What is Mindfulness Meditation?
Mindfulness meditation is a particular type of meditation that’s been well-researched and tested in clinical settings. Meditation isn’t thinking about nothing. Meditation is paying attention in a systematic way to whatever you decide to focus on, which can include awareness of your thoughts.
By listening to your thoughts, you discover their habitual patterns. Your thoughts have a massive impact on your emotions and the decisions you make, so being more aware of them is helpful.
In mindfulness meditation, you typically focus on one, or a combination, of the following:
The feeling of your own breathing
Any one of your senses
Your thoughts or emotions
Whatever is most predominant in your awareness
Mindfulness meditation comes in two distinct types:
Formal meditation. This is a meditation where you intentionally take time out in your day to embark on a meditative practice. Time out gives you an opportunity to deepen your mindfulness practice, and understand more about your mind, its habitual tendencies and how to be mindful for a sustained period of time, with a sense of kindness and curiosity towards yourself and your experience. Formal meditation is mind training.
Informal meditation. This is where you go into a focused and meditative state of mind as you go about your daily activities. In this way, you continue to deepen your ability to be mindful, and train your mind to stay in the present moment rather than habitually straying into the past or future. Informal mindfulness meditation means you can rest in a mindful awareness at any time of day.
To practice meditation means to engage in the meditation exercise – not practicing in the sense of aiming one day to get the meditation perfect. You don’t need to judge your meditation or perfect it in any way. Your experience is your experience.