing, and no matter the crisis with all the things that must be done, you can relieve much of your worry, tons of stress by paying attention to the very present moment.