The truth is we live in challenging times. We often find ourselves getting caught up with worry and fears about our own welling, relationship and day-to-day life issues. Some have the extra challenge of illness to deal with either mentally, emotionally or physically. Uncertainties can be fueled by stress that manifests anxiety and fear, even depression. The causes can also be from a global level through to our own physical environment. We need to develop the skills to cope with the thoughts and fears that invade our mind. This is where mindfulness meditation is beneficial.
On a personal level people are coming to realize that the most practical, useful and effective approach to our health, healing and wellbeing is to meditate. Meditation is not a new concept. The practice of meditation has been around for thousands of years and dates back to ancient traditions and even religious practice. Now science through research is confirming and able to demonstrate the physical and psychological benefits that follow from regular meditation practice (Gawler and Bedson, 2010). Jon Kabat-Zinn (1994), the most well-known scholar to use mindfulness with his healing practice defines mindfulness as “paying attention in a particular way: on purpose, in the present moment, and non-judgmentally” (p.4).
Mindfulness-Based Stillness Meditation (MBSM) practice is easy to learn and very simple and there are four key steps. The four steps of MBSM are preparation, relaxation, mindfulness and stillness. In the preparation phase we adopt the correct posture, the attitude and the relaxed space. Then, the relaxation process begins more formally and thoroughly and we learn to take the time to relax our bodies. Next, follows the mindfulness where the mind becomes clearer, more settled and we become more aware. This mindfulness step is where we begin to develop and learn to pay attention to our present moment experience, free of judgment and free of reaction. Bringing our attention to the here and now, we learn to let go of excessive thinking and worrying (Gawler and Bedson, 2010).
The effects of meditation are profound as this is where we discover the stillness. As we develop mindfulness we are better able to give our attention more fully to the present moment. This is when we notice our mind has both the stillness and the stream of thoughts, and we become mindful. The steps for MBSM are easy to learn and can be applied to manage stress, anxiety and depression. Or, simply to bring peace and balance to your life. Alternatively, through regular meditation better creativity flows, which can help with work and even to perform better at sports. The greatest benefit that regular meditation can offer is to connect with our own inner goodness, the fundamental truth of who you really are, that can lead to a better sense of health and wellbeing (Gawler and Bedson, 2010).
References available on request.
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