Mindfulness meditation has been recognised as a great tool to assist in stress reduction and increase our ability to focus. Many more people are signing up to mindfulness meditation classes and experiencing the benefit of a calmer, clearer mind. The classes teach how to do the practice and emphasise the need for continual practice in order to get better at it and to continue to enjoy those benefits.
Yet how many of us actually manage to do that?
Whilst on the course you may decide you want to develop a daily practice and make the effort to incorporate the practice but the real challenge comes afterwards. The umbilical cord has been cut and you are now on your own, floating back into the regular hurly-burly of existence that we know as life.
I too have found it difficult. I first attended meditation classes well over 10 years ago when going through a difficult period. At the time, I found the classes great and I really realised the benefit of becoming more resilient and able to cope better with some of the challenges I was then facing. For a while the practice continued and then little by little, life went on a different route and I stopped.
It wasn't until I revisited mindfulness meditation again, this time looking through the eyes of a researcher examining what the latest brain science had revealed as to what was going on in the brain when we meditate, that I decided I needed to get on and get back into it. So I looked at and tried a couple of different methods of meditation including chanting. I discovered that the one method which seemed to make the greatest sense and the one that felt as if it produced the greatest benefit to my brain was mindfulness meditation.
I now practice my mindfulness meditation every day for around 20 - 30 minutes. As a result I feel calmer, my mind feels clearer, more alert and I get more done. I notice the difference on those days where I miss my practice in the morning and end up doing it later in the day.
It has now become an integral part of my life and I realise how lucky I am to have been able to find a way to achieve this.
Part of this I attribute to having found which meditation technique that suited me the best and a way to include into my life without it feeling an intrusion or effort or nuisance. Many meditation practices insist on 30-40 minutes every day and this can be a huge stumbling block for so many of us suffering from time poverty.
For some, the answer may be in learning how to be able to meditate in the moment for just 5 or 10 minutes in different places, depending on where you are and what you are doing. Finding that smaller snippet of time is far easier and manageable.
I read a great article by Peter Bregman this week called "If you are too busy to meditate read this" and in it he reminds his readers about the benefits of mindfulness practice and a lovely personal example of how being more mindful allows him to deal with life with all it's distractions and interruptions even on the smaller scale of daily family life.
What have you found helpful in your quest to practice being more mindful every day?