Here are my top tips to get the most out of your mindfulness meditation experiences:
Let Go of Expectation
With mindfulness meditation we want to let go of any expectation. If we start with an expectation that we will feel relaxed and our mind is very busy during our practice, we will be disappointed! So we want to let go of any expected feeling, sensation or outcome.
In life, we so often become attached to certain experiences and feelings. If we feel happy or good, we don’t want it to end. It is a natural human tendency. During our meditation we constantly need to let go. We let go of our thoughts and emotions if we are focusing on the breath. We let go of pleasant feelings that occur during our meditation and likewise our unpleasant ones too. We just accept what is here, moment by moment. Letting go is part of staying present in the present moment.
Acknowledging/accepting things just as they are. We need to accept things as they are in this present moment. We often won’t like the experience (e.g. pain or a feeling of anger) but if we accept it is here it loses its power over us and can transform naturally without us striving to change it. It is the paradox that if we strive to change the experience we aren’t accepting it, but if we accept it, our experience can change.
It is helpful to adopt a beginners mind. Being child-like in our attitude so that we bring a sense of curiosity and fun to our experiences. Children don’t pre judge or have vast past experiences that they refer to. We need to let go of our beliefs and our expectations from our past experiences. Letting go of thinking we know what will happen and just being curious to the experience. As if each meditation is the first one we’ve ever done.
This is embracing being mode. We are so caught up in doing mode in our daily lives, that we need to emphasise the non-striving attitude of being during meditation practice. We aren’t trying to get anywhere, we have no goal, we’re just being. Noticing what is happening in this present moment. Being aware of our experience as it happens, as it is here anyway.
Finally, and very importantly, we need to be kind to ourselves. Interwoven through all of the above and in our practice, should be an attitude of kindness. Of loving warmth, friendliness, compassion and forgiveness towards ourselves. If we can let go of self-criticism (I’m doing it wrong) and be kind and patient with ourselves we will embody mindfulness much more.
“Just watch this moment, without trying to change it at all. What is happening? What do you feel? What do you see? What do you hear?” – Jon Kabat-Zinn
I hope you find these tips useful. Remember to keep practising. Let your experience be your experience.