The hustle and bustle of modern life has left the country’s collective inner calm in tatters. We’re stressed, with strained and our focus is scattergun. The distraction of deadlines and devices and the pull of social media only exacerbates things. It’s no surprise, then, that more and more of us are turning to the ancient art of mindful meditation to bring clarity and precision to our lives. With this in mind, and with the help of co-founders of Inhere (London’s innovative meditation concept), Adiba Osmani and Ghazal Abrishamchi, here are 5 IDEAL steps to better mindful meditation.
Mindful meditation is just like exercise; it takes time, practice and dedication before results emerge. It would be folly to expect immediate weight loss when you’ve only hit the treadmill once and the same goes for the benefits of meditation.
At first, practice taking just a few minutes each day to gather the attention on your breath, breathing deeply from the belly and then observing whatever thoughts or emotions there are, being completely accepting of them when they arrive.
Proper posture when meditating is important. You should sit on the floor or on a chair in a comfortable position with your back straight (you’ll find you’re liable to nod off if you lay down). Such a position helps you attain the optimum, deep breaths so crucial to meditation.
IT’S ALL ABOUT THE BREATH
An element intrinsic to mindful meditation is the idea of ‘following your breath’, from the moment it leaves your lungs to its natural conclusion, and then back again on the inhale. Feel your breath as it moves in and out, follow its rhythm and notice how it feels as it flows through the body. Doing this every day even for just a few minutes keeps us grounded and in the moment, helping to rein in the incessant pull of thoughts and emotions that may seem too much to handle sometimes.
OBSERVE & BRING IT BACK
It’s completely natural and expected during meditation for your mind to wander, to create narratives, to ruminate, to dwell on past events and plan future ones. The trick is to simply observe the thoughts that pass through your mind, as well as the sensations that arise in your body, rather than trying to dictate or deal with them. Become the ‘silent witness’, as it were, and embrace this reflective state. All of our thoughts, feelings and sensations are valid when meditating; we watch, we don’t judge or analyse.
DON’T DEFINE YOUR MEDITATION IN TERMS OF SUCCESS OR FAILURE
If you had a session where your mind was particularly active, leading to frustration with the practice, don’t conclude it to be a failed meditation. It’s all part of the process, and your mind will learn from the experience. Observe and acknowledge, and then move on. You’ll soon find your approach to the real world becomes more patient and compassionate, more content and balanced. And we all want that, right?