Mindfulness Meditation: A Simple Guide to the Whys and Hows

Originating as a core tenant of Tibetan Buddhism, the concept of Mindfulness has seeped into many aspects of pop culture, and wellness applications today. Mindfulness is an approach to life and living that puts a main focus on living deeply in every moment, and in letting the universe flow as it should around you. This is not to say that Mindfulness is an excuse to not plan or prepare for the future, however, only that Mindfulness allows one to better focus on each moment of life, which will ultimately make up the future to come. There are a multitude of ways to practice Mindfulness meditation, as well, which all serve the same purpose; to retrain the brain to focus on the present moment and surroundings.

Too often when we are going throughout our day we stress and worry over events that will happen in the future, or plans that may be occurring later on that day. In doing so, we rob ourselves of the time we could be developing relationships with friends and family, finishing work that needs to be completed, or simply keeping our emotional and spiritual lives in check and where they need to be. Through Mindfulness meditation practices we can begin to not only take stock of each moment of our lives, but further build upon these moments to create a better understanding of just what our future can be.

For many, when considering meditation, they may be turned off to the idea by the thought they have to stay still, and quite, for long periods of time. However, this is not always the case. For instance, many styles of martial arts, such as Kung-Fu, Aikido, and Jujitsu use a form of Mindfulness Meditation known as Movement Meditation. Perhaps the most popular form of Movement Meditation is Yoga. Movement Meditation can be practiced almost anywhere, as long as you are deeply focused on each movement. Even a walk on a sunny day can be used as Mindfulness Meditation if you focus upon each step. This focus begins to retrain your brain to take in each moment of your life clearly.

If you’re looking for a more traditional approach to Mindfulness meditation, perhaps what many different customs have dubbed Counting Meditation is for you. In Counting Meditation, you sit quietly for as long as you like, breathing deeply in and out to the count of four. While breathing, focus as much as possible on each number as you count. Again, this deep focus will slowly retrain your brain for living in each moment. Both types of mindfulness meditation can be used to better adapt your brain to a mindfulness lifestyle to keep you focused throughout your day, and living your life to its fullest.

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Understanding Zen Buddhism

 

Zen Buddhism combines elements of Taoism and Indian Mahayana. While people remain divided on whether all of Buddhism constitutes religion or philosophy, in this context Zen could be considered a school of Buddhism. This belief system was born in China and started approximately 15 centuries ago.

 

Its roots began to emerge when Bodhidhara, an Indian monk who lived approximately from 470 to 543, taught at the Shaolin Monastery. Zen Buddhism progressed into Vietnam and Korea in the 7th century and to Japan in the 12th century, before becoming popular in the West in the 1950s. Daisetz Teitaro Suzuki, a Japanese scholar, is credited with the popularization of this belief system in the Western world.

 

However, Westerners tend to misuse this word. Zen is not a state of being, feeling or concept. Instead, it is something you do. Zen is the Japanese pronunciation of the word ch’an, which is the Chinese enunciation of the Sanskrit term dhyana. In Korean, it is called seon, and the Vietnamese refer to it as thien.

 

Loosely translated, it means meditation. Literally, the word dhyana on which the term zen is based, denotes a mind that is immersed in meditation. In essence, Zen Buddhism is a type of belief system that uses meditation in order to directly understand the meaning of life.

 

However, the details of Zen Buddhism are complex. The practice and pursuit require intense discipline and dedication, which essentially should result in decisive freedom and complete spontaneity. Ultimately, this could lead to the understanding that every human being is a Buddha by nature and that anyone can discover this truth for himself.

 

According to Bodhidharma, Zen Buddhism isn’t something that students can learn from books. Instead of intellectual discipline, it requires the study of one’s mind and nature. To achieve this, you use the meditative discipline zazen. Literally translated, zazen means seated meditation. Daily practice of this discipline is a cornerstone of Zen Buddhism.

 

Students can practice zazen on their own and learn about it from books, videos or websites. However, it is important to pursue this task with others, even if only sporadically. While monasteries or Zen Buddhism centers would be ideal for this pursuit, not everyone has access to these resources. In this case, it’s recommended to find a sitting group.

 

Beginners are trained to achieve concentration via breathing, then they move on to sitting meditation. However, many people find zazen and its path to zen difficult to understand. This applies especially when they’re used to a society that expects its members to only complete tasks with tangible goals. Just sitting without expectations can take years to learn, especially if you’re waiting for enlightenment. Along this path, you’ll learn to discover yourself and might eventually understand Zen Buddhism.

How to Be More Mindful

Mindfulness happens when we pay attention to our everyday lives in a more deliberate way. When we are mindful, we are more present in our lives. But how can we bring more mindfulness to our lives? There are several ways we can accomplish this.

1. Bring mindfulness to mundane everyday activities.

If you bring a certain level of intention and awareness to everyday tasks like taking a shower, brushing your teeth, doing the dishes, and walking into your job, you will find that you are easily able to be more mindful in your everyday life.

2. Practice being mindful when you are waiting.

Standing in line at the grocery store may seem like a frustrating time of waiting. Waiting in the waiting room at the doctor’s office may also be something you hate doing. Instead of sitting on your phone, scrolling through social media, try to just be present and mindful. Take a deep breath in. Take a deep breath out. Just be.

3. Use a mantra to remind you to be mindful.

When your mind starts to wander, start using a mantra. You could say to yourself “breathe in, breathe out,” or “God is, I am”. Mantras can be great tools to anchor ourselves into mindful presence.

4. Meditate daily.

One of the best ways to introduce more mindfulness into our lives is to meditate every day. Even if you just take five-minute meditation breaks throughout the day, this will really help your overall sense of calmness and tranquility. And you will be less likely to get bogged down with stress.

We can always use more mindfulness in our days and in our lives. Use some of these practices to bring more mindfulness to your life. You will be pleasantly surprised by the results. And you will be amazed to find how much better life really is.

19 Meditations on YouTube

One of the great things about the internet is that there are so many different tools for meditations. Here are a bunch of great guided meditations from YouTube.

5 Ways Meditation Can Help You Stay in Recovery

Meditation is amazing. It can remove the stress from your life, it doesn’t cost any money, and you can always do it wherever you are. Meditation is a great tool for everyone, but it is especially great for recovered alcoholics and drug addicts. How can meditation help you to stay in recovery? Here are a few ways.

1. Meditation decreases stress levels.

Stress is one of the main reasons people relapse, and meditation is a great way to deal with stress. The stressors in your life may still be there when you meditate, but it will help you to react to them in a better, calmer way.

2. Meditation improves your immune system.

Drug and/or alcohol use can decrease your immunity so when you are first in recovery, you may discover that you need some immune system boosters. Meditation can increase your immune system. Recent studies have shown that just a few weeks of meditation can make your body more resilient.

3. Meditation can lower blood pressure and control pain.

Drug use and alcohol use can do serious damage to your heart. Fortunately, meditation can actually lower your blood pressure. As for drug addicts who became addicted because of a chronic pain condition, meditation can actually decrease your pain levels.

4. Meditation can make you more spiritual.

No matter what your beliefs are, meditation can help you to have a stronger faith and a stronger sense of spirituality. People from all faiths have used meditation as a spiritual tool to connect with the divine.

5. Meditation helps you to be more compassionate to everyone.

Addiction and alcoholism can make you a selfish person. The practice of meditation can turn you into a more kind, compassionate, and generous person, as many studies have indicated.

Meditation can be a great tool to help you in your recovery. However, it should not be a substitute for rehabilitation. It is important that you visit a drug and/or alcohol rehab to get the treatment you deserve.