Mindfulness, which means to gain awareness of the moment and to welcome the feelings, sensations and thoughts that come with awareness, is a skill that can be developed over time for everyone. It can be experienced and learned anywhere, anytime. Mindfulness, taught through standard practices around the world, has special studies for both children and adults. You can train your mind by reading books on mindfulness, participating in programs that include meditation, yoga, and special practices, and experiencing mindfulness in life practice.
Misconceptions About Mindfulness
There are many misconceptions in the field of mindfulness mindfulness.
● Many people doubt the scientific validity of this teaching, which is based on Buddhism. However, mindfulness is a secular approach and is a field that has been researched at leading universities around the world.
● It is a psychology approach, not a personal development school. Daily workshops and trainings will give a lot to people, but mindfulness trainings such as MBSR and MBCT consist of 8 weeks.
● Mindfulness is a professional field that requires effort to specialize. Trainers can specialize in awareness by taking at least 1-1.5 years of training.
● The purpose of the mindfulness approach is not to make people feel happy, it can be an unpleasant feeling that comes with the experience. Conscious awareness enables to discover this feeling and to meet it with curiosity. Being able to stay with it is a mindfulness skill.
● Mindfulness and self-compassion are like two wings of a bird. While gaining awareness, people learn to approach themselves with kindness.
● It is common to conduct awareness activities with cancer patients and those with chronic pain. It may be thought that mindfulness practices can only be done by patients, whereas anyone can participate in mindfulness practice, except those with active depression.
● Children do not have to wait to grow up to gain awareness. Different programs, structured standard training and workshops can be found for both adults and children.
● Mindfulness is not a technique that can be learned at once or internalized in a short time. It is developed over time by working like a muscle.
What Does Mindfulness Gain You?
You can focus on the moment and enjoy today by realizing that the thoughts and the feelings that arise from them are temporary. Meditations can make your mind clearer and thus increase your efficiency in daily life. Learning not to judge your thoughts helps you approach events and even people in your life without prejudice. Accepting previous experiences and getting rid of them and accepting that every experience is a new experience helps you feel better. You can also enjoy your experiences more or learn not to get stuck with negativity.
Sit upright, with your head up if you can, with your shoulders open, and in a confident stance. Focus on the physical sensations of your normal, usual breathing (Where do you feel your breath more? Chest area? Abdominal area?). Smile when your mind wanders off, other thoughts appear in your mind, gently bringing your attention back to your breathing. Make sure your breathing is natural and as usual. Don’t make an effort to change. Just be aware of the process.
Observing the Body with Conscious Mindfulness
Become aware of your body as a whole. Try to have a broader perception. Observe the changes in the sensations of your whole body. Notice the increase and decrease of these changes over time. When your attention is elsewhere, gently refocus on your body. If you feel discomfort or discomfort in an area of your body, direct your attention to that area. Imagine your breath going to this area. Inhale and exhale into this area. Try to have as accepting an attitude as possible. Remember that your natural breathing is a source of bodily sensations that you can focus on.
Listening to Sounds with Conscious Mindfulness
Open your attention to sounds. Notice how your mind labels and judges sounds. Be aware of this and keep listening to the sounds. Pay attention to the loudness, treble, and clarity of sounds. Observe their changes over time. Notice the silence. Even though there are voices, look for the silence below them and where they don’t come. Voices rise out of the silence. Try to listen to the silence here. Focus on this silence. Wait for the sounds to come to you. Keep your attention on the sounds.
Observing Thoughts with Mindfulness
After the sounds, now return to your inner world. Be aware of your thoughts as if they were a stranger. As you watch your thoughts, be aware that they are just thoughts, not exactly the same as reality. See your thoughts emerge and pass over time. Notice that, like voices, they come and go. See your thoughts come and go over time like clouds. Notice that it dissipates over time. Take a step away from your thoughts, follow them one step behind.
Expanding Your Awareness with Mindfulness
In this final stage of sitting meditation, notice where your attention is most dominant. This body can be sounds, thoughts, feelings. When you notice that your attention is going to thoughts or elsewhere, focus on your breathing for a while, then return to expanding your awareness. As you expand your awareness, try to be aware of your whole body, your surroundings. Try to be aware of all your feelings, your body, the sounds and smells around you at the same time. This exercise can be a little difficult, do it as much as you can, try not to put yourself in the fight. Avoid being achievement-oriented.