A lot of people feel out of balance in their lives, and wish they could create perfect harmony in relation to their job, family and so on. While there is really no such thing as “perfect”, many people are able to achieve a greater balance in their lives through a range of self-help practices.
One of these is the practice of mindfulness.
What Is Mindfulness?
Mindfulness is a type of meditation practice that has been used for thousands of years in order to focus the mind and improve concentration. It has the added benefit of making you more calm and relaxed, and can help you enjoy yourself more. It can best be described as learning how to live in the moment.
Don’t We All Live in the Moment?
A lot of people might think they live in the moment. However, the fact is that most of the time we are just lurching from one item on our to-do list to the next. This can lead to stress and even burnout, which can in turn lead to poor health, difficulties at work, and tense relationships.
The Benefits of Mindfulness Meditation
Most non-Western medical schools of thought, such as Ayurveda from India which has been practiced for 5000 years, believe in holistic healing. They try to treat body, mind and spirit, all at the same time. The goal is to get them all into balance and harmony.
Meditation can help with all three. Mindfulness meditation in particular can help develop inner peace and harmony internally and externally. A little mindfulness practice every day is like a mini-vacation and trip to the spa all in one.
Mindfulness meditation helps lower blood pressure, reduces stress, and even decreases pain. It triggers relaxation and an overall sense of well-being even during sessions which might be emotionally difficult. The deep breathing oxygenates the body and helps improve the immune system. It also helps detoxify the body.
To Buddhists, who are masters of meditation, the mind is either an unruly wild elephant or a monkey, rampaging through our lives or swinging from thought to thought. The only way to tame the elephant and stop the monkey mind is through meditation.
To meditate means to think. We can all think. It’s just a question of what we are thinking about.
In the case of mindfulness meditation, we are either observing our thoughts, or observing an action we are performing – such as walking through a park. Through the process of observing, we become more familiar with our racing thoughts and learn to tune out the ones that are not helpful, and focusing on the ones that are.
Mindfulness is often called living in the present, because we are no longer dwelling on things that happened in the past or worrying about the future all the time. We are giving ourselves permission to enjoy life as it unfolds, moment by moment.
Mindfulness meditation improves focus, concentration and the ability to get to the center of a problem more easily. With mindfulness practice, you will notice a big difference at work and in your relationships. The difference is termed a “flow state” – a type of harmony in which everything feels effortless and even fun.
A healthier body and a less stressed mind leads to a more harmonious spirit. Your own inner sense of well-being is enhanced. This will often result in you feeling more connected with others, and with the outside world. Stopping to smell the roses helps you enjoy your life and feel you are making the most of it, not just sleepwalking through it.
If your life seems to be nothing but endless turmoil, try mindfulness meditation and experience greater harmony than ever before.
Do you have a practice for aligning your life? I would love to hear your thoughts. Chat me up in the comments section.