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One Minute Meditations for a Happier Life

by Shirley Ryan

Meditation has been used for centuries to train the mind, and the list for its uses are extensive. Not only does meditation increase wellness in general, it reduces stress, anxieties and cultivates positive emotions. In addition, with consistent use, it reshapes the cortex of the brain resulting in an increase in attention span, sharpening of focus and improved memory.

Sounds like just what the doctor ordered you say? But practically, how does one fit this into a busy schedule? Meditation using mindfulness is the most practical way to meditate. In the simple act of training ourselves to become more aware by slowing down our sense of time passing, we can learn to monitor our moods and thoughts before they spiral downward. We can, in other words, make ourselves happier. Simply being mindful (paying attention) during your daily activities is a kind of mediation.

This kind of meditation is being in the moment, exercising a set of mental activities that sees things with impartial watchfulness. It does not take sides. A mindful meditator is both participant and observer. It is observing all phenomena - physical, mental or emotional - whatever is presently taking place in the mind. Ever eat an orange and really savor the process from peeling through tasting it? Let's see how mindfulness works.

Behold (without judgment) the beauty of the orange as you hold it up to the light and witness the color, moving it to your nose to breathe in the sent of the rind itself. Perfect roundness rolls over your fingertips as the sphere moves from your left to your right hand. Feel the dibbled texture as it slides over your fingertips. All of your senses are alive as you hear the peel pull away from the skin. A cool spray of juice prickles your skin as the sent of the orange creates an aroma that makes your mouth water. Pull the segments apart and bite into it letting the juice run into your mouth. Savor the sweet liquid as it becomes a part of your awareness. This is mindfully eating an orange with full awareness of its presence in your life. The process of mindfulness is simply short bursts of attention to one thing. We do this normally in our everyday life. As you begin to assimilate the process, and become more proficient the attention moves to all things.

Some tips for meditation using mindfulness:

1. Choose one simple thing a day that you can spend time with to give your full attention. (Start with something easy like: washing dishes or the car, deadheading plants, folding towels, brushing the dog, running, making a sandwich, eating anything, brushing teeth, etc.)

2. Make an appointment with yourself for this practice. (Later you can just spontaneously choose, but for now set a time in your calendar or it will not happen.)

3. Tell someone that you are practicing meditation in short spurts once a day. (This commits you to the process and sets the stage for you to change your behavior and view of yourself.)

4. While you wait for this time, practice breathing into the diaphragm in one minute intervals. Cleansing breathwork is an anchor to the present moment and an important part of being healthy. Breathe into the place between your ribs and navel. (Stop lights are a great place to practice this.)

5. Stretch regularly while sitting (Turn your neck as far as possible from side to side and up and down.), and standing (Reach to the ceiling.).

6. When the time comes, use all of your senses: sight, smell, hearing, touch, taste (if appropriate), and intuition. Experience the object without judgment--just observe. (Soapy hand, slippery, wet, silky, warm water, etc.) Detach from whatever you are seeing or hearing--it just is and nothing more.

Nothing is excluded, thoughts, distractions, sounds, images, ideas, or feelings that arise, everything is welcomed. We simply allow whatever is there to be.

Consistently observe with bare attention both the breath and every mental phenomenon. Time is different now as it slows down our sense of its passing. This gives a rare opportunity to see the world and ourselves differently and to choose how we feel and act.

Mindful meditation is a good choice to develop a greater sense of self awareness and of how we fit within the universe. The universe responds favorably to the attention to your life, and the attention to all of its gifts to you.

See Also:

Mindfulness (Vipassana)

The Tao of Breathing
One of the impressions I have gained recently in speaking to Zen friends about practice is a certain attitude towards breathing in zazen. For the sake of brevity, and just for fun, I wish to refer to it as "samurai breathing". I think it has its origins in the martial arts.

Meditation - Staying Awake
Are you falling asleep while meditating? Learn a few simple tricks to avoid this common problem.

Shirley Ryan is the author of Searching for the Waters of Antiquity, a Follow Along Meditation Process. Learn more at http://www.searchingforthewatersofantiquity.com

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