Meditation, the purest and most effective form of mindfulness activity, involves relaxed attentiveness and observation of the mind. Although simple, meditation can be an incredibly challenging exercise for many to perform and is often viewed with misconceptions. For this reason, it is strongly recommended to provide context and purpose to your practice through understanding meditation and various techniques before you begin.
Similar to going to the gym to improve your physical body, meditation is the training which helps to improve your how your mind functions.
Some meditation techniques can involve faith, spirituality or mantras, the following instruction and context is a simple form of meditation which can be practiced by anyone, regardless of belief or religion.
Sit in a comfortable position in a quiet place - this creates an optimal environment to meditate.
Begin with closing your eyes to reduce external distractions and take a moment to breathe deep and check into your body.
The mind will inevitably wander during meditation. The exercise is to observe when your mind has wandered and simply bring the mind back tobreath or sensations in the present moment without reacting in any way. This practice allows us to view the contents of our mind with a non-judgmental distance and trains your mind to come back to the present moment.
The first experience or challenge with mindfulness often happens when you experience some sort of uncomfortable situation - itchy nose or sore back. Observing this stimulus without reacting is training a new skill or habit pattern of your brain. Eventually, you’ll be able to apply this skill of mindfulness to more complex discomforts as they arise, such as your thoughts and emotions. You will notice that they cause certain sensations or reactions in the body for a period of time, then they pass on.
Once you continue to notice and observe sensations, thoughts during meditation, you start to understand the habits patterns of your mind and the invariable quality of all sensations - they arise, stay for some time and then pass on. You start to truly understand and experience the law of impermanence, and the filter which our mind processes information.
You also learn how to quell certain aspects of your behavior which are holding you back in some way. Once you realize that life consists of a constant flow of pleasant and unpleasant incoming stimuli that we often have little to no control over - you can remove your ego and any sense of attachment to something which is so fleeting. You bring more focus and attention to the present moment and your reactions to situations, instead of being emotional, crass or innate, start coming from a higher place with more compassion, love, and understanding.