Dec 16, 2014
Mindfulness Meditation has gained a lot of popularity. So what is it exactly?
Mindfulness meditation is often talked about as the new ‘big’ thing in meditation. Perhaps this is so because many people are searching for a meditation style that isn’t Buddhist or Indian. There is nothing wrong with Buddhist or Indian styles of meditation but we have found that a good percentage of Americans don’t necessarily associate with these more Eastern forms of meditation. People want and need a way to relax. The abundant mental chatter and incessant spiraling thoughts are the issues they want relief from. Mindfulness meditation seems to address these issues without the concern of having to follow a particular religious doctrine.
Anderson Cooper, a famous TV journalist recently attended a Mindfulness Meditation retreat with Jon Kabat-Zinn. Click here to see a video of his experience. This style of meditation is becoming increasingly popular for it’s non-religious approach to tackling these problems of an over-active mind. Most who fiond themselves drawn to meditation will admit that their minds are not relaxed. Cooper talks about the constant narrative in his head about what happened and what’s going to happen. It’s a mindset that is jsut not able to be content in the present. While it is necessary at times that we need to think ahead or reflect on things that happened, a chronic level of brain activity which doesn’t relent leads to anxiety, nervousness and often, if unchecked over time, stress related illness.
Mindfulness meditation will appeal to you especially if you’re not sure you want any spiritual or religious aspects to your practice. The focus is predominantly on your breath. Breathing consciously and deeply will bring relaxation to the body. With a relaxed body, the mind has a better shot of slowing down. Kabat-Zinn uses the analogy of the ocean. On the surface, it can be turbulent with waves and strong currents. Once you dive deeper though, the surface activity is not so relevant. This is such a perfect way to consider the mind and consciousness. Once you learn and embrace that you don’t have to attend to every thought, you begin a true and lasting liberation process.
At Meditate, we honor and respect Mindfulness Meditation. It is not exactly what we teach though there is some overlap. We spend some time focusing on the breath and learning to breathe deeply. But just focusing on and coming back to the breath is not the extent of what we teach. We want to go deeper and actively use the mind to explore what is alive in our consciousness. Which is better? Well, I suggest trying each and seeing what feelings come up.