Just Breathe

So if you are mindful, what is your mind full of? That is where the ‘particular way’ comes in. You are full of the present and you are full of compassion for yourself, no judgments.

Mindfulness is good for regrets and worry because they are not in the now. It gets your mind off of things that you cannot now change and off of things that you cannot deal with because they have not yet happened – and may, in fact, never happen! Mindfulness deals strictly with now.

Mindfulness is also very compassionate because it does not judge. Mindfulness does not even judge judgements!

So how does it work? Essentially mindfulness is one of the most difficult simple things you will ever strive to master. Note I said strive to master. Like yoga, this is called mindfulness practice, not mindfulness perfect.

Since we need to stay in the now it usually works better if we have something real and now to concentrate on. I like breath meditation because, unless I am in real trouble, my breath is always there. Also, while brain and body are often really smart, they can be fooled easily. If you control your breath and keep it deep and easy, your brain and body will think everything is good.

Breath meditation can be done with square breathing. In to a slow count of four. Hold for a slow count of four. Out for a slow count of four. Hold for a slow four. Concentrate on the sensations. Feel the air going in your nose. Feel your lungs expand. Listen to your breath.

I can practically guarantee you will not maintain focus on your breath. Your mind will start to wander because – like puppies – that is what minds do.

Criticizing yourself for not being able to focus will do more harm than good. It will just spin your thoughts off to everything else you cannot do right.

Instead just notice you are thinking other thoughts. Acknowledge it nonjudgmentally and put yourself back on track. Sounds simple but it is actually hard and does require practice.

I like to use breath meditation – and no, just because it is called meditation does not mean this is associated with any religion or strange cult – when I wake up at four in the morning. That seems to be the time my mind gremlins like to come out to play. Every worry and plan I have decides it needs attention at 4:00 am. So I breathe. I breathe with purpose and attention. Focus!  In 4, hold 4, out 4, hold 4. What am I going to do about….? Notice. Ignore. Breathe. What if….? Notice. Ignore. Breathe. It usually let’s me get back to sleep instead of spinning off into a sea of issues that either cannot be solved or need not be solved at four in the morning.

That is mindfulness and breath meditation. It anchors me in the present and limits my worrying about the future. It reminds me not to be judgmental. I am human and, by definition, not perfect. It lets me sleep. Good stuff.

Next: Guest Author: Lara on Beauty for the Blind

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