Mindfulness meditation is also called Vipassana, which means “to see things clearly.” Depression is anguish about the past, and anxiety is anguish about the future. Mindfulness Meditation extinguishes these feelings by focusing the mind on the present. Though this type of meditation has roots in Buddhism, it is not necessarily a religious practice. Scientists, doctors, and therapists around the world recognize its benefit for clearing the mind of negativity and restoring harmony to the body.
1. Sit comfortably with your spine straight. Lotus, half-lotus, or sitting in a chair with both feet on the ground is fine. As you practice, you will be able to remains still longer.
2. Bring your awareness inward. Focus on your breath. Allow your belly to rise as you inhale and fall as you exhale. You can watch your belly if you want. The belly houses what is described as the “hara center,” or point of consciousness. Do you know how sometimes you feel something in your gut, or go with your gut instinct? Whether you believe in the subtle body or not, you can still benefit from belly watching. Bringing your attention to your stomach will bring you away from negative thoughts in your mind.
3. Continue to focus on your breath. You can focus on your belly and its harmony with the breath, how long your breath lasts, the sensation of air in your nostrils, and the sensation of air in your windpipe. Just focus on what is happening right now. Watch the entire breath, as it progresses from your nose to your windpipe, to your lungs, and then back out. You will soon notice a “still point” or gap at the end of each inhalation or exhalation, when there is no breath moving. Your mind is calmest at these points. Make sure you’re breathing naturally, and not manipulating or changing your breath patterns!
4. If your mind wanders, simply notice it without judgment and return your attention to your belly. If you judge or work to suppress your thoughts, they will just get stronger. Instead of passing judgment about something that has already happened, return your attention to the present.
5. When you are ready to conclude your meditation, sit quietly for a moment or two. Continue to observe your breath. Observe the room, and where you are. Notice your feelings, and notice whether you feel different than you did before.
If you observe this practice for 15-20 minutes a day, you will have a calmer and more peaceful mind. You will rid yourself of depression and anxiety, which will make it easier for you to be mindful about the present. This will help you to handle stress or adversity better, because you will see things as they truly are.