Mindfulness and Meditation

Mindfulness teaches us how to live fully and to die well.  It does this by helping us to shift from a place of reactivity to a place of ease and care.  Meditation practice helps us to undo our conditioning so we can be mindful and not just act on automatic pilot.  Whatever we practice gets stronger, so practicing meditation makes it easier for us to be aware of the stories we are playing in our minds.  Like exercise, meditation does not have to be long, but it does have to be regular.  While meditating you want to be aware of what your mind is thinking.  So, the most important thing is to simply return to the breath when you notice that your mind has wandered.   Don’t try to stop your thoughts.  One of the benefits of meditation practice is that we learn to pause in everyday life so we can respond and not react.

There are two steps in mindfulness: awareness of the present and responding skillfully to what is.  To begin meditation, we start by stabilizing attention using an anchor such the breath.  Once our mind is stabilized we can open to feel, experience and learn from what is present.