An in-depth conversation during mindfulness meditation.
This article is regarding what we feel during mindfulness meditation, what we experience and how to enhance our mediation practice.
The things you are going to learn in this article are:
Mindfulness vs meditation
When we drive our car or brush our teeth, we often don’t think we are driving or brushing our teeth. We are not mindful of it.
When we walk on the sidewalk or talk to someone, we don’t pay attention that we are walking nor do we pay attention that we are talking. We are not mindful again.
Therefore, mindfulness means being conscious of the present moment that passes. It is the awareness regarding what we are doing, what we are thinking, how we are reacting to situations and where our focus is roaming.
“Mindfulness is the awareness that arises when we non-judgmentally pay attention in the present moment. It cultivates access to core aspects of our own minds and bodies that our very sanity depends on.
Mindfulness, which includes tenderness and kindness toward ourselves, restores dimensions of our being. These have never actually been missing, just that we have been missing them, we have been absorbed elsewhere. When your mind clarifies and opens, your heart also clarifies and opens,”
Jon-Kabat Zinn mentioned that definition in the book, The Unexpected Power of Mindfulness & Meditation.
Example: When we wash our dishes, be mindful that you are washing dishes. The water from the tap is flowing. You are rubbing the plates with your scrub bar, the foam it is producing, the sloshing sound it is making, and you are present at every moment from start to the end of your washing dishes.
But unfortunately, this is not easy. As we have been practising being not mindful since childhood, now it takes a lot of focus and energy to be mindful. Our mind wanders automatically from washing the dishes to the neighbour’s dog or maybe the cell phone. Maybe somebody has commented on my latest post.
This is okay and whenever your mind wanders, just bring it back without any personal judgment.
We will discuss it in detail below.
Meditation, on the other hand, is observing things, our thoughts, moments without judgment. It is not about focusing on a particular thing or emptying our mind. It is not about going somewhere in your mind and enjoying the scenery.
It is about being there where you are and observing the passing moment without judgment.
When we practice mindfulness during meditation, it is known as mindfulness meditation.
I know both of them to sound the same, but there is a difference.
Mindfulness is being aware of ‘some-thing’ while meditation is being aware of ‘no-thing’. During meditation, you are not focusing on something, you are just present on this very moment, you are alive, and you have consciousness.
You are not focusing on your breath, you are not focusing on nothing, you are observing this presence of yours, this physical matter of yours on this earth, and you are observing your consciousness.
You are observing this awareness.
Anyways, that is too deep to discuss now. Let’s understand why we need mindfulness.
Why do we need mindfulness?
Mindfulness is investigating our own selves. By self-observation and understanding, the deeper self of us finds greater satisfaction of being alive and harnessing wisdom regarding life. It provides clarity and introduces us to reality.
Of course, the external reasons for practising mindfulness are a lot. It helps in stress, anxiety, better concentration, increase productivity, happiness, depression, and a lot more. You can type in google about the benefit of mindfulness meditation, and a bunch of articles will pop out.
This article is not about the benefits, so, I am not going to describe them.
But, one thing I would like to mention is that the biggest benefit of practising mindfulness is that it makes you feel alive.
You reap the benefit of every moment; you are thankful that you are alive at this time, this minute and you start to feel more, think more and enjoy the breath you are taking because of being mindful.
We have limited energy in us, and when we concentrate all our energy on a single focal point, wonderful things start to happen.
Mindfulness is like that. Instead of wandering everywhere, if we learn to be mindful of our everyday task, we start making changes in our life. Deep understanding about us or others, emerges within us because we are now mindful.
How do we feel during mindfulness meditation?
Let’s start first with sitting. I sit on my bed in a lotus position. The lotus position is how lord Buddha sat when he attained enlightenment.
I cannot sit in a full lotus position but in a position called Burmese.
After sitting, I close my eyes. I don’t immediately focus on my breath. I do something else.
I talk to myself. It is given below:
Whatever responsibility and stress I have, I don’t have to focus on those for twenty minutes.
For twenty minutes, I am free from everything.
A lot of things happened in the past, a lot more is going to happen in the future, and there is time to focus and think on all those, but not now. These twenty minutes, I am free from everything.
This relaxes my shoulders a little, and I feel light.
I am here, sitting on this bed, present at this moment. This very moment.
Now the inner voice becomes more subtle as if it is my soul which is talking. I feel the moments that are passing by. I notice the breath that I am taking, I can hear the sound of air going through my nostril, though there is no sound and also notice the release of it.
If you are a beginner, then focus on counting the breath from 1 to 10 and after completing 10, do it again and again.
Of course, your mind will wander off; you will feel itchy, pain on your back on legs or maybe a sudden thought that why did your girlfriend scolded you yesterday.
So, how are these thoughts making you feel? Are you feeling anger and frustration that you couldn’t concentrate on your breath because your mind keeps wandering off?
So, how do anger and frustration feel? Analyse-it.
Your back is paining because of the way you are sitting.
What does back pain feel like? Analyse-it. What are you thinking? Where your mind is wandering? Why is it wandering? Just analyse it without any personal judgment and bring back your concentration to your breath once again.
1…2…3… what should I write today in my blog? I have to check…ok my mind again wandered off. How does this make me feel? When I think about writing, what kind of emotions I am experiencing?
I bring back my attention gently back to my breath and notice the breath I am taking and releasing.
This analysis takes me into a bottomless abyss.
Remember, I am not going deep only though noticing my breath, but also through analysing my emotions and thoughts.
Analysing one’s own emotions and thoughts are very powerful in meditation.
After all these, there comes a time when I become aware of my existence on this earth. This physical shape exists in this space, and this is a reality.
I am real, I am alive, there is a heartbeat in me, and I start analysing my consciousness.
Analysing consciousness doesn’t come that easy.
When I sleep, I don’t feel anything, nor do I know anything. But after waking up, I am conscious of my existence, and I am sitting here and meditating. So, what is this consciousness?
These kinds of questions help me to go even deeper.
Remember, this kind of focus takes great energy and mental discipline.
There somewhere in me keeps telling me, that will be enough for today, rest now, stop your meditation. So, I start analysing the sound.
Who is it? Who is telling me? How is it making me feel?
In short, I analyse everything that comes to my mind during meditation.
I am not a meditation guru. I am not even 1% of those people who meditate regularly. I have been doing it for the last 93 days. I didn’t miss a single day.
First, I was impatient, and my headaches after meditation because I was doing wrong. I was forcing myself to focus on my breath.
You don’t have to focus on your breath; you have to notice the flow.
I waited for the perfect moments to arrive in meditation, where I can feel the energy of the universe, but I was wrong again. Every moment was perfect, wherever I was and whatever I was doing was the representation of perfection.
I just needed to analyse it.
After mindfulness meditation, I don’t become mindless during the day. I try to be mindful in everything I do. Especially during walking.
When I walk, I notice that I am walking. I am not focusing on walking, but I am aware that I am walking.
My legs are working, and my body is moving, penetrating the space, and I am feeling the air that washed my face during these walks.
This increases my awareness of other things. The neighbour kid keeps running in his room, which creates drumming sounds in the whole apartment.
These used to disturb me, but after I started analysing these disturbed angry emotions, I don’t care anymore of his running.
He can run all day, and someone can play loud music besides my ear, but I will continue writing this blog because I am aware of my emotions and I am getting better at it every day.
When I cook food, I am noticing that I am cutting the onions, I am washing the rice, and I find great joy in every second. The kitchen window is open, and a soft wind is passing through it. I feel the wind; I see the branches of trees moving back and forth.
What I am scared of, Why am I tense about the future?
This is present and every moment I do something on this present, the next moment is going to impact. Then, isn’t that mean If I work on ‘Now’ the next ‘Now’ will be better?
Why do I have to think how I am going to finish the whole work in one day, how I am going to lose 30 kgs of body fat, how I am going to finish my novel?
All I can do is focus on the very moment.
This article is not about the techniques of mindfulness meditation. It is just an experience I wanted to share during mindfulness meditation.