Cultivating Mindfulness

Most of us are aware of the benefits of present moment awareness or mindfulness, if you like. But how do you cultivate it?

In this post we'll take a look at my personal approach to cultivating mindfulness. Please note that there are many ways to practice mindfulness, however, in this article I will only share my personal experiences and strategies.

Mindfulness Practice

The goal with my practice is to be mindful throughout the day, from the morning when I awake until I fall asleep at night. In my experience, mindful living calls forth a beautiful mental state that makes for happiness and inner peace.

Let's take a close look at my personal approach:

I practice mindfulness by giving relaxed attention to the sensations in my abdomen. You can call this the meditation object. The sensations include heat, cold, tingling, mental energy and a sense of movement etc.

Throughout the day I give relaxed attention to my meditation object. There is no need for intense concentration, which would only be tiring.

While eating for example, I give most of my attention to eating while some to the sensations in the abdomen. So, regardless of what I do, I opt to keep in touch with my meditation object.

Being mindful while eating doesn't result in a deep state of meditation. The point of being mindful is not about dwelling in deep states, but about living mindfully and to be aware of the present moment and not to be lost in endless thinking.

Here is another example. While writing this I give relaxed attention to the sensations in the abdomen, and as a result I'm aware of soothing energy flowing from my meditation object.

I also read mindfully. I prefer spiritual books and give gentle attention to my meditation object while reading. Again, while doing this, part of my attention goes to reading and reflecting while some attention goes to the meditation object.

Other activities I really enjoy is to be mindful while listening to meditation talks. This is a great source of inspiration! As you can see, you don't have to set aside a lot of time for meditation if you live mindfully.

Intensive Meditation Practice

Sometimes, I spend a few days meditating at home. I call it a self-retreat. One of the benefits of intensive meditation practice is that you naturally make progress when meditating a lot, which in turn makes it easier to live mindfully.

I also find that insights come more frequently whenever I generate plenty of mental energy. That is one of the reasons why I combine sitting and walking meditation, since walking meditation boosts mental energy.

Meditation retreats are great forms of meditation practice. With many meditators in one place, there is a build up of mental energy which makes it easier to mediate.

Best of luck with your mindfulness practice!

Related:   Mindfulness Explained   Mindfulness Tips   Mindfulness Benefits

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