Jon Kabat-Zinn, the founder of Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction, has defined mindfulness this way:
“Mindfulness means paying attention in a particular way: On purpose, in the present moment, and nonjudgmentally.”
Mindfulness can be practiced in many of life’s arenas, but most people first encounter it in the form of a meditation practice, and with good reason.
Gives you space to be still.
This is something sadly missing for many people today. It’s hard to get away for guilt-free time alone. Meditation gives you both the space and a reason others will understand for being alone with just yourself.
Spills over into the rest of your life.
So it’s great that you feel the benefits of meditation while you’re actually meditating – but what about the rest of the time? The good news is that your time spent meditating actually changes your mind and brain – you are a different person when you get up from meditating. And of course, wherever you go, there you are.
Is good for your brain.
Speaking of changes to your brain… Meditators have been saying for literally thousands of years that practicing meditation is good for peace of mind, relaxation, calmness, and focus. Science is now able to see and measure some of the ways the brain changes as a result of meditation, so now it’s safe to publicly believe all those wacky meditators.
Lets you learn how your mind works, including the tricks it plays.
You might think you know your mind and that it’s under your control, but you’ll be disabused of that notion after your first few minutes of meditation. Fortunately, we don’t really need to control the mind – we just have to work with it. The ongoing act of watching your own mind in action will both reveal its tricks and raise an interesting question: if you are your mind, who is it that is watching your mind at work?
Helps you develop kindness and compassion.
Once you have spent some time sitting with yourself and watching all the thoughts and impulses that arise, you start to understand that not only are you only human, but so are the rest of the people you meet. At the same time you are learning to accept yourself without judgment, you are learning to accept others in the same way.
These are only a few of the many reasons to practice mindfulness meditation – what are yours?