WHAT EXACTLY IS MINDFULNESS?
Mindfulness is not just a way of thinking about others and their state of mind, but it can also be used a form of meditation. Using Mindfulness Meditation allows you to focus on the moment, becoming aware of your senses and what you are feeling right then and there. When you are able to focus just on that particular moment, there is no need to try to interpret things or make judgments about how you feel.
You are simply present.
If you have ever studied Eckhart Tolle or other spiritual teachers, you realize that the present moment is all that actually exists. The past no longer exists, and the future has not yet come. So focusing, being mindful, of the moment, can help you relax and eliminate stress.
Think about all the time we spend planning for, or worrying about the future, thinking negative thoughts about the past, worrying about all the things we need to do – pick up the kids from school, make dinner tonight, pay the bills, etc. All those things are draining and can even be exhausting. When you are able to be mindful, you are able to put those things away, and focus your attention on the present moment, which reduces your stress and anxiety. Mindfulness meditation can be very powerful!
WHY SHOULD I MEDITATE?
For years, spiritual teachers and their students have been practicing meditation, and espousing its benefits. Now, thanks to advances in modern science and medicine, there are actually many clinical trials that scientifically back up these claims. It is amazing that for hundreds of years people have known that meditation works, but there is always a certain percentage of the population that needs to know how and why before they will believe it.
There are so many studies now that provide empirical data as to the how and why of meditation, and its effects on the body and brain. Those studies are so diverse that they need to be in a separate article on their own. But suffice to say that the overall evidence of these studies show that meditation is effective for reducing stress, anxiety, pain, depression, and even a host of "medical" conditions and disease.
WHEN AND HOW OFTEN SHOULD I MEDITATE?
There is probably no such thing as too much meditation, especially if you are struggling with any of the issues previously mentioned. Studies have shown that there are certain times of day when meditation may be more effective than others. Those times are when the brain is emitting certain waves that enable it to be more receptive to suggestion and meditation. Books have been written on that topic alone, but for our purposes, for most people that time is before you go to bed, or right when you wake up in the morning. During those times your brain is emitting the proper waves and producing the proper chemical to allow the mist benefits from meditation. But as Dr. Joe Dispenza says, "There is no such thing as a bad meditation."
The best way to develop your mindfulness meditation routine is to practice, practice, practice. Do so, and you may be truly amazed with the results.