Monday, June 13, 2011

Minding Yourself

Calmer Karma
I am always interested in new methods to develop awareness of the inner state and of being centred, so I signed up to refresh my Mindfulness Meditation practice.

Mindfulness Meditation is drawn from the Buddhist practice of awareness of the breath and is very successful in helping people to manage chronic pain. It is also used to help manage anxiety, depression and high levels of stress. I did a Mindfulness course many years ago when I was really struggling in my life; it helped me create a quiet inner space to think more clearly and make wise decisions.

On this course we meet every week for 2 hours to learn new techniques and share our progress and challenges. The facilitator’s instruction from the beginning has been very simple: ‘do the homework’ (45 mins meditation every day). 

 “You don’t have to like it or even be any good at it. You don’t have to experience any difference or benefit, just do it”

So I have. I have been doing the mindfulness practise either using the Body Scan (where you check in to your body from the toes to the top of the head), a seated guided meditation or moving/yoga meditation for 45 minutes everyday – plus using little mini-sessions throughout the day to ‘anchor’ my awareness. It has been amazing. I feel like my inner world has been spring-cleaned – there is just more space in here and when things get stressed I can draw on the most powerful resource to support me – the breath! 

 As a result I am more aware of my thoughts and, because of that awareness, have more choice about how I relate to them. Its like I've sorted out my inner filing system: there is more clarity and things are easier to access.

I was telling a colleague about my experience with the practice and he described it as getting ‘calmer karma’. He’s right, although Mindfulness is not about becoming calm or relaxed, they can be great by-products of the practise. And the calmer I feel, the calmer things are around me. Calmer Karma!

Check out the BBC report on Mindfulness Meditiation

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