This week, mindfulness was on the front page of Time Magazine. People are beginning to realise, just as we need to exercise our physical bodies to keep fit, we need to exercise our minds and heart to stay mentally and emotionally resilient, focused, creative and compassionate.
Meditation is at the heart of cultivating deeper mindful presence. The practice of meditation can help you access your own inner resources for true happiness. Ancient eastern have been saying this for ages. And now, here in the west, modern scientists agree! In fact, when Buddhist monks were given brain scans, scientists were so shocked at the brain images, they had to repeat the experiment. Their state of wellbeing was off the scale! Meditation sculpts the human brain in deeply positive ways. And it’s never too late to start.
Meditation is good for your body, mind and heart. And what’s good for you, is good for others too. Every interaction you have, affects others in subtle ways. A warm smile, deep listening and light-hearted laughter can make all the difference. Through the practice of mindfulness, you develop greater awareness. You notice your own reactions, thoughts, emotions and bodily sensations. You are better able to mindfully hold and ultimately dissolve challenging emotions like anxiety, depression, anger, shame and resentment. And so, with a calmer mind and open heart, you begin to create a more peaceful and happy world. So, exercise not only your body, but your mind too!
Practice of the week: Mindfully counting on your breath
1. Sit in a posture that embodies dignity. By having your back straight, without being stiff, you’re better able to stay focused
2. Set an intention in your mind to practice mindfulness both for your own wellbeing as well as all other living creatures
3. Focus on the feeling of your breathing around the tip of your nose
4. Each time you breathe in, say to yourself ‘one’. Each time you breathe out, say to yourself ‘two’. On your next inbreath ‘three’, and outbreath ‘four’. Continue in this way up to ten and then start again at one.
5. If your mind wanders off, there’s no need to criticise yourself. Instead, see it in a positive way that you’re now returning to your breath. Smile and refocus on your breath.
6. Continue in a gentle and focused way, as best you can, for any length of time. I’d recommend between 10 minutes to an hour, if you can.
Have a go at doing this practice this week. And you can ask questions or share your comments with me on twitter at @shamashalidina
Wishing you a wonderful week,
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