What is Mindfulness Meditation?

The birds have vanished into the sky

And now the clouds drain away

We sit together, the mountain and me

Until only the mountain remains

Written by Li Po, poet

Amidst the busyness that life can bring, we need something to ground us – something to bring us back from the chaos. With technology being so pervasive, our society is set up in a way for ultimate convenience – with the internet, we’re able to get nearly anything we want, when we want it. Grocery stores now offer options for home delivery or pickup, making time to wait less and less. While convenience can be an efficient choice at times, sometimes these simple processes, such as shopping, cleaning the dishes by hand, or reading a paperback book, are what keep us living in the present moment. Between tight deadlines, racing thoughts, and an attempt to get everywhere we need to be (and quickly!) we find ourselves feeling lost. We act on “autopilot”, unable to recall minor details of our day. This is where mindfulness meditation comes in.

Mindfulness meditation is a practice that involves tuning into the present moment. For many people, this is done with the eyes closed, in a comfortable, seated position, and with focus on the breath. When you meditate, you’ll notice your mind start to wander – you may start thinking about lunch, or about a recent argument you had with a friend or family member, or responsibilities you need to complete for the day. This is all completely normal, as our mind always tries to fill in the empty spaces of our day with thoughts, worries, tunes, etc. The goal with mindfulness meditation is not to try and make that chatter stop – rather, it’s to simply aware the chatter for what it is – chatter, and nothing more.

We have the option to decide which thoughts are useful and beneficial to us, and which one’s aren’t. But for those of us who have anxiety or depression, thoughts seem so convincing that we ruminate, or dwell, on them, leading us to spend countless hours contemplating over hypothetical, unproductive, or flat out negative thoughts. Global spiritual leader Thich Nhat Hanh has stated, “If we can capture more of the moments of our lives, by being fully present and paying attention to what is being experienced, then we can more truly wake up to the fullness of our lives.”

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