The second type of Mindfulness Practice
I haven’t pushed this aspect of Mindfulness mainly because I don’t want to scare off people who would benefit from learning this practice. These are the ones who are leaning towards trying the practice but are still suspicious of the stereotypes of the hippy or the ninja mentioned in the Science or WooWoo page mentioned earlier.
The most formal postures for meditating require sitting on the floor or support and resting your palms together. I have never done that.
But if you are comfortable this way, that is fine. I have not sat with others doing this perhaps because I am getting on and we might not be able to get up!
CHAIR – Formal Mindfulness practice is usually done sitting on a chair. Curiously I haven’t been able to find a good photo (still looking) of the typical Mindfulness meditator. Think about it as I explain:
An upright chair is best with or without a back. When you sit, your bottom wants to be halfway forward on the seat of the chair. Your position is dignified but not tight. Feel as though you are being gently pulled upwards by a cord on your head but don’t stretch.
What you want to achieve is a posture of attention to this moment.
Having said that, when I was new to meditating I could not sit long before I would get a shooting pain down the right side of my back. That did not do much to encourage me to carry on. More advanced meditation can banish the pain.
What novices can do is mindfully shift position to feel the discomfort less. The second method and I often resorted to this in the early days, is to get a cushion behind my back for support.
Wonderfully, you can eventually train your back, perhaps with the help of some stretching exercise. But the pain will go away anyway with time.
HANDS – These may lie on your knees or be cupped one inside the other in your lap.
FEET – These should be flat on the floor. This is difficult for a shortie like me. Sometimes another piece of furniture works for me – not a puffed up sofa! I often use a small table.
Your hips should be a little bit higher than your knees, ideally.
EYES – These can be open and gazing unfocused on the floor in front of you. Otherwise, close them. Personally, I prefer closed because I am less apt to be distracted by things around me.
REMEMBER – You are wanting to be in the moment, not wanting to change anything, neither concerning thoughts of the past or future without judging yourself.
This is the first moment of this time sitting even if you have done it millions of times before. The sense of newness is palpable. But if you do not feel a thing, don’t give yourself a hard time. It’s fine. Every time you remember that your mind has wandered, that is your opportunity to practice escorting the mind back to the breath or body.
That is Mindfulness, the returning.
That’s already starting to strengthen that ‘muscle’ that you are trying to exercise and develop. Fantastic. This is good enough to practice for ages.
You can also do this waiting in line for the bus or at the supermarket or be waiting for the lights to change, anywhere you might otherwise feel frustrated or grouchy.
When you are done after 10 minutes or whenever the queue starts to move, ask yourself how that felt.
And please tell me too.